Falkirk 1 Cowdenbeath 0: Result the only positive for Bairns fans

Botti Biabi tussles for the ball during Falkirk's 1-0 Scottish Cup win over Cowdenbeath. Picture: Alan Murray
Botti Biabi tussles for the ball during Falkirk's 1-0 Scottish Cup win over Cowdenbeath. Picture: Alan Murray

They say that in a cup tie all that matters is the result - and for Falkirk fans that was the only positive to be taken from this game.

Craig Sibbald’s 72nd minute winner eased the tension that was building in the stands as the Blue Brazil proved they would perform the role of fall guys.

The main talking point was the worryingly low attendance which proved the Falkirk board was right in trying to have admission prices reduced.

A paltry 58 Cowdenbeath fans earned their club a disproportionate share of the gate and made the decision to open the away end look pointless.

Cowdenbeath kicked off towards the South Stand and quickly let it be seen they weren’t going to be overawed by the 6-0 defeat they suffered on their last visit in October. They were content to keep possession and spray the ball about and not afraid to have a go.

“I thought we were the only team that tried to win the game,” said Bairns boss Peter Houston.

“They wanted to either steal a goal or to try and take it back to Central Park. I knew what Jimmy (Nicholl) would do. He’s a smart manager and he changed tactics. And when a team sits in at the end of the 18-yard box it’s hard to play against, at any level.”

There was an early scare for the home fans when Higgins went down in the six yard box after a collision with keeper MacDonald.

Marshall was an influential figure for Cowdenbeath and most of the play was going through him.

At the other end, Biabi did well to twist and turn in the box but his final cross ball eluded everyone and went out for a goal kick.

Sibbald showed some neat footwork before setting up Alston - but the latter’s final effort was a weak one and didn’t really test Thomson.

Cowdenbeath had their moments and the strong-running Oyenuga looked to be a real handful up front. He had a great chance to open the scoring in 22 minutes, but he blasted wildly over from the edge of the six yard box.

Falkirk looked strangely reluctant to attack the visitors but showed a bit of flair when Sibbald did well to set Loy up, but the final shot was too high. The home side improved towards the interval and Loy brought out a great save from Thomson when he hit a shot on the turn. Grant went close with a header from a right wing Sibbald corner as Falkirk started to look a better side and Cooper shot wide after great work by Loy.

Falkirk looked a better side in the second period and Duffie set up a great chance for Biabi, but the youngster delayed too long - although his final effort seemed to strike a hand as it came across.

Cowdenbeath almost snatched a goal when Higgins was only inches away from reaching a good right wing cross. The visitors were far from out of things, and the menacing Oyenuga was being given too much room on the Cowdenbeath left flank.

The only goal of the game came on 72 minutes when Craig Sibbald was in the right place at the right time when Loy set up a chance in the box. The ball came back off Wedderburn and the midfielder drilled the ball low past Thomson.

Falkirk should have made it 2-0 with four minutes left when Sibbald and Loy combined to set up a chance for either Smith or Shepherd. The former elected to take the shot in front of an open goal but somehow blasted the ball over the bar.

Nobody could believe it – least of all the player himself.

The game failed to generate a traditional cup-tie atmosphere and was one to forget- apart from that all-important result.

Cowdie boss Nicholl summed it up afterwards. “There wasn’t enough fight for a cup tie,” he said.