Bairns maintain pressure with win over Raith

Goals from Blair Alston and Darren Dods earned Falkirk three points and kept them in second place with an impressive win over Raith Rovers.

After a dull opening 45 minutes, there was no cup hangover after the hlf-time break as a second half double secured the win for the home side keeping them in second spot in the First Division.

The game was preceded by a tribute to former chairman Campbell Christie who died on Friday morning.

Steven Pressley's side was ravaged by injury and missed Farid El Alagui, but Mark Millar returned to the side that included number nine Rhys Bennett in defence and Dale Fulton at right back.

On 20 minutes the ball was in the Raith net, when Kallum Higginbotham headed a deflected cross from Stephen Kingsley off the post but Steve Conroy ruled the forward had pushed Doug Hill off the ball.

The Englishman deseved a goal for an audacious chip with the inside of his foot on 29 minutes that almost beat McGurn but he pushed it over. It was the closest a player would come using his feet as each team's aerial threat dominated the penalty boxes.

On the cusp of half-time Brian Graham gave Michael McGovern his first save to make since the outstanding display at Tannadice, with a weak header, easily claimed by the Bairns number one.

It was a similar save in front of the South Stand for McGurn after the break when a Bennett header was straight at the Raith goalie from Millar's corner.

John Baird went even closer from Allan Walker's corner for Raith, hitting the bar on 53 minutes, then play flowed to the other end and a Mark Millar free-kick was floated above the Raith box and Murray Wallace headed at the goalkeeper.

The Bairns brought on Tuesday night's goal hero Ally Graham, who replaced Dale Fulton, and switched the formation to an unothodox 3-1-4-2.

Second half rain and a chilling wind didn't improve the football for the 3628 in the crowd, but they were on their feet 15 minutes from the end when Blair Alston gave the Bairns the lead.

Rhys Bennett took the ball out of defence and a shot from the edge of the box by Kallum Higginbotham was parried by McGurn. Alston ran in and claimed the rebound, firing high into the net from a tight angle against the club from his birthplace.

That cheered Falkirk and they claimed another on 81 minutes. David Weatherston earned a corner with a wickedly swerving shot that was pushed over the bar. Millar's corner was headed at goal by Darren Dods who followed up and bundled the ball into the net to secure the points before ending up in there himself.

FALKIRK: McGovern, D.Fulton (Graham 57), Kingsley, Dods, Wallace, Murdoch, Weatherston (J.Fulton 88), M.Millar, Bennett, Higginbotham, Alston. Unused: Dick, R.Millar, Bowman.