A penalty and a late winner from Rory Loy saw off Queen of the South at The Falkirk Stadium.
It was a hard-fought and important victory for the Bairns as all in the Championship’s top half did likewise, and Gary Holt’s men remain in third place on 11 points.It was a busy performance in the first half from Falkirk, hard-working without penetration and almost in complete control.
Shots from Loy and Conor McGrandles from distance were the early clear-cut opportunities, and before the penlaty incident, bith sides had a littl;e pressure each.
First Falkirk ran a series of corners, two on each side consecutively but couldn’t knock the ball beyond former Shire keeper Callum Antell.
At the opposite end a good tackle from Kieran Duffie had to block Iain Russell’s incisive left-wing run at goal, then a curling free-kick from Michael Paton 25-yards out tried to ctach Michael McGovern out but the goalkeeper gathered.
It was after yet another Bairns corner that they took the lead when Craig Sibbald shoulder tackled the experienced Derek Lyle off the ball. The Doonhamers player responded by catching up with the 18-year-old and crudley kicked his shin from behind on the edge of the box before squaring up to Phil Roberts.
Lyle was booked - it could have been a harsh red card - but Jay Fulton fired the free-kick at the wall, where it struck Ian McShane’s outstretched hand.
After such a cynical tackle, it was just that the Bairns were given the penalty by John Beaton and Rory Loy put the ball high to Antell’s left.
But the Doonhamers’ would have been leveleight minutes later but for a great save by McGovern. He pushed a powerful close-range strike by Iain Russell off the line to maintain the advantage into the interval.
It didn’t last long after that as Iain Russell gave the Bairns a warnin, then followed it up with the equaliser.
He took a poor clearance from Johnny Flynn 20 yards out and jinked into the box and shot, slowly but carefully, at the backpost. Michael McGovern got down and gathered at the second attempt - he got nowhere near the equaliser though.
Derek Lyle fed the ball off the Queens’ right wing to Russell who smacked a half-volley into the top corner.
The striker was involved in all positive moves for the Dumfries side, but substituted - to the anoyance of the away fans - on 77 minutes.
At that point Phil Roberts was also replaced by Rakish Bingham - and received a warm reception after a good shift up front beside Rory Loy. It could have been a scoring one though.
Roberts curled a shot narrowly wide of the post after being set-up by Stephen Kingsley on the left wing.
It kick-started a series of chances for the Bairns that was only denied by desparate defending by the visitors.
Roberts raced to the by-line and sent a low cross into the box flicked on by Jay Fulton into Blair Alston’s path. The touch flummoxed the defence, but Alston’s strike at tyhe empty net was diverted by a despairing lunge by Chris Higgins on 67 minutes. Two minutes he did it again booting a Sibbald strike off the line.
The goal came though but only after Queens’ threat had diminished with Russell’s substitution.
With five minutes to play, Rory Loy advanced from the centre circle and took a pass from Rakish Bingham, but with no-one closing him down he struck from 20 yards and the ball skimmed across the ground and into the net.