Falkirk frustrated by Hamilton

Conor McGrandles
Conor McGrandles

Falkirk and Hamilton failed to take advantage of Dundee’s defeat with a stalemate at The Falkirk Stadium.

It’s the Bairns’ second consecutive scoreless home draw, but moves Gary Holt’s side a point closer to the summit of the Championship in a vital month for their promotion hopes. The draw also extends the Bairns unbeaten run to an impressive eight games, and four without conceding.

Hamilton and Dundee are the Bairns’ main rivals for that move up in the SPFL and all three sides meet in the space of 14 days.

In a tight first half, the type you’d expect from two rivals jockeying for the top posiitions in the league Hamilton were on the back-foot for the most part, yet had the best chance.

For the second match in a row Will Vaulks maintained the Bairns interests by ‘tucking in’ and booting the ball off the line to avert a certain goal.

This week it was Ali Crawford he was foiling after Mickael Antoine-Curier wrestled some space in the Bairns box with time ticking down to half-time.

Michael McGovern was beaten but had been untroubled for the first 45 minutes as each team took measure of their opponents.

But as the home team, Falkirk often took the initiative.

One some occasions it was a triangle of Phil Roberts, Conor McGrandles and Kieran Duffie linking to create chances, on the other side of the park it was Steophenb Kingsley, Craig Sibbald and Mark Millar. Through the middle Rory Loy and Jay Fultopn were being frustated by Martin Canning and Mikey Devlin.

On 20 minutes Falkirk had the best of the opening exchanges with a break from Fulton. Instead of clipping wide to the on-coming Duffie, he played in Phil Roberts who had stopped running after realising he’d moved offside.

Roberts and Duffie were involved again with a neat passing move but Canning cut out the cross before Gordon fouled Sibbald and Millar fizzed the free-kick wide.

Another chance went a-begging from the right wing cross as McGrandles hung a ball up for Jay Fulton tpo head over ahead of Loy.

Craig Sibbald produced a great piece of skill to open up space from Ziggy Gordon after Roberts had done well to keep the ball in play and his curling shot was knocked wide by Canning. Sibbald exhibited more fleet feet with Mark Millar and the midfielder shot just wide from 20 yards before the Accies threatened and were foiled by Vaulks.

The defender - a reported target for Blackburn Rovers - had headed chances at either side of half-time but nodded over both times before the introduction of a new defensive partner with Johnny Flynn replacing the injured David McCracken.

The last time the sides met at Westfield the game followed a similar pattern before sparking to life in the second half. This one didn’t as both sides remained cagey.

As the second period wore on passes began to run astray from the home side, and even their reliable players like Mark Millar and Rory Loy were caught, while ref Crawford Allan, who’d had a good game, broke up the flow by penalising numerous Accies indiscretions.

Jay Fulton had the best chance heading onto the roof of the net before being substituted for Scott Shepherd.

Huge cheers welcomed Blair Alston back into the fold as he replaced Phil Roberts for the final ten minutes but he couldn’t help the Bairns make the break through and avoid a second consecutive scoreless home draw, glancing over a Mark Millar free-kick in injury time.

An innocuous booking for Roberts, for a challenge on Ziggy Gordon a couple of yards from Falkirk’s by-line, will now rule the forward out through suspension after an accumulation of yellow cards, and he will miss the Dundee match on January 25.