Falkirk 2 Dunfermline 4: Big crowd, even bigger let-down

Myles Hippolyte hit the equaliser for Dunfermline. Picture Michael Gillen.
Myles Hippolyte hit the equaliser for Dunfermline. Picture Michael Gillen.

Falkirk slumped to a derby day defeat in front of an incredible crowd for a team at the foot of the SPFL Championship

Some 5786 spectators watched the Bairns burst into a second minute lead before crumbling to a Dunfermline side that toyed with them at times.

It all started so well for the Bairns with Joe McKee's goal. Picture Michael Gillen.

It all started so well for the Bairns with Joe McKee's goal. Picture Michael Gillen.

The Bairns were pulled apart with ease by the Fifers who themselves are struggling for form in the league. But nowhere near as much as the Bairns.

There was disconnect on the pitch as passes went astray in a general disarrayed performance, and there was discord off it as fans turned on the board and club hierarchy with the game well beyond them and frustration mounting.

HOW IT HAPPENED: Matchday blog
The excellent home crowd of 4323 dwindled as soon as Tom Beadling hit Dunfermline's third and his own second just inside the second half, but a large section of the Bairns support deserted their vacuous team as soon as James Vincent struck the Fifers' fourth.

They missed a neat strike for Scott Harrison, but more than 20 minutes of gleeful away support celebrations.

McKee converted Rudden's flick. Picture Michael Gillen.

McKee converted Rudden's flick. Picture Michael Gillen.

The Bairns lined up with a change to the formation that had worked so well in the recent, and relative, upturn in results. Gone was the 3-5-2 instead there was a more flat four man defence and midfield with Dennon Lewis picking up the space behind Zak Rudden.

It looked a masterstroke in the opening moments as Falkirk attacked down the left, won a throw and scored when the ball returned to play. Just two minutes in and Zak Rudden was flicking the ball into Joe McKee's path from Prince Buaben's ball forward and the Bairns man, restored to the starting line-up, stroked Falkirk ahead.

The away support turned on manager Allan Johnston almost immediately, but their anger didn't last, and neither did Falkirk's lead.

Shortly afterwards Dunfermline began picking the Bairns apart and ex-Bairn Myles Hippolyte levelled with a trundling effort he dug out from under his feet and deflected off Scott Harrison and past David Mitchell from the edge of the area.

Beadling's goal to put Dunfermline ahead. Picture Michael Gillen.

Beadling's goal to put Dunfermline ahead. Picture Michael Gillen.

The glory of the opening minute evaporated and Dunfermline put on a show for the remainder of the first half, making a mockery of the Bairns.

From Kallum Higginbotham's rabona crosses as early as the 25th minute, to the passing triangles that had Falkirk chasing shadows the Pars restored their dominance in the derby and denied Falkirk another home league win opportunity.

Static defending at the backpost from Aaron Muirhead
allowed Tom Beadling to convert a Higginbotham free-kick at the backpost that gave the Fife side a 16th minute lead and Falkirk looked lost and unable to affect the game for the remainder of the first half.

Ray McKinnon restored the 3-5-2 for the start of the second half, after some stern words that penetrated the thick stadium walls during the interval.

An excellent crowd cheered on the Bairns, but they were let down by the on-field performance. Picture Michael Gillen.

An excellent crowd cheered on the Bairns, but they were let down by the on-field performance. Picture Michael Gillen.

But after changing loan player for loan player in Andrew Irving for Ruben Sammut, the Bairns switched to 4-4-2 again and fell further behind with the Pars rolling the ball around for fun again and Beadling again finding a way past Mitchell.

If that was hard to stomach, the next strike from James Vincent was too hard to watch and prompted an exodus of the home support, those who left missed a lovely finish after some nice footwork by Scott Harrison to side-step a challenge and curl into the top corner from just inside the box.

Those who stayed though chanted protest against the boardroom and hierarchy at the club as the on-field disconnect continued to stumble towards the 90th minute.

To make matters worse, Alloa defeated Dundee United to extend the gap at the bottom of the Championship table.

The Pars were celebrating throughout the afternoon. Picture Michael Gillen.

The Pars were celebrating throughout the afternoon. Picture Michael Gillen.