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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Falkirk 2-0 Dunfermline
Sat, 7th Oct 2017
Allan Johnston post Falkirk
Sat, 7th Oct 2017
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Preview FalkirkSaturday, 7th Oct 2017
Irn Bru Cup Second Round: 3.00pm kick off at The Falkirk Stadium, Saturday 7th October
The last visit to the Falkirk Stadium in February resulted in a 2-1 home win but the form of both sides has changed around since then and Dunfermline travel across the Kincardine Bridge confident that it is possible to win a cup tie in Falkirk for just the second time ever. The only cup success in Falkirk came in September 1966!
.The usual warm Falkirk welcome can be expected from the Bairns fans but this is a match that the away fans can travel to very hopeful that they could witness their team`s first win at the Falkirk Stadium since March 2011.
*Pre league reconstruction
The last cup success over Falkirk was a 2-0 win in October 2002. . The most recent cup meeting was in this competition under its Petrofac Training Cup title in August 2014. . The Bairns won 2-1 that night thanks to two Tom Taiwo goals within five second half minutes. . The Pars replied with a goal from Andy Geggan but could not find another.
In the League Cup the previous season, the Pars were unlucky again losing 2-1 after putting up a great second half fight. Prior to that the previous cup meeting was at Hampden in the Scottish Cup Semi Final of 2009 when Falkirk advanced to the final as a consequence of a 2-0 victory. .
The Pars 3-1 win over Falkirk on 19th August was the first Dunfermline win in 11 tries. Falkirk have won 8 of the last 12 meetings in league and cup. .
Last 12 Matches v Falkirk
Last Meeting at Falkirk Stadium
2nd February 2017
Falkirk 2 Dunfermline 0
Falkirk were to take a 34th minute lead when a free kick from the left was nodded back across goal by Lee Miller and John BAIRD had the relatively easy conversion from close on. 1-0
Falkirk piled on the pressure late in the second half and scored a second goal in 77th minute. The Pars ran out of defenders as shots were blocked and Hippolyte was left to crash the ball in towards goal. Baird looked like he had scored but between Murdoch and the crossbar the ball kept out only for MILLER to stab the ball home. 2-0
FALKIRK: Danny Rogers: Aaron Muirhead, Paul Watson, Peter Grant, Luke Leahy (Tony Gallacher 87): James Craigen, Joe McKee, Craig Sibbald, Myles Hippolyte, Lee Miller (Nathan Austin 89), John Baird (Bob McHugh 87)
SUBS NOT USED: Lewis Kidd, Luca Gasparotto, Scott Shepherd, Robbie Thomson (GK)
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch: Andy Geggan (c), Lee Ashcroft, Callum Morris, Jason Talbot: Paul McMullan (David Hopkirk 63), John Herron (Joe Cardle 81), Nat Wedderburn, Kallum Higginbotham: Nicky Clark, Michael Moffat (Gavin Reilly 63).
SUBS NOT USED: Rhys McCabe, Lewis Martin, Michael Paton, David Hutton (GK)
|Current League Position|
|Last six form|
|P8, W1, D3, L4||P8, W5, D1, L2|
Falkirk`s win over Morton on Saturday was their first league win of the season. Their league form has come as a bit of a surprise after winning four our of four in the Betfred Cup at the start of the season. Bad though things may seem at The Falkirk Stadium Falkirk have lost just one of their last five matches.
Dunfermline have lost only three of their fifteen matches this season against Rangers, Morton and Dundee United and they will be keen to bounce back from their first home defeat of the season last Saturday.
Last Time Out
DUNFERMLINE (v Dundee United): Sean Murdoch: Ryan Williamson, Callum Morris (c), Lee Ashcroft, Jason Talbot: Kallum Higginbotham, Nat Wedderburn, Dean Shiels (Aaron Splaine 65), David Hopkirk (Callum Smith HT): Declan McManus (Andy Ryan 82), Nicky Clark.
SUBS NOT USED: Lewis Martin, Fraser Aird, Scott Lochhead, Cammy Gill (GK).
FALKIRK (v St Mirren): David Mitchell: Jordan McGhee, Aaron Muirhead, Peter Grant, Conred Balatoni, Joe McKee, Tom Taiwo (Cameron Blues 82), Mark Kerr, Alex Harris, Nathan Austin (Lee Miller 55), Kevin O`Hara (Scott Shepherd 83)
SUBS NOT USED: Tony Gallacher, James Craigen, Myles Hippolyte, Robbie Thomson (GK).
From last Saturday`s squad, Dunfermline will be missing four players away on international duty - Ryan Williamson with Scotland U21s, Callum Smith with Scotland U19s, Callum Morris with Northern Ireland and Fraser Aird with Canada.
Referee will be Steven McLean.