Monday verdict: Falkirk get job done but League One reality sinking in
If there is such a thing in football as an underwhelming 4-0 win then Saturday’s match against Peterhead was probably it.
Four goals, three points and a cleansheet – on the face of it there can be few complaints from Falkirk fans, but in truth the game still felt a little flat.
A brief chorus of a Falkirk song burst out in the South Stand after the fourth had gone in but, much like this match, it quickly petered out.
The game lacked an edge and that manifested itself in the crowd, which seemed to be down in numbers from recent weeks, with 49 away fans making the trip from Peterhead.
The Blue Toon were competitive but it’s doubtful whether Cammy Bell had a save to make. Falkirk, meanwhile, were clinical without playing at their best.
They did lift their performance to get the goals before the game meandered towards its inevitable conclusion with the Bairns four up and comfortable. Ray McKinnon admitted there’s still room for improvement.
Nevertheless, it’s job done and on to the next for the Bairns as they look to secure a return to Championship football at the first attempt.
Credit to Buchanan and Durnan who kept Rory McAllister quiet – he’d score five here back in 2015. At the other end, Conor Sammon took his goal well, sending a looping header over Greg Fleming from an acute angle.
He was one of four strikers on the scoresheet as McKinnon opted for an adventurous line up. McMillan swept home the second, Longridge added a third after Sammon’s spot kick was saved, and McManus, who has cut a frustrated figure in recent weeks, thundered in a fourth.
The penalty incident was slightly strange with players bickering in the build up over who should take it. Earlier in the season McKinnon said Charlie Telfer was the designated penalty kick taker and was still on the park when the spotkick was awarded, so it was strange to see Sammon stepping up. It barely registered as a footnote in the game, but had the match been tightly contested it could have been costly.
The truth is though Falkirk were probably never out of third gear and rarely look troubled. They have enjoyed home comforts this season with 15 goals scored and one conceded in five games. It’s probably no less than most fans would have expected. However, it is the away form which has cast a cloud over the start made.
One win in five is not good enough and it’s why the Bairns are a point behind leaders Raith Rovers rather than out in front.
Visiting teams have come to frustrate and make things difficult which doesn’t always make for a great spectacle and it will probably be more of the same against Clyde, who beat Falkirk earlier in the season at home, this Saturday.
It is perhaps this dominance at the Falkirk Stadium, the takeover saga, and relegation, which has led to an apathy amongst some of the support.