East Fife 0-0 Falkirk

Falkirk dominated during the first 45 at Bayview but were perhaps lucky to leave with a point by the time the 90 were over.

Defences were on top at Bayview. Pic by Michael Gillen.
Defences were on top at Bayview. Pic by Michael Gillen.

Not scoring when on top can often come back to bite a side and it almost did with the Bairns having goalie Robbie Mutch to thank for keeping the scores level.

The Methil men went into the game on the back of a 4-0 thumping from Airdrie and needed a reaction.

Darren Young certainly got that from his players who again shut out the Bairns.

While not posing much of an attacking threat during the first half, at the back East Fife defended terrifically well.

Both sides set up in a 3-5-2 with Young confident the Fifers could match the team that many still expect to lift the title come the end of the season.

Falkirk saw plenty of the ball early on with Louis Longridge trying his luck with an effort which dipped over the bar.

The visitors pressed forward and camped out in East Fife’s half.

But for all their possession, home goalie Brett Long’s gloves stayed clean.

The Fifers took until the half hour mark to really force their visitors back but Mutch was equally as untroubled.

The second half saw Falkirk lose their attacking threat while East Fife discovered theirs.

From the restart the hosts pressed and Pat Slattery went close from inside the box.

The pattern of the game had changed completely and all of a sudden Falkirk were having to defend deep as East Fife pressed.

Some great work down the left wing from Ryan Wallace saw him create the space to tee up Scott Agnew.

The midfielder, though, couldn’t get a clean shot away.

It was one way traffic and Mutch, who had nothing to do in the opening part of the game, was called on to be at his very best when he tipped Agnew’s drive over the bar.

Slattery was next to be denied by the Falkirk ‘keeper, Mutch beating away the Fife midfielder’s close range effort.

As the crowd was starting to trickle towards the exit, East Fife had another chance to wrap up the win, Dunsmore breaking in behind the Falkirk defence only to lash his shot well wide.

Falkirk interim boss Lee Miller pulled no punches in his assessment.

He said: “We never turned up at all and were second to virtually every ball.

“East Fife were coming off the back of two bad results and we gave our players all the information they needed in regards to that.

“We had chances in the first half but never took them and the longer the game went on they came into it and created chances themselves.

“The standards we set weren’t good enough.”