Trialists shine in Bairns win

Farid Allagui is congratulated by fellow trialist David Winters. Pic Lisa Ferguson
Farid Allagui is congratulated by fellow trialist David Winters. Pic Lisa Ferguson
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Bright sunshine in Alloa made viewing the first friendly of season 2011/12 a pleasure and also contributed to one of Falkirk’s conceded goals.

But despite the bright conditions, it was a Winters’ day as Falkirk saw off the Wasps 4-2.

Tam Mcmanus scores Falkirk's fourth goal. Pic Lisa Ferguson

Tam Mcmanus scores Falkirk's fourth goal. Pic Lisa Ferguson

Trialist David was impressive in the victory and was joined in an eye-catching display by French striker Farid Allagui, just as both had done last week against Kilmarnock.

The Frenchman found the net, as did trialist Tam McManus, and based on the past week’s performances, Steven Pressley would have snapped up all three in normal circumstances.

But the gang of three hopefuls could be dashed by Falkirk’s budget constraints. After the match Steven Pressley re-iterated the situation he described in Heraldsport last week. Deals right now are beyond the realms of possibility.

“The club is being stripped back to a situation where we can start building again,” Pressley said.

“That’s what I’m doing. It’s challenging but that’s what is required. Tam McManus has been in every single day and hasn’t missed a session in two weeks and his attitude has been first class.

“It is just unfortunate I can’t do anything with him, but at the moment I can’t offer him anything, I’m not grumbling. It is reality.”

Likewise, of Allagui: “He’s quick and strong and good in the air. He has a lot of good attributes, but I can’t be rushed into this.

“My budget is such I can’t make any mistakes so I have to be sure over every player I sign and I won’t be rushed into any decision.”

Winters’ link-up play slotted in well with the Bairns’ overall performance, and the former Ross County player, who spent the end of last season in Vietnam, looked part of the squad in the comfortable conditions at Recreation Park.

That sunshine came back to haunt Falkirk in the second half though, but by then, they had eased into a 3-0 lead.

Alloa’s patchwork team lacked the familiarity of the Bairns who included a spine from last season of Kieran Duffie, Tam Scobbie, Mark Millar, Kallum Higginbotham and Stewart Murdoch.

They were supplemented by youngsters Murray Wallace and rookie goalkeeper Graham Bowman plus three trialists, one just off the books at Paris Saint Germain.

Armand One wasn’t troubling the Bairns’ backline, but he did his own goalkeeper when he turned Mark Millar’s long ball past Scott Bain just before the half hour.

The Bairns had peppered Bain’s net with efforts, but the Alloa goalkeeper was behind each and made a particularly good stop on 18 minutes from Allagui’s shot after Higginbotham had knocked down to Millar.

Higginbotham then tried an audacious lob from 35 yards that flew just wide before the Bairns’ pressure paid through One.

Five minutes later Higginbotham found the net, dancing round defenders on the left wing before finding the net at the far-post.

Another five minutes on and a cross from one French trialist to another saw Allagui take the ball on his chest before volleying into the corner of the net with Bain rooted to the spot.

On that evidence, a deal shouldn’t be far away, but the money is. The cutbacks drawing recruitment to a halt also forced a second eleven made primarily of under-20s - plus McManus - on at half-time.

Strength in depth is not something the Bairns possess ahead of the new season, but the youngsters who entertained in the second half showed they can do a job, if needed.

McManus wasn’t quite so flamboyant as his fellow trialist with his strike, but gave a typically hard-working show that Bairns fans have become used to from last term, and will crave again next season.

McManus’ stats spoke for themselves back then, and he added to his Falkirk figures by making the score 4-1, firing under Bain.

Alloa’s Pedram Adellany had scored early in the second half though Graham Bowman appeared to lose the 35-yard effort in the bright sunlight after the change of ends before letting it squirm through his fingers.

Graeme Holmes knocked in another for the Wasps as the game disintegrated into a run-out for further trialists, but three in Falkirk colours had already made a mark.