After showing some promising and encouraging form, Falkirk’s old failings came back to haunt them against a big physical Whitecraigs side at Cala Park last Saturday.
Apart from a five minute spell Falkirk more or less dominated the first half of play, and should have had two or three tries under their belt, but yet again they failed miserably in not driving their advantage home and taking their chances when they were presented.
Admittedly inside centre Graham Gillilands did cross the line for what looked like an early legitimate try but the Italian exchange referee Andrea Spadoni immediately disallowed it and penalised the Sunnysiders for illegal blocking - or crossing as it is called.
However it all looked so different early on at the commencement of the match as Falkirk continued in the same vein of form, maintaining the very positive attitude that they had demonstrated against Hawks.
Unfortunately they lost the services of outside centre David Lyle after only 10 minutes, when he received a painful rib injury, with Gordon McGuire taking the field as replacement.
The home side began to get the upper hand with territorial advantages. Nevertheless following all their hard work and pressure applied during their spells in Whitecraigs’ 22 metre area they did not breach the try-line once, having instead three Jonny Hope converted penalties, in the 16th, 19th and 24th minutes to show for it.
As so often happens, after soaking up all that pressure, the visitors showed their mettle to telling effect by forcing their way deep into Falkirk’s half, and from a ruck near the five metre line the ball was released for stand-off Ally Stevenson to break through for a try, which he duly converted himself in the 35th minute.
Ominously for Falkirk the Glasgow side were not finished for the half just yet, as their pack of forwards yet again took control near the try-line and lock forward Ross MacDonald used his sizeable bulk to barge his way over for an unconverted try in the 42nd minute.
It left the half-time score in the visitors’ favour - Falkirk 9 Whitecraigs 12.
Very much continuing from where they had left off Whitecraigs were on the Sunnysiders’ five metre line within the opening two minutes of the second half, and again from a ruck, tighthead prop Fraser Campbell crashed over for a try, which clearly rocked Falkirk, with Ally Stevenson adding the conversion.
Nine minutes later Stevenson converted a further penalty for the visitors, but at least Falkirk gave their anxious supporters some vestige of encouragement with a try in the 55th minute when Graham Gillilands was sent clear in the away side’s last quarter of the field, with Jonny Hope taking the scoring pass before he subsequently added the conversion.
However, after getting themselves back into reasonable contention, what followed shortly afterwards, to put it mildly, was utterly and completely farcical.
Finding themselves under pressure in their own 22 metre area, instead of clearing the ball for a safe touch Falkirk opted to run the ball and after a series of pointless flat passes the inevitable happened when the ball went loose and Craigs’ inside centre Stewart Magorian gleefully pounced on the ball for a gift try which Stevenson again converted, with the same man adding a further converted penalty shortly afterwards.