Taylor on target but Thistle coast to victory

Blair Alston missed but Lyle Taylor scored for Falkirk
Blair Alston missed but Lyle Taylor scored for Falkirk

Firhill failed to bear any fruit for Falkirk as the Bairns succumbed to another defeat at the home of Partick Thistle.

A brace each for Conrad Balatoni and Chris Erskine - the second an exquisite lob - handed Thistle the win, despite a strike from Lyle Taylor in response for Falkirk.

He had scored when the Bairns had lost here 3-1 on the opening day of the season, and just as that August afternoon, the Jags opened the scoring on four minutes and were convincing winners.

Then it was Lawless with a strike, but today it was defender Conrad Balatoni rising highest to nod the ball into the turf, and the bounce lifted it over Blair Alston’s knee and into the net.

It was all Thistle for the opening quarter of an hour, until Lyle Taylor finally got on the ball. He played an over-elaborate reverse pass to Thomas Grant when the lay-off to Jay Fulton was on but the ball fell kindly to Blair Alston making a late dash. Scott Fox raced out and smothered at the midfielder’s feet.

The same scenario brought Falkirk’s equaliser on 18 minutes when Alston took possession after an excellent ball-winning tackle by Jay Fulton on Chris Erskine. Ref John Beaton allowed play to continue and Alston reached the edge of the box to lay-off Thomas Grant. The midfielder tried to return the pass but

Alston couldn’t reach and neither could Fox. Lyle Taylor was loitering at the back post and tucked the ball in the net.

However, Thistle raced straight up the other end and re-took the lead. Again slack marking for a cross ball allowed Erskine to head past McGovern.

Thistle were forced into an early change when Lawless had to be replaced by Welsh after McGovern had raced out of his area to head the ball clear. He clashed with the midfielder who suffered a suspected broken cheekbone on 25 minutes, but Falkirk’s number one was fine to continue and Falkirk were thankful he did. Without him, the 4-1 defeat could have been even more severe.

On 36 minutes McGovern - last season’s club player of the year - plucked the ball out of the top corner after a fierce drive from Thistle‘s substitute Welsh.

McGovern was again to the rescue after the break blocking a certain Steven Craig goal with his chest on 50 minutes.

The Bairns should have been level shortly after when Kieran Duffie sneaked behind the Jags backline and rolled the ball across the six-yard line into the path of the on-coming Lyle Taylor. The league’s top scorer though, fell over the ball and it trickled wide with the goal gaping. It proved to be the turning point as, though Falkirk were muich improved in the second half but hesitancy in the back gave

Thistle the game-clincher.

The Bairns couldn’t work a corner away and Conrad Balatoni swung a boot at the ball in the stramash and the ball flew beyond McGovern from eight yards.

It was eclipsed though as all the goals were two minutes later when Chris Erskine waltzed through two challenges and lifted the ball sweetly over McGovern for a delightful goal that only rubbed salt into the wounds of Falkirk.

The striker could have had another as Falkirk offered less and less as 90 minutes approached, however McGovern beat his effort out and Steven Craig’s strike at the rebound flew over the bar.

The Bairns ended the game frustrated with some hefty challenges going in from Sean Higgins and Blair Alston late on as they fell to their heaviest defeat of the season.