Ladbrokes Championship: Falkirk 2 Dunfermline 4: 29/12/18

The final league match of 2018 was a local derby against the Bairns at their Falkirk Stadium. The home side sat bottom of the table seven points behind their visitors in seventh. Dunfermline sorely wanted the three points that could kick start their hopes of securing a play off place while Ray McKinnon’s Falkirk were seeking their first home league win of the season.

In the quest for goals Allan Johnston gave former Bairn Myles Hippolyte in place of Faissal El Bakhtaoui. Falkirk were without suspended Paul Paton, Lewis Kidd dropped out and Marcus Haber found himself on the bench. That made way for Joe McKee, Scott Harrison and Denton Lewis.

The home side kicked off through Zak Rudden, attacking the goal in front of the 1463 strong travelling support. It was to be Rudden who teed up Joe McKEE on the left side of the box to allow the Falkirk no.22 to stroke the ball past the advancing Lee Robinson. Just 95 seconds on the clock and 1-0 Falkirk.

Dunfermline’s first real response was in eighth minute when Kallum Higginbotham pumped a high ball in from the right but Aidan Keena at the far post could only head the ball into the hands of keeper David Mitchell.

Then three minutes later Joe Thomson accepted a lay back from James Vincent, the Pars midfielder took the ball to his right before crashing a shot from 20 yards out that screamed over the crossbar.

The Fifers pressure paid off in 13th minute when Tom Beadling’s header sent HIPPOLYTE in on goal. The defence tried to stop him and looked like they might have, but Myles twisted round again and poked the goal past Mitchell. 1-1

The Pars were to turn it all around and go ahead just four more minutes into the game. Higginbotham delivered a free kick from the left approx 30 yards out, his diagonal pass was not cleared as it travelled through the penalty box and Tom BEADLING popped up at the far post to stab the ball in with his red boots at the right post. 1-2

Keena had a shot in 24 minutes that ended up narrowly wide left and although McKee had an opportunity from a free kick 25 yards out it was the visitors who almost benefitted. Robinson made a rudimental take and blasted the ball high up the park. Hippolyte was getting the better of Ruben Sammut when the Falkirk defender pushed him over on the edge of the box.

The defender was shown the first yellow card of the day before Hippolyte bent the ball around the five man defensive wall but Mitchell had it covered dropping to his left to hold. The Pars fans by this stage were maintaining a constant noise and they had plenty to sing about as Thomson drove the ball on target only to have it returned to him to head back. There followed a penalty box tangle with ultimately Keena getting away a shot but somehow the Bairns survived.

Mitchell miscued his clearance to hand Beadling a 37th minute chance. His shot from 25 yards out was always heading wide left but it was the heel of Harrison that diverted the ball away. There was another opportunity for the Fifers four minutes later. Higginbotham lobbed in a free kick from the same area that had yielded the Pars second but this time although Ashcroft got in the header the referee blew up for something he saw.

Sammut’s header towards Lewis in the 44th minute led to Devine conceding the first corner of the game but when McKee centred from the left that was easily cleared.

After the shock of losing the early goal Dunfermline ran the game and created many chances that resulted in no less than 11 shots.

Half Time: Falkirk 1 Dunfermline 2

The second half did not have the same dramatic start as the first but Keena’s through ball for Thomson required Brough’s intervention. Higginbotham tried a 48th minute shot that was blocked, Jackson Longridge pumped in a free kick that Mitchell fisted away before a touch of class provided the Fifers third goal.

There was slick play between Higginbotham and Longridge on the left side in line with the edge of the Falkirk box. Higgy emerged with the ball and as he reached the box fed the ball in for BEADLING in a central position who picked his spot. 1-3

On the hour Robinson held an effort from Robson after Prince had driven a low ball towards the Pars box. His opposite number held a header from Beadling four minutes later after Higginbotham had chipped the ball across the six yard box to find his team mate.

Midway through the half Dunfermline were to go further ahead prompting their fans to chant about how easy it was. James VINCENT certainly made it look easy accepting the ball from Keena on the right side of the box and firing clinically across goal to find the net just inside the left goalpost. 1-4

Faissal El Bakhtaoui was the Pars first substitution of the derby replacing Aidan Keena in 71 minutes but it was Falkirk who got the lift as defender HARRISON found the net with a shot from the left side 18 yards out. 2-4

Higginbotham broke in on the right side of the opposition box but blasted narrowly off target from 15 yards out. Robbie Muirhead then replaced Tom Beadling and although Falkirk forced a couple of corners there was to be no alteration to the score line.

A good performance by Dunfermline, four goals against Falkirk on their own ground for the first time since 1965, three different goalscorers and three very welcome points. Falkirk remain bottom of the table, Dunfermline seventh.

FALKIRK: David Mitchell: Jordan McGhee, Scott Harrison, Aaron Muirhead, Tommy Robson, Patrick Brough (Cieran Dunne 72), Joe McKee, Ruben Sammut (Andrew Irving 54), Prince Buaben (Jason Jarvis 88): Zak Rudden, Denton Lewis.
SUBS NOT USED: Tom Dallison, Mark Russell, Marcus Haber, Leo Fasan (GK)
SCORERS: McKee (2), Harrison (74)
YELLOW CARD: Sammut (26), McKee (58)

DUNFERMLINE: Lee Robinson: James Craigen, Lee Ashcroft (c), Danny Devine, Jackson Longridge: Tom Beadling (Robbie Muirhead 79), Joe Thomson, James Vincent: Myles Hippolyte (Malaury Martin 87), Aidan Keena (Faissal El Bakhtaoui 72), Kallum Higginbotham.
SUBS NOT USED: Ryan Williamson, Lewis McCann, Mark Durnan, Cammy Gill (GK)
SCORERS: Hippolyte (13), Beadling (17, 51), Vincent (67)
YELLOW CARD: Thomson (74)

REFEREE: Colin Steven

NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship (home) v Alloa Athletic, Saturday 5th January 2019, 3.00pm kick off at East End Park
Half time draw: 882050 won £950

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