Bairns through to Quarter-Finals after convincing win

Falkirk are through to the Irn-Bru Cup Quarter Finals after defeating arch rivals Dunfermline Athletic at The Falkirk Stadium. 

New Bairns boss Paul Hartley watched from the stands as his new side comfortably eased past the Pars with interim manager Alex Smith making it two wine from two after the Championship side defeated Morton last weekend.

Allan Johnston’s men had 4 players away on international duty while Callum Smith was released by Scotland Under-19’s to allow the 17-year-old to play in this match. Lewis Martin and Aaron Splaine also started as the visitors could only name 5 substitutes.

The match was frantic and not filled with quality in the opening stages as both teams failed to create any goal scoring chances. When Falkirk earned a corner on their right, however, the deadlock would be broken.

Myles Hippolyte flighted the ball into the back post; Conrad Balatoni managed to make space and evade his market to nod the ball home on 17 minutes, with the defender opening his Bairns account after joining the club this summer.

Hippolyte blasted am effort over the bar from the edge of the box before Jordan McGhee had a shot blocked inside the 6 yard box after a free kick was sent into the area.

It took the Pars until the final minutes of the opening period to have any kind of effort at goal. Nicky Clark got into the box but he was forced wide and his shot from a tight angle was never troubling David Mitchell in the home goal.

Like buses, another shot was quick to follow and this time Mitchell was put to work, albeit without any trouble. Higginbotham tried an ambitious effort from long-range but his shot lacked power and was straight at the former Stranraer stopper.

The visitors, shooting towards the large travelling support, started the second half brightly as McManus dribbled a shot wide of target but it was the Bairns who doubled their advantage with just over 30 minutes to go.

Mitchell kicked the ball long and despite O’Hara rising and failing to meet the ball, Wedderburn headed the ball off the back of the striker which allowed Hippolyte to flick the ball over Ashcroft’s head, drive in on goal before sliding the ball past Sean Murdoch.

Shortly after, Falkirk had to make their first change of the afternoon, with Robbie Thomson coming on: David Mitchell picked up a nasty looking injury after kicking the ball forward. The #12 was stretchered off to a round of applause from the 4,000+ crowd inside the ground.

Johnston’s men battled away without reaching the heights that they had in the earlier league meeting between the sides this season. Thomson was up to the task when saving efforts from frontmen McManus and Clark before Dean Shiels saw red.

The Northern Ireland international cynically chopped down Joe McKee in front of the home dugout deep unto stoppage time and referee Steven McLean wasn’t hesitant in showing the midfielder a straight red card.

A convincing win for Falkirk will boost Hartley’s spirits ahead of his first training session on Monday while it’ll be back to the training ground for Dunfermline after they suffered their first back to back defeats of the season.

FULL TIME; Falkirk 2-0 Dunfermline

Team Line-Ups

Falkirk

12. David Mitchell (Robbie Thomson 70′)

4. Aaron Muirhead

21. Conrad Balatoni

5. Peter Grant

3. Jordan McGhee

6. Joe McKee

8. Mark Kerr (Captain)

7. Tom Taiwo

17. Alex Harris

20. Kevin O’Hara (Nathan Austin 84′)

11. Myles Hippolyte (James Craigen 75′)

Subs:

1. Robbie Thomson (GK)

9. Nathan Austin

15. Luca Gasparotto

19. Scott Shepherd

23. Tony Gallacher

24. Cameron Blues

28. James Craigen

Dunfermline

1. Sean Murdoch (Captain)

3. Lewis Martin

6. Lee Ashcroft

8. Nat Wedderburn (Jean-Yves M’Voto 79′)

14. Jason Talbot

7. Kallum Higginbotham

13. Aaron Splaine { Andy Ryan 74′)

27. Dean Shiels

9. Declan McManus

10. Nicky Clark

23. Callum Smith

Subs:

20. Cammy Gill (GK)

4. Jean-Yves M’Voto

16. Andy Ryan

18. Conner Duthie

19. Scott Lochhead

Referee: Steven McLean

Attendance: 4,082

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