MONDAY VERDICT: Fasan form is vital for Bairns relegation battle

Andy Ryan got the better of Scott Harrison for the opener. Picture Michael Gillen.
Andy Ryan got the better of Scott Harrison for the opener. Picture Michael Gillen.

Over 5000 Falkirk fans witnessed their team be completely outclassed by derby rivals Dunfermline on Saturday.

As manager Ray McKinnon put it in his brief post match conversation with the press, his players were “second best all over the park.”

It’s hard to argue with that assessment but at least one Falkirk player could perhaps be happy with his individual performance.

The game’s chances were dominated by the visitors who registered 18 shots with eight on target to Falkirk’s three shot with one on target all game.

2-0 might have been the final scoreline but that could have easily been much higher if not for a number of fine saves from the Bairn’s number one, Leo Fasan.

The Italian has struggled for consistency this season but was found in fine form by the Dunfermline attackers on Saturday.

Falkirk were still technically in the game right up until Myles Hippolyte’s 90th minute goal made sure of their defeat and they have the ex-Celtic stopper to thank for that.

The first chance of the game from either side came on 20 minutes and fell to Faisal El Bakhtaoui who stung the palms of Fasan with a powerful shot from 15 yards.

The visitors took the lead when Andy Ryan headed in Louis Longridge’s free kick at the front post on 40 minutes as Fasan got a hand to the ball but was beaten by the pace and power of the header.

El Bakhtaoui looked determind to get his name on the score sheet in the second half but was denied twice by Fasan.

As the game drew to a close the Italian made two more fine saves both from former Bairn Hippolyte including a reaction block to palm his volley upwards and on to the cross bar before being cleared.

He didn’t keep out Hippolyte for much longer though and the Englishmen got his goal after El Bakhtaoui picked him out in acres of space inside the box leaving Fasan little hope of making another grand save.

Ray McKinnon has been very open about the need to add quality across the park to his squad and if this current crop of Falkirk players are playing for their futures then Fasan at least used Saturday to lay down a marker.

If the Italian can stay consistent and continue to produce saves like the ones he did in Saturday’s derby then he could prove a real asset to the Bairns in their fight against relegation this season.

“I’ve tried to do my best to keep the ball out of the net, which I did a few times, but obviously it wasn’t enough,” said Fasan speaking after the match.

“I make the saves and just have to hope the boys can then go and do something.

“Everybody is down at the moment, it’s not easy, especially after winning the game last week.

“We hoped we could build on that but it hasn’t happened.

“Now we have two weeks to prepare for the next game and try and take what positives we can in to that.

“It’s tough for our fans, we let them down especially for a derby and it’s been like that for too many games.

“They’ve stuck behind us these past few games and they deserve better.”