Falkirk Ladies have forced the fight for survival to the final day of the season.
A 2-0 win over Buchan gives the local side a glimmer of hope ahead of next week’s make or break match in Forfar.
The battle to avoid relegation came to Recreation Park with the home side, Falkirk, firmly rooted in 12th position in the league on nine points and Buchan Ladies two places above them on 12.
With two teams being relegated to the 1st Division for Season 2014 everything was to play for and the team that split the two sides, Kilwinning SC, had lost earlier in the day 7-0 away at Hutchie Vale and therefore a win for the visitors would see both sides relegated.
The teams’ two previous meetings this season were high-scoring with 15 goals between the sides and the points shared.
The game was played at a fairly high tempo and both sides pushed for an early goal. But the defence and goalkeepers were up to any chances the opposition were making. On 15 minutes Jade Gallon drove down the left wing and drove the ball into the box which the defender blocked into the path of striker Jenny Godfrey who blasted the ball over the crossbar from 10 yards. Shortly after Falkirk were awarded a free kick 30 yards out and it was struck well by Sarah Anne Quilietti but the Buchan goalkeeper took the ball well.
Buchan were working well on the counter and a through ball caught the home side’s defence out and they were through on goal. But Falkirk’s goalkeeper Leigh Skelton was quickly off her line and closed down the striker at the edge of the box limiting her shot and power and Lauren Gallon was able to get back and clear the ball off the line.
The breakthrough came on 25 minutes after Falkirk were awarded a free kick wide on the left. Lauren Gallon put in a great ball into the box which the Buchan goalie blocked but it fell to the feet of Nicole Pullar who calmly slotted the ball into the bottom left-hand corner to make it 1-0.
The game stayed evenly poised and Buchan were awarded a free kick just inside the centre circle and a high ball was played into the box and was headed wide. Unfortunately the visitors striker, Hannah Stewart, landed hard on her ankle and there was a break in play as both the visitors and home physios treated the player. Hannah was carried off on a stretcher and went to hospital to get her ankle checked, ligament damage was the diagnosis.
Forced to make an early change the Buchan team were getting frustrated with some of the referee and assistant decisions and they felt very agrieved when they had the ball in the Falkirk net from a free kick in the 40th minute, but the assistant ruled the goal offside and it was chopped off. The teams frustration resulted in a yellow card for dissent for one of their players.
The half-time whistle saw the home side 1-0 up.
The second half started at a high pace again, with Buchan pushing to get that early equaliser and 10 minutes in they thought they had it. A corner was swung in and the ball was knocked home, but the referee signalled for a foul on the Falkirk defender.
Then a flash point in the game saw Buchan reduced to 10 players as their No 10 was given a straight red card after an outburst was seen as foul and abusive language.
This sending off took the heart out of the visitors and the extra player helped Falkirk and they soon doubled their lead after a great threaded ball from Ruadh Houston saw Jade Gallon hold off a defender and slot the ball home across the goalkeeper.
Falkirk looked strong for the remainder of the game and really should have scored a couple more goals as their strikers carved out a couple of clear cut opportunities but the game ended 2-0.
Three points take the relegation battle to the final game of the season on November 3 when Falkirk travel to play Forfar Farmington and Buchan play Kilwinning SC.