Winning Run Continues in Falkirk Sun
The Rovers fans arrived at Falkirk to see from their programme that the home side are apparently joint second favourites for the league. The Rovers were, however, more interested in making it 5 wins in a row and lined up unchanged.
As the game kicked off, the sun came out and the home side had a chance in 32 seconds with a quick free kick played forward for Taylor to get onto. Into the box on the angle, he fired in a shot which McGurn blocked away well. The home side seemed keen to get the ball forward rapidly for Taylor to try to use his pace against the Raith defence. The ex-Bournemouth man’s next effort went just wide from 23 yards. At the other end, Pat Clarke nearly found Grant Anderson but his pass was just too firm.
The Rovers first corner came cheaply via the Bairn’s ex-Ayr man Smith. In the 16th minute, Clarke’s header found Brian Graham whose cut back went behind the in-rushing Walker at the edge of the box.
Taylor turned well in the Rovers box but his cross was too hard and didn’t find Murdoch. Another long pass from the hosts saw Alston fire well over. The Rovers were getting more and more into the game as the Bairn’s early enthusiasm waned. Hamill ran forward and Clarke’s dummy teed up Graham whose shot was blocked.
The home side flashed a free kick across the box but there were no takers. A Rovers corner was headed over by Ellis, who was, no doubt, trying to erase the memory his last visit to Falkirk when he left in an ambulance with a broken jaw. Laurie tried again a few minutes later but his shot from the edge of the box was made more difficult by the presence of Allan Walker. Aldo was involved much more constructively throughout and started his third century of Rovers appearances with an excellent performance.
Alston tried to run at the Raith defence but his touch let him down and he showed he needed more practice before he threatens Tom Daley. The ball was quickly at the other end of the pitch and Flynn was booked for fouling Graham – the referee’s hand was forced by Alston’s theatrics.
Brian Graham was tightly marked but still managed to get a low shot off from 18 yards. With McGovern in the home goal, the ball went just past the post. Pat Clarke was closing down the Bairn’s defence and it nearly paid off when he dashed forward before switching the ball to his other foot and forcing a low save from McGovern.
Taylor, who’d been seeing less and less of the ball, found himself behind the Rovers defence and his cross was put over by Malone. The first goal came after a good cross field ball found Grant Anderson and he laid it back to the supporting Thomson. Jason’s deep cross was headed back by Graham and Alan Walker took a moment before putting the ball in from 6 yards. Alan clearly savoured the strike, running towards the travelling fans at the other end. The half ended just after Alston found space in the Raith box but nine yards out missed the ball completely.
The Rovers support, having heard dissent from the home stands as the teams went off, expected the hosts to come out firing. The Rovers players, however, had other ideas – scoring what will be one of the best team goals of the season. A good ball wide to Grant Anderson saw him play it first time into the box where Walker knocked it on to the back post and Pat Clarke was there to slot home. A great pass followed by a great touch then another and a crisp finish had the Rovers support on their feet. Two up there was no immediate Falkirk come back and Walker nearly made it three in the 49th his shot going just wide.
The home support were not surprisingly upset when the referee called play back when Alston went down requiring treatment. The resultant free kick was blocked but Haworth’s second effort was saved low by the diving McGurn. In the 60th minute, the Raith support were disappointed when Kingsley’s foul on Grant Anderson in the Falkirk box went unpunished. Moments later, the ex-Accies man was fouled by Smith, who was booked. Eddie Malone curled the resultant free kick a foot past the near post with McGovern again beaten.
Falkirk had brought on White, a big lad, up front and his first effort went well over. Fulton was next to have his name taken for a foul on the lively Clarke. Hill played the ball into Walker’s path and his first time volley was blocked by the no doubt stinging hands of McGovern.
The Rovers seemed to take their foot off the gas a little or perhaps it was the effect of Tuesday night’s game. Falkirk’s Alston shot over from distance and White headed tamely wide. Callachan and Hamill combined well to play in Clarke running through the middle but the ball got caught up under his feet at the vital moment. The last effort of the game saw Kingsley’s cross headed over by White.
The Rovers made it five wins from five with back to back League clean sheets. This was the best team performance so far and Walker and Clarke vied for Rovers Man of the Match.
Report John Mainland, Pictures Eddie Doig
Photographs copyright Eddie Doig