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SFL Match Report: Falkirk 2-0 Raith Rovers

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The Bairns opened the scoring through Blair Alston, before Darren Dods secured the three points minutes later.

Steven Pressley’s men remain in second place, while Raith now find themselves a point above the relegation zone.

The match was marked beforehand with a fitting tribute towards former Falkirk chairman Campbell Christie – who passed away on Friday. Christie oversaw the Bairns rise to the top-tier of Scottish football and will be remembered fondly at the club.

Raith Rovers welcomed back Dougie Hill to the fray after returning from suspension. Scott McBride and Iain Davidson were both carrying knocks and were unavailable for the Fifers.

The hosts made three changes to the side that knocked out Dundee United on penalties during the week. Top goal scorer Farid El Alagui did not recover in time which meant Rhys Bennett was introduced to the starting line – up. Dale Fulton slotted in at right back for Kieran Duffie and midfielder Mark Millar returned from suspension.

But it was the visitors who started brightly. John Baird proved a handful upfront, giving the home side’s defence some cause for concern, as he skipped past Dods before flashing a shot just wide of goalkeeper Michael McGovern’s right hand post.

Falkirk were suffering from their midweek exploits and took a while to settle into the game. Kallum Higginbotham’s dipping effort had Rovers keeper David McGurn scrambling to tip the ball over the bar. It was the only shot of note for Pressley’s men during the opening twenty minutes.

But as the game went on the Bairns gradually started to get into their stride. Defender Murray Wallace hit a speculative 25-yard drive but McGurn dived low to his right to make the save.

That was about as close as any side came to breaking the deadlock in the first half. Raith though, nearly went ahead early in the second. A deep Allan Walker corner caused problems in the box, with the ball eventually cannoning off the bar from an Iain Williamson header.

Falkirk responded by bringing on striker Ally Graham for Dale Fulton on 57 minutes as they converted to a 4-4-2. The tactic nearly paid off almost immediately, as Millar sprayed a pass out wide into the path of Stephen Kingsley. The 16-year-old linked up well with Graham, but his right foot shot was comfortable enough for the visitor’s goalkeeper.

But Raith did not heed the warning signs as the Bairns found themselves in the lead with 13 minutes to play. Higginbotham caused Rovers all sorts of problems and used his trickery to cut inside from the right. The former Rochdale striker then drilled a low shot, which was not collected by McGurn and Alston was the only player to react, instinctively following up to blast the ball into the roof of the net.

David Weatherston almost doubled the hosts lead as he whipped in a cross-cum-shot nearly catching the Rovers shot-stopper off guard. But the Bairns would not have to wait much longer as on 82 minutes, 36-year-old Dods put the result beyond doubt – bundling a Millar cross home.

Falkirk: McGovern, Dale Fulton (Graham 57), Dods, Wallace, Kingsley, Murdoch, Mark Millar, Alston, Weatherston (Jay Fulton 89), Rhys Bennett, Higginbotham. Subs Not Used: Bowman, Dick, Ryan Millar.

Goals: Alston 77, Dods 82.

Raith: McGurn, Donaldson, Murray, Ellis, Dyer, Williamson (Thomson 71), Walker, Hill, Hamill, Baird, Brian Graham (Reynolds 79). Subs Not Used: Laidlaw, Callachan, Colin Wilson.

Att: 3,628

Ref: Steve Conroy

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About Author

Craig is the sub-editor of Scotzine and is doing the MA Multimedia Journalism course at Glasgow Caledonian University. He is learning various different aspects in radio, TV, print and online whilst a local news correspondent for the Anderston/City area. Craig has a passion for all things sport but particularly football where his love for Falkirk as a fan has enabled him to become a volunteer for Falkirk TV, where he does commentating and various other activities He has also worked for a year at Goal.com UK and has his own blog.

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