better meddle...

wi' the de'il than the bairns o' fa'kirk

Match Report

Saturday, 27th September, 2008

Following the midweek League Cup victory, Lee Bullen and Burton O’Brien were both restored to the starting line-up at the expense of Gerard Aafjes and, more worringly, the injured Neil McCann. Surprisingly, Accies left goal threat Richard Offiong on the bench.

The early action were strangely low-key but that seemed to suit Accies who were prepared to be patient in their build-up and deny Falkirk time and space on the ball. Indeed, it was Tam Scobbie’s bloody nose which was the sole highlight of the first ten minutes but after some quick patch-up work by Kenny Cross, the young defender was back in the thick of things.

Derek Lyle was first to test Olejnik with a drive in 15 minutes but it was easily held by the big Austrian. Falkirk countered four minutes later with a Lovell flick which looked netbound until it was uncerimoniously hacked clear on the goal-line by Mensing.

On the twenty-minute mark, an amazing mix-up between Arfield, Barr and ‘keeper Olejnik saw the big goalkeeper crash a clearance off Thomas and almost concede. The home crowd were becoming edgy as the Bairns midfield misplaced several passes.

Following an Accies attack, Thomas was fortunate not to be yellow carded for a late challenge on Bullen who limped away in pain. Then Barr was forced to pull back McCarthy right on the edge of the area as Billy Reid’s men began to cause problems. There were some hefty challenges going in and McArthur caught McNamara with a sore one in 28 minutes but Referee Tumilty keep his card in his pocket.

McCarthy was next to go down for the Accies but his blatant dive won nothing more than some well-directed abuse from the Falkirk defence.

Falkirk were searching for a waythrough the well-organised Accies defece and a Barrett turn and shot was easily held by Cerny. Then the striker was out of luck again screwing a low shot past the’keeper but into the side net.

In 37 minutes, Accies raced upfield and two Stevenson corners caused the Bairns defence some concern but, at this stage, it was difficult to see either side scoring.That was all to change a minute before the break though. Graham Barrett’s persistence paid off when Arfield sent him scampering into the box and he lifted a cross to the back-post where STEVE LOVELL was handily placed to knock a shot into the net from barely three yards.

It might have been two seconds later, when Lovell ran clear following another wonderful Arfield pass behind the defence but Martin Canning did brilliantly to get back and block the strikers shot.


Accies produced a quick attack on the restart when McCarthy sent McArthur in on goal but his effort was easily fielded by Olejnik.

Kevin McBride stamped his authority on the proceedings in 51 minutes driving forward to unleash a powerful 25-yarder which Cerny pushed away with a save for the TV cameras. Falkirk looked much improved on their first-half performance and a cross-cum-shot from young Arfield was headed just over following an athletic leap by Lovell.

However it was the visitors who almost shocked Falkirk when a David Graham cross saw Ettien’s header turned against the post and behind by the diving Bobby Olejnik. Two further corners followed but Barr was up to them with headed clearances.McCarthy was yellow-carded for sending Arfield spinning in the centre-circle but that didn’t prevent the Falkirk youngster from adding to the scoreline with twenty minutes left. SCOTT ARFIELD raced into the Hamilton box evading two challenges before rifling a low shot wide of Cerny for a superb goal.

You could see the confidence of the side lift and they were to go further ahead in 72 minutes. Cerny made a hash of a clearance which fell straight to BURTON O’BRIEN and despite the temptation to lob directly back into goal the midfielder meandered forward before blasting a great left-foot shot high past Cerny for another great goal.

Offiong should have reduced the deficit in 76 minutes skipping by a hesitant Olejnik but somehow contrived to lift his shot high into the air from a difficult angle.

Falkirk had the bit between their teeth though and Lovell ran through to smash a shot inches wide before Arfield chased a second with a bouncing shot which flew wide with Cerny scrambling across goal. Higdon turned and forced Cerny to make another spectacular leap and parry in 83 minutes. Three minutes later it was all over bar the shouting. Substitute Aaafjes raced into the box and Graham’s clumsy challenge sent him to the deck for a spot-kick.

SCOTT ARFIELD brimming with confidence, sent the kick wide of the diving Cerny for Number 4.

It wasn’t finished for there was a bizarre finish to the game when a cross from Trent McLenahen low at the post seemed to catch ROBERT OLEJNIK unaware and as a result the ball ended up in the net to complete silence in the Stadium. Many fans thought the Referee had blown for time but a consolation goal it was.