Monday verdict: Falkirk toil to see off Montrose
Falkirk were far from their fluent best but they ground out an important victory which kept their momentum going and moved them to the League One summit.
This was another game where the Bairns enjoyed the bulk of the possession but they will be disappointed that, although they got into threatening positions, too many misplaced passes and poor decision making in the final third ensured they weren’t able to fully capitalise. It’s not going to be 6-0 every week but they would have been hoping for a better display.
Having said that though Montrose proved a difficult nut to crack. They battled for every ball and are a well-drilled and organised side under Stewart Petrie. They were marshalled by the experience of Sean Dillon and Kerr Waddell at the back, and in the end, they could have even nicked something from the game with a couple of late chances.
Nevertheless, it’s a sign of a good team when they can win even when they are not firing on all cylinders. Falkirk showed character to recover from an early setback and they enjoyed more than a hint of good fortune with the winning goal, which came courtesy of Allan Fleming’s mistake – throwing the ball off Conor Sammon’s back and going in.
The club were hit by tragic news before the game as Falkirk volunteer Stephanie Kerr tragically died last week aged just 22. Her dad Ian is well known to fans for his work at the club. A minute’s applause was held in her memory.
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Once the action got under way it was a fairly scrappy start but the Gable Endies got their noses in front, and again the first goal proved to be crucial. Two Saturdays ago it forced Dumbarton to come out and gave Falkirk more space and freedom to play. Last Saturday it was Montrose who got the opener and it allowed them to protect what they had.
Lewis Milne’s cleverly disguised pass into Josh Skelly allowed the striker time and space to drill a low shot under Cammy Bell on 17 minutes.
With moves breaking down in the final third the home fans were starting to become restless, so it was more than welcomed when the equaliser arrived on 31 minutes. Sammon showed he’s good with the ball at his feet, creating a half a yard of space for himself before firing the ball low under Fleming.
Falkirk continued to huff and puff without really troubling the Montrose rearguard then they received a gift out of nothing which won them the game. Only Fleming will know what he was thinking when he decided to throw the ball out with Sammon lurking and it turned out to be a costly mistake.
He pulled off a good save to deny Falkirk a third when he saved from Toshney. The Bairns made heavy work of it trying to see out the game and it almost came back to haunt them but Campbell’s free kick drifted narrowly wide.
It might not have been the best performance but a fifth game unbeaten and sitting top of the league is crucially what counts.