Falkirk 1 Dunfermline 2: Bairns found wanting in derby

editorial image

Aaron Muirhead’s late penalty re-ignited a stagnating derby as Dunfermline saw off Falkirk.

Only in the closing stages did Falkirk seem to believe they could take something from the Pars and gave their fans something to shout about.

Jordan McGhee was toppled by Nat Wedderburn with 11 minutes to go and captain Aaron Muirhead slammed in the spot-kick to reduce the arrears with Falkirk already behind to ex-Bairns Kallum Higginbotham and Fraser Aird.

Higginbotham’s deflected strike gave the Bairns the lead and Aird tapped in a second with Falkirk ball-watching three minutes after the break.

First chance fell to Falkirk after seven minutes though it caught Andy Nelson by surprise. After a Falkirk breakaway from a Dunfermline corner, Jakubiak and Longridge combined on the right but the former’s cross to try and find Nelson was block and then a scooped pass to Craig Sibbald didn’t make it. The midfielder managed to get possession back though and ambled into the box, but his shot was deflected by Callum Morris. It spun into the middle and Nelson thrust a leg out but his scuffed effort was gathered by Lee Robinson.

Connor Hazard was tested from distance before the Pars got their goal, with the help of a deflection. Falkirk had been on an 23rd minute attack and Longridge conceded possession cheaply. The Pars poured forward and an almost speculative strike from Higginbotham, deflected off Tommy Robson and spun past Hazard.

The striker ran towards the south stand corner where he receives most criticism then raced to his own fans pointing at the name on his jersey to mark his deflected opener.

It silenced his critics. It knocked the wind out of Falkirk. For the remainder, not much happened. The Bairns midfield structure was prised apart by the Pars who were themselves happy to sit on a single goal lead with the home side failing to threaten.

A poor restart on Tuesday night cost Falkirk a win at Queen of the South, and the same followed here.

Fraser Aird tapped in three minutes after the break with the Bairns defence caught ball-watching and Connor Hazard flat-footed.

Falkirk needed something to cheer and should have got it when sub Alex Harris scampered down the right wing and elected to go himself - and shoot wide rather than lay on a tap-in for Andy Nelson or Tommy Robson.

They were unlucky not to see Muirhead fizz a strike in, his effort slipped just the wrong side of the post from the edge of the box - but the Bairns captain did get his goal just as he did in the corresponding fixture last season, from the penalty spot.

It looked a soft call from Don Robertson when Jordan McGhee was toppled by Nat Wedderburn but Muirhead slammed in the spot-kick and re-ignited a stagnant derby.

A frantic finish saw Falkirk pour forward, throw on Kevin O’Hara for Andrew Nelson after the on-loan man left the field having been clattered by Jean Yves M’Voto. But the was no leveller and the Pars partied at Westfield.