PARTICK THISTLE................... 5 FALKIRK................................. 1
Bairns scorer: Wright (53 pen)
Falkirk: Hogarth: 1, Lawrie 2, McQuilken 4, Rennie 3, Oponga 1, Mair 1, McAllister 3, Kerr 4, Miller 3, Wright 2 (Craig 74) 1, Morris 2. Not used: McStay, Deuchar, Pearson, Hill. Sent off: Lawrie. Booked: McAllister, Kerr. Att: 4,245.
NEVER can there have been a more deceiving scoreline than that at Firhill on Saturday.
Neutrals reading reports of the game didn t even get half the story, but the bottom line was that once again Falkirk s failure at one end to capitalise on chances made was overtaken by horrendous errors in defence.
That Thistle deserved to win there is no denying, but they surely won t be gifted easier goals than they were on Saturday.
The Falkirk performance was underlined by the fact their fans a superb turnout in dark blue kept on encouraging them even when they were 5-1 down.
A shellshocked Alex Totten couldn t even find it in himself to criticise his team.
''If truth be told we were the better side, he said. ''The plus side for us was that we never gave up even when we were well behind, but we lost dreadful goals.
''I m not going to slate the players because the effort was great.
A true reflection on the ebb and flow of the game is perhaps best measured by the fact that Falkirk 13 attempts on goal to the Jags eight, and the Bairns won 10 corners while the home side only had two.
Falkirk were by far the better side in the first half, with Mark Kerr and Jamie McQuilken outstanding and Lee Miller once again leading the line well.
Andy Lawrie headed just wide from an Ian Morris free-kick, and Morris himself had a couple of good shots deflected for corners.
One feature of Falkirk s corners was the unsporting behaviour of Partick s defenders, who faced up to players such as Lawrie and Morris without looking near the ball.
It took referee Gilmour until late in the second half before he finally had words with Hardie over it, but it s something that needs to be stamped out.
If diving is going to be a red card offence then such blatant blocking merits at least a booking.
Miller almost set Paul Wright up for the opener with a great run from halfway and what looked like a perfectly weighted pass into the striker s path, but he failed to make contact.
The youngster created another good opening with a fine pass forward for Morris on the right, but Arthur was quickly off his line to gather.
But not for the first time this season Falkirk s good work was undone by the defence. A long ball forward found Walker in acres of space and he ran in to score easily.
Steven Rennie almost levelled with a cute flick after neat work by Kevin McAllister on the right, and two
minutes from the break Wright s diving header from McQuilken s cross slipped agonisingly over the bar with the keeper beaten.
But four minutes after the break Myles Hogarth gifted Partick their second when he totally miscued a passback from Camille Opongo. This is one goal that will come back to haunt the keeper as it s sure to feature on TV howlers.
Wright levelled from the spot in the 53rd minute after a superb Kerr pass had put McAllister into the box. He rounded the keeper and was poised to net when Craigan hauled him down before heading for the showers after the first red card of the day.
It was 3-1 and 10 men apiece in the 59th minute. Falkirk were again badly caught out on the left side of defence, and when the ball was played in Lawrie was adjudged to have pulled back Hardie. Britton netted from the spot.
Miller might have pulled one back in the 67th minute after McQuilken won a solid tackle and raced forward to find McAllister. His cutback seemed perfect but Miller s shot slipped inches wide.
The miss was expensive because two minutes later that gap on the left side of the Falkirk defence was exploited again as Walker waltzed away from Opongo and McKinstry rifled his cutback home.
Britton got the fifth in the 76th minute as he survived two half-hearted challenges before tucking the ball behind Hogarth.
Still Falkirk didn t give up, and Steven Craig a replacement for Wright almost picked out Miller with a low cross after a fine move down the right, with the ball being scrambled behind by a defender.
Craig then had a couple of efforts himself, but this game will go down in the record books for all the wrong reasons as far as Falkirk are concerned.
Failure to capitalise on first half supremacy and a series of schoolboy errors in defence cost them dearly.