MATCH REPORT: Murray's derby double sees Dunfermline beat Falkirk as Bairns return after half a year out

They might not be "back with a bang” but there were plenty of positives to take from Falkirk’s 2-0 Betfred Cup defeat to Dunfermline at East End Park.

Saturday, 10th October 2020, 12:00 am
Aidan Keena had Falkirk's best chance of the match but headed straight at the Dunfermline keeper from close range
Aidan Keena had Falkirk's best chance of the match but headed straight at the Dunfermline keeper from close range

It had been over seven months since the Bairns were last in action and the squad has seen it’s fair share of changes since then but, in terms of their attacking play, that was not clear to see as the players in the final third looked sharp for the most part.

Defensively it’s another story, two goals coming from almost identical set pieces headed in by the same defender is a concern but the Bairns had this game and Tuesday night’s match with Clyde to identify these sort of problems and work towards amending them before next Saturday's League 1 kick off against Montrose.

One player who did not look rusty after the long lay off from competitive action was Robbie Mutch who was kept busy throughout the 90 minutes and called in to action early on as Dom Thomas rifled in a corner which curled toward the near post but was parried well by the Bairns stopper.

Sign up to our daily The Falkirk Herald Today newsletter

Mutch was called in to action again not long after to deny former teammate Declan McManus.

Falkirk’s problems from set pieces were on show in the first half when nobody followed the run of Steven Whittaker from a Thomas corner and the former Hibs player found himself in acres of space but could only fire high and wide – a let off for the visitors.

After that though Falkirk grew in to the game and showed the first signs of the fluid attacking play in the final third when Aidan Keena got on the end of a through ball, doing well to stay onside, and then cut inside and curled a shot wide of the far post from 18 yards.

Then came Falkirk’s best chance of the game and what really should have been the opener when Callumn Morrison sent in a cross with plenty of pace from the right flank straight on to the head of Keena but the striker headed straight at Fon Williams from six yards when half a yard either side would have surely seen the opener.

The Bairns then should have had a penalty when the ball struck the hand of McManus inside the box but referee Grant Irvine failed to spot it as the entire Bairns team made their feeling clear.

The sides went in level at half time with Falkirk looking good after a slow start but they would again start slow after the break and this time the home side punished them.

Robbie Mutch made another good save to deny Kevin O’Hara but was finally beaten shortly after as a Thomas free kick was met by the head of Euan Murray who rose highest inside a crowded penalty area to put the home side 1-0 up.

Not long after and it was 2-0 with a near identical goal with the only difference being it was a free kick and not a corner from Thomas as Murray again rose above the visiting defence and headed past Mutch.

The rest of the game came and wen’t without any other big chances but Falkirk did manage to string together some decent passes in the final third late in the half.

A lot still to work on for Lee Miller and David McCracken but a lot to be optimistic about as well.