Bairns lose out in seven-goal puzzler

Lyle Taylor hit another hat-trick
Lyle Taylor hit another hat-trick
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Falkirk lost 4-3 to Dumbarton in an incident-packed game to give Ian Murray a victorious start to league management.

The Bairns took the lead and seemed to be cruising, but an equaliser in the last seconds of the first half swung the game in Dumbarton’s favour.

It stayed that way until Jim Creaney was sent off for the visitors to level the numbers at 10v 10 following Darren Dods’ red card and prompt the Bairns fightback.

Lyle Taylor hit his second hat-trick in seven days but the Bairns couldn’t find the fourth and equalising goal after falling far behind their visitors.

They had held most of the possession for the first half, patiently stroking the ball around for the first 15 minutes.

But the pitch became very heavy and cut up under the deluge of water that fell on it over the 24 hours prior to the game and it only marginally passed a 1 p.m. pitch inspection. It didn’t suit the Bairns passing game the more it cut up but the Bairns still created the majority of the chances.

In a replica of the move that earned Bairns the win at East End Park in the most dramatic finale possible, Taylor cut back from the by-line for Alston to shoot, but the midfielder’s late glide into the box was blocked as he struck the ball on the 13th monute.

Five minutes alter they should have been ahead when Taylor chased down a lost cause and nicked the ball off Alan Lithgow. It fell kindly to Sean Higgins with a clear path to goal and the forward stroked past the keeper Jamie Ewings, but also across goal and past the post.

He did the same from the opposite left wing shortly afterwards but the Bairns were only kept out for so long.

A quick exchange between Alston and Kingsley in the corner led to the left-back swinging the ball onto the head of Taylor and he nodded in his 14th of the season.

But Dumbarton responded with the final touch of the first half when Jim Lister headed in after three minutes of injury time.

That gave the Sons the lift going into the second half and they were brighter than Falkirk though McGrandles should have scored a header close-in that he sent over and was flagged off-side.

Steven Pressley rolled the dice with three substitutes – Jay Fulton, Thomas Grant and Lewis Small for Craig Sibbald, Sean Higgins and David Weatherston. Within a minute those plans were up in the air as Darren Dods was sent off for a tug on Gary Fleming and Scott Agnew scored the resultant penalty.

It was all over on 75 minutes when Agnew stroked in another, Jonny Flynn made a good challenge but couldn’t follow up and as Dumbarton piled forward the ball was rolled to Agnew who tucked it beyond McGovern.

The stands emptied on 79 minutes when Flynn made a hash of a slide tackle on Bryan Prunty on the edge of the area. The ball was easily taken from him and crossed for Jim Lister to nod in for a fourth for Dumbarton.

Jim Creaney was sent off for Dumbarton for cynically clipping Lyle Taylor’s heels as the forward raced ahead on 81 minutes.

Those who left though missed a stirring comeback from the Bairns that almost levelled a game they should have had sewn up in the first half.

First got a consolation on 85 minutes when a good series of passes put Lyle Taylor into the box and he squeezed the ball inside. He scored another and completed his hat-trick on 88 minutes.

With seconds to go and the Bairns chasing a point last-gasp hero Blair Alston had strike deflected narrowly over by Andy Graham and though even Michael McGovern joined the attack for the corner, the equaliser couldn’t come for Falkirk.