Ladbrokes Championship: Dunfermline 0 Falkirk 1: 13/04/19

Falkirk returned to East End Park hoping to repeat their feat in November when they recorded just their second league win of the season. The Bairns sat bottom of the table but only four points behind sixth placed Morton so there was little doubt that they needed points.

Hard though it looked, Dunfermline had not given up on making the final play off place and would not be easy opponents.

After defeat to Ross County and in Falkirk’s case Alloa Athletic, both sides made two changes to their starting elevens. Stevie Crawford brought in Faissal El Bakhtaoui and James Vincent for Myles Hippolyte and the injured Louis Longridge. For the visitors Ray McKinnon started Aaron Jarvis and Ross MacLean for Mark Waddington and Ian McShane.

Falkirk kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end and within a minute Zak Rudden despatched a cross from the right side of the near post. Bruce Anderson caused the Falkirk defence some anxious moments none more so that a fifth minute cross into the box from the right that was just too far away from El Bakhtaoui to be finished.

El Bakhtaoui forced an eighth minute corner but when Ryan Blair delivered from the left James Craigen on the far side of the box failed to get a good connection on his shot. Next Blair broke into the Bairns box but his shot from the left cleared the crossbar.

Paul Paton crashed an eleventh minute shot high into the McCathie while at the other end an excellent square pass 25 yards out from Anderson to Blair let the former Falkirk man in for a shot but that was blocked.

Falkirk’s first threatening shot followed in 13th minute, Abdul Osman send his effort from the edge of the box narrowly wide left. Four minutes later Dunfermline were awarded a penalty kick when a pass from the right seeking out Anderson caused defender Ciaran McKenna to tumble the on loan striker and referee Willie Collum pointed to the spot.

Anderson stepped up but the Falkirk keeper Harry Burgoyne turned the penalty kick around his left hand post. Much celebration from the travelling support behind the goal.

On 25 minutes Craigen picked out Anderson on the edge of the Falkirk box and when McKenna slipped, Anderson snapped a shot that escaped wide left of target. Next it was Jackson Longridge who made a break up the left but the on loan Wolves keeper stopped the shot.

A fine cross from Matty Todd picked out Longridge on the far side of the box but his well struck 33rd minute shot was blocked. Deimantas Petravicius next lumped a ball in from the left touchline that landed on the roof of the Pars net.

Tom Beadling dropped to the ground on half way in 37th minute and when the physio could not help Kallum Higginbotham to a chorus of boos from the away end, became the first sub of the match.

Todd and then Craigen had crosses into the Bairns box but both were cleared. A 43rd minute free kick was pumped by Blair in the direction of the opposition box but that got cleared all too easily.

The home side had edged the possession in the first half and had managed seven shots to their opponents four.

Half time: Dunfermline 0 Falkirk 0

Ryan Scully made a great save diving down to his right to deny Aaron Jarvis a 47th minute opener. The chance came from a fine diagonal pass into the area in front of goal by Ghanaian Osman.

Davis Keillor-Dunn replaced Deimantas Petravicius in 51 minutes before it took a header from Scully to mop up after a bit of delay between Ashcroft and Devine almost let Jarvis through. Back at the other end Longridge launched a low shot from 25 yards out that whizzed wide right.

Craigen was injured and required treatment in 57 minutes after a light clearance by Devine. After treatment he was able to walk off and duly return. An overhead kick from Vincent earned a 63rd minute corner but the Falkirk defence headed away Blair’s inswinger from the right.

Three minutes later Pars captain Lee Ashcroft arrived from the right to meet a Blair free kick and he was desperately unlucky as his header was kept out by the left upright. Tenacious play from Craigen earned a corner on the right at the midpoint of the second half. Another followed from the left but neither created great threats.

Falkirk looked hungrier and when Keillor-Dunn stuck in to feed the ball to Rudden, Scully had to dive to his right to save. In 73 minutes Myles Hippolyte replaced the luckless Faissal El Bakhtaoui. Next minute there was the best chance do far for the home side. Todd picked out Anderson but his shot crashed down off the crossbar.

Destinies took a change of direction when Falkirk scored in 76 minutes. KEILLOR-DUNN got the break of the ball off Devine on the edge of the box to round him and stick the ball low into the left side of the Pars net.

Falkirk then cane close from a Paton corner played in from the right side, McKenna getting a touch but sending the ball outside the far post. There was then ping pong in the Bairns six yard box with the ball being kept out by the left goalpost.

Robbie Muirhead replaced Matty Todd in 87 minutes and the home fans welcomed an 89th minute corner that came off Longridge to go wide right.

There were scenes of joy at the final whistle but entirely from the loud travelling support. Falkirk moved off the bottom of the table, a point ahead of Partick Thistle who drew in Dingwall. Patrick have four matches to play, their game in hand against Morton. Everyone else has three to play and only two points separate the bottom four teams. Dunfermline Athletic remain fifth but are now just three points ahead of Alloa Athletic who made it four wins in a row with a home win over Queen of the South.

DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully: James Craigen, Danny Devine, Lee Ashcroft (c), Jackson Longridge: Tom Beadling (Kallum Higginbotham 38): Matthew Todd (Robbie Muirhead 87), James Vincent, Ryan Blair: Faissal El Bakhtaoui (Myles Hippolyte 76), Bruce Anderson.
SUBS NOT USED: Aidan Connolly, Stuart Morrison, Mark Durnan, Cammy Gill (GK)

FALKIRK: Harry Burgoyne: Jordan McGhee (c), Ciaran McKenna, William Edjenguele, Paul Dixon: Paul Paton, Deimantas Petravicius (Davis Keillor-Dunn 51), Ross MacLean, Abdul Osman, Aaron Jarvis (Nikolai Todorov 59), Zak Rudden (Mark Waddington 90).
SUBS NOT USED: Ian McShane, Tommy Robson, Shayne Lavery, David Mitchell (GK).
SCORERS: Keillor-Dunn (76)
YELLOW CARD: MacLean (85)

REFEREE: Willie Collum

NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship: (away) v Queen of the South, Saturday 20th April 2019, kick off 3.00pm

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