Falkirk suffer first defeat as Queen's Park take points with Simon Murray strike

Falkirk suffered their first league defeat of the season as a Simon Murray free-kick gave Queen's Park victory at the Falkirk Stadium.

By Ian MacLean
Saturday, 28th August 2021, 5:28 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 9:49 am
Simon Murray's free-kick eludes the diving Robbie Mutch to send Falkirk to their first league defeat of the season (pic: Michael Gillen)
Simon Murray's free-kick eludes the diving Robbie Mutch to send Falkirk to their first league defeat of the season (pic: Michael Gillen)

With leaders Montrose also losing victory would have taken the Bairns to the summit of the cinch League 1 table.

But instead it was Queen's Park who took over top spot.

Queen's suffered an early setback as the injured Stuart Morrison was replaced by Charlie Fox just six minutes in.

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The enforced change seemed to unsettle the visitors and Falkirk enjoyed a decent spell.

A clever Aidan Nesbitt pass just eluded Charlie Telfer, Willie Muir quickly off his line to save, and Telfer had a weak effort comfortably collected by the Queen's keeper.

Seb Ross lashed over after a Nesbitt shot was blocked and Aidan Keena dragged a shot side after a lovely turn.

Little was seen of the visitors as an attacking force but Murray should have scored on 22 minutes, stabbing wide from six yards with Gary Miller's last-ditch challenge doing just enough to put him off.

Falkirk then had the ball in the net at the other end seconds later, Callumn Morrison knocking home, but the flag was up for offside.

Ross squandered a glorious chance to put Falkirk ahead, heading wide from eight yards when Telfer's cross found him completely unmarked.

The Bairns were made to pay when Queen's broke the deadlock on 36 minutes, Murray bending a superbly struck free-kick from 25 yards past both the Bairns wall and the diving Robbie Mutch.

Falkirk tried to regain their earlier control as the interval approached, but the visitors held firm.

Paul Sheerin's side couldn't have had a better opportunity to restore parity than the one they got six minutes after the restart.

Charlie Fox's barge into Keena's back left referee Alan Muir with no option but to award a penalty.

But Morrison - on target from the spot against Clyde the previous week - this time saw his effort rattle the underside of the bar and bounce clear.

And the offside flag denied Falkirk again on 57 minutes when Keena knocked the ball home after a Miller strike came back off the post.

But in the end that was as close as they came in a disappointingly lacklustre second half.

They huffed and puffed but the well drilled and resolute visiting rearguard were in little mood to have their house blown down.

Only in the last couple of minutes were they able to conjure up what might charitably be described as half-chances, Jamie Wilson unable to get on the end of a dangerous Ross cross at the near post and Leo McCann lashing wide of the near post from a difficult angle.

Apart from a 90th minute drive unleashed by substitute Connor Smith that brought out a stunning save from Mutch at full stretch, Queen's Park rarely looked like adding to their lead in the second period.

The worrying thing from a Falkirk point of view was it rarely looked like they would have to.