Falkirk 2 Dunfermline 0Saturday, 7th Oct 2017
Irn Bru Cup: three changes in Pars starting line up: Conrad Balatoni (18) 1-0: Myles Hippolyte (59) 2-0:
With four of the previous week`s squad away on international duty there was always going to be a shake up for this Irn Bru Cup tie at the Falkirk Stadium. The Dunfermline Athletic team showed three changes with Lewis Martin and Aaron Splaine starting in place of the absent Ryan Williamson and Callum Morris. Seventeen year old Callum Smith was recalled from the Scotland U19 squad to take the place of the injured David Hopkirk and Nat Wedderburn moved into central defence to pair up with Lee Ashcroft.
Falkirk`s stand in manager, Alex Smith made one change from the side that gave the Bairns their first league win of the season away to Morton the previous Saturday. Myles Hippolyte was preferred to Nathan Austin as the newly appointed boss Paul Hartley watched from the stand.
The stadium announcer went through his customary playlist including Frankie Goes to Hollywood`s "Two Tribes go to War" and Tony Christie`s `Amarillo` before the teams were welcomed on to the park. There were around 950 Dunfermline fans, some sitting in sunlit areas, in the stand behind the goal that the Pars would defend in the first half.
Smith kicked the match off and the visitors spread the ball around and Falkirk attempted to do the same until in the fourth minute play was stopped for Wedderburn to receive treatment after running into his own goalkeeper. Sean Murdoch had shown urgency in racing from his goal to meet a ball into the Pars box. Wedderburn limped off but then ran freely back into position.
The Falkirk keeper, David Mitchell, did not see much of the ball until he had to hold a through ball in 11 minutes after Splaine`s lay off in the centre of the Bairns half to Higginbotham was played forward in search of Smith.
Hipplolyte`s pressure on Jason Talbot as he ushered the ball back towards his keeper, caused Murdoch to slice his clearance and earn the Bairns the first corner of the afternoon. Hipplolyte went over to the far side and deliver a dangerous inswinger of a ball into the six yard box that Conrad BALATONI, at the back post, turned into the Pars net. 18 minutes 1-0
Hipplolyte was next to try a shot at goal, three minutes later but from 18 yards blasted narrowly over the top.
Higginbotham took the first Dunfermline corner in 25th minute but his low delivery was too easily booted clear. Next Alex Harris beat off the challenge of Martin to cut back a decent delivery into the Pars box but McManus was back to intercept the danger.
Hipplolyte was getting the Pantomime villain treatment from the away support and there were extra voices on the jeers after he rounded Wedderburn only to go down in the box as the big man tracked him. Play on was the decision.
Talbot`s tackle on Joe McKee grounded the 24 year old Falkirk player and from the free kick 24 yards out Harris flicked the ball on for a Jordan McGhee at the back post but Ashcroft got the break of the ball and cleared.
Play again stopped in 38 minutes after Tom Taiwo required the physio on after a robust challenge from Talbot on the edge of the centre circle.
Three minutes from the break the Fifers best chance this far came from a long ball in from the left by McManus that Clark rose to meet in front of goal but Falkirk defended that successfully.
Martin got further up the park toward the interval but never got into a position to deliver a telling ball. Higginbotham made the keeper save a shot in added time at the end of the first half but the shot from 25 yards was easily taken by the former Stranraer keeper.
Half time: Falkirk 1 Dunfermline 0
Dunfermline did get going a bit better at the start of the second half and the travelling support broke into song after a Higginbotham`s 50th minute cross was turned narrowly wide of the far post by McManus.
Falkirk got going again and exerted more pressure with O`Hara having a shot blocked and then Harris caught offside when played into a promising position on the left side of the Pars box.
A second goal was to come Falkirk`s way in 59 minutes. HIPPOLYTE picked up on a Weddeburn header to nip and slip the ball into the corner of the net. 2-0
There was an opportunity to get back into the game immediately but Splaine`s free kick from 27 yards out was driven into the Falkirk wall. Play was again stop for treatment to a player in 65 minutes. This time it was for the home keeper who slipped badly after clearing a ball that Clark was chasing. The 27 year old caused concern and a lengthy stoppage before he was stretchered off.
Robbie Thomson, son of former Pars keeper Scott Y Thomson was introduced the 70th minute sub the first of the game.
Four minutes later Andy Ryan came on for Aaron Splaine and Jean-Yves M`Voto followed minutes later as Nat Wedderburn was withdrawn. Joe McKee swung in a ball from the left that Balatoni was up to head over the crossbar.
It was the 82nd minute when Clark was gifted the ball by O`Hara but his through ball for McManus was intercepted before the Pars player could gather. McManus made Thomson pull off a good save with a stinging shot Fromm the edge of the D and Clark hit an 88th minute shot from an acute angle on the left that again the keeper blocked.
Dean Shiels was shown red in the sixth minute of added time after going right through McKee in front of the dugouts.
Despite the seven added minutes, there was to be no late comeback from the Pars and they were to leave the Falkirk Stadium still looking for their first victory there since March 2011.
SUBS NOT USED: Cameron Blues, Scott Shepherd, Luca Gasparotto, Tony Gallacher.
SCORERS: Balatoni (18), Hippolyte (59)
YELLOW CARD: Taiwo (45+2)
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch: Lewis Martin, Lee Ashcroft, Nat Wedderburn (Jean-Yves M`Voto 79), Jason Talbot: Kallum Higginbotham, Aaron Splaine (Andy Ryan 74), Dean Shiels, Declan McManus, Callum Smith, Nicky Clark.
SUBS NOT USED: Conner Duthie, Scott Lochhead, Cammy Gill (GK).
YELLOW CARD: Talbot (83)
RED CARD: Shiels (90+6)
REFEREE: Steven McLean
WEATHER: Fine 16C
NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship (away) v Queen of the South, Saturday 14th October 3017, kick off 3.00pm
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