Late brace for the Bairns

Farid Allagui rounds off the scoring at Grangemouth Stadium. Pic Michael Gillen.
Farid Allagui rounds off the scoring at Grangemouth Stadium. Pic Michael Gillen.
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Falkirk took 45 minutes to warm-up against Dundee United, but the slack first half cost them the spoils at Grangemouth Stadium.

The Bairns haven’t won either of their two forays onto the pitch that will be home to Falkirk Juniors next season, but late goals from Kallum Higginbotham and trialist Farid Allagui edged the scoreline towards respectability after a second half that was much improved from the first.

“We seemed to be in awe of Dundee United in the first half,” rued Steven Pressley. “But we salvaged some pride in the second half.

“The difference in the second half was merely aggression, and that’s what we’re looking for. I was really encouraged by that.

“We lost two goals from set-pieces and that was disappointing, but that’s something we haven’t worked much on. We must start being more decisive in defence.”

Rookie goalkeeper Graham Bowman picked the ball out his net five times in the first half following a Keith Watson hat-trick - including two headers, a long range strike by David Goodwillie and another coming from Johnny Russell who knocked in a Willo Flood effort that had rattled the crossbar.

The first Bairns shot came on 41 minutes against a United side which is a week away from their first European tie in Poland.

After the break United gave more of their first-team pool a run out, but the Bairns upped their game significantly.

Stephen Kingsley shot just over on the half-volley after 48 minutes.

Trialist Allagui, Higginbotham and sub Jack Compton seemed to work a good understanding and Higginbotham should have pulled a goal back on 69 minutes when all three combined.

He did though on 80 minutes heading in a Compton cross after a lay-off from Allagui.

The Frenchman then knocked a Compton lob into the corner of the net two minutes later.

“It was a good workout,” Pressley told Heraldsport. “I often think certain setbacks in pre-season are a good thing, it brings reality to the situation and shows that if we want to get where we want to go, then it’s going to be hard.”