Drogheda United 2 Falkirk 5: Bairns close with win

Bob McHugh was congratulated on a double.   Photo: Ray Ryan
Bob McHugh was congratulated on a double. Photo: Ray Ryan

Bob McHugh hit another double for Falkirk as they rounded off their Irish training camp with a 5-2 win over Drogheda United.

An early strike from Tom Taiwo - laid-on by trialist striker Paul Heffernan gave the Bairns an early lead and a scrambled second from trialist McHugh gave the Bairns another. McHugh knocked in another to add to his double last week at Athlone Town before the hosts pulled a consolation back via a deflection off Aaron Muirhead.

The sides exchanged goals in the closing ten minutes with good finishes from both Gerald Pender and sub John Baird.

The Bairns made the positive start and overwhelmed their hosts.

Muirhead had a good game but it was his team-mate on the opposite side - Luke Leahy - who supplied the cross for the opener and his deliveries from the left side caused constant problems to the Irish hosts.

Will Vaulks went close shortly Taiwo’s opener after with a 20yard strike dug out from under his feet that clipped the outside of the post.

Danny Rogers had only one save to make, beating a free-kick over the bar on the stroke of half-time.

The first half did come at a cost though as Blair Alston was substituted on the half-hour and replaced by Craig Sibbald.

Heffernan and strike partner Bob McHugh were both inches off crosses from Leahy and the sides went in at the break with the score 1-0 for Falkirk.

The Bairns looked streets ahead of their opponents and overwhelmed them early on but as Drogheda improved so too did the Bairns and a sleek passing system began to be deployed.

In the second half, United made several changes to considerably improve and Craig Sibbald kept the Scottish side ahead with a goal-line clearance at a corner on the hour but Falkirk proceeded up the park and got another through Bob McHugh.

Vaulks’ powerful freekick broke through the defensive wall and was spilled by goalkeeper Michael Schlingerman and McHugh beat captain David McCracken to the rebound to nod it inside the post. McHugh added another to take his pre-season tally to four - without a contract signed as yet.

Drogheda knocked in a heavily deflected consolation with 20 minutes to go which prompted Peter Houston to switch Mark Kerr with David Smith and Liam Dick for Leahy.

The boss made three further changes with run-outs for John Baird, Scott Shepherd and Graham Bowman in goals. Alan Maybury and Thomas Grant made late changes as the game closed out for the Bairns.

Scott Shepherd clipped the outside of the post with a shot the goalkeeper took the sting out of and it bobbled the wrong side of the upright for the Bairn.

John Baird nodded in a fourthbut Drogheda set up a nervy finish from Gerald Pender’s cleverly flicked finish with six minutes to play before a late strike from John Baird sealed the win for Falkirk.

Falkirk face Hamilton on Tuesday night at The Falkirk Stadium with all proceeds being donated to the Craig Gowans Memorial Fund.