WE can count ourselves extremely unlucky not to come away with at least a share of the spoils after a keenly contested League One encounter at the Falkirk Stadium.
A 48th minute goal from Callum Morrison gave the Bairns the points but the boisterous celebrations at the final whistle from our full-time hosts showed how much they knew they had been made to work for their victory.
We played the best football throughout, in contrast to the more direct approach favoured by Falkirk and were unfortunate not to go in at least a goal ahead at the interval.
Our chances weren’t helped by having a very strong penalty claim turned away by referee David Dickinson in the 28th minute.
In fairness to the Bairns, they were much better in the second period and would have added to their lead but for a series of top drawer saves from our keeper, Stuart McKenzie.
But the very fact Leighton McIntosh was just inches away from scoring the equaliser in the dying seconds showed it was a game that we could easily have taken something from, and would have deserved to do so.
That’s because we were by far the better side for the bulk of the first half.
Our first chance came after only a minute when Adam Livingstone played the ball to Rory McAllister and when he broke into the Falkirk area his shot was blocked to safety by Paul Dixon.
The Bairns responded with a long range effort by Robbie Leitch that rolled harmlessly wide of McKenzie’s right post.
Home defender Sean Kelly was booked in the eighth minute for chopping down Mitch Megginson as he attempted to break into the Falkirk box.
Connor Scully blasted the free-kick into the Falkirk defensive wall, just before Blair Yule was also booked, for a foul just inside our half.
We were soon on the attack again though, when Yule’s long pass forward reached Megginson but he couldn’t connect with his attempt to shoot from just inside the area.
Margaro Gomis then became the second home player to be booked for foiling Megginson, they were certainly taking no prisoners.
Falkirk finally broke forward in the 22nd minute when Leitch cut in from wide on the left but he was denied a shot at goal by an excellent tackle from Scott Ross.
The best move so far came from us, in the 24th minute.
It ended with Livingstone crossing from the left to McAllister and he was unlucky to see his 15 yard volley go across the face of the Falkirk goal and just wide.
We then had that penalty claim denied, when McAllister appeared to be shoved by Ben Hall as he attempted to collect a through pass from Fraser Fyvie.
Despite our appeals, the ref waved play on.
McAllister was involved again when he laid the ball off to Fyvie and his powerful 20 yard effort was held by Bairns keeper Peter Morrison in the 32nd minute.
McKenzie made his first save of the afternoon a minute later, when he stood up well to beat away Blair Alston’s 14 yard shot.
Conor Sammon went close for Falkirk in the 35th minute.The bustling striker broke clear on the left but then fired his shot from a tight angle into the side netting.
Falkirk had the ball in the net in the 38th minute when Callum Morrison tapped home the rebound after McKenzie had made a brilliant save from a shot by Dowds but the effort was correctly disallowed for offside.
McKenzie also stopped a low shot 16 yard shot by Alston just before the break.
Falkirk made the perfect start to the second period when Dowds crossed from the right and MORRISON steered a 16 yard shot beyond the reach of McKenzie.
McKenzie’s mammoth clearance from a goal-kick sent Megginson clear in the 56th minute but his shot lacked power and never troubled home keeper Morrison.
Dowds then tried his luck from 20 yards but the Falkirk man’s effort flew high over the crossbar.
Morrison went closer with a powerful drive from the edge of our area that clipped the top of the bar on the way over.
McKenzie made a top class save in the 68th minute.
He deflected Samson’s close range shoot wide of his right post after the Falkirk striker had been sent clear by a pass from Dowds.
We made a double change after 70 minutes, when McAllister and Livingstone were replaced by Broque Watson and Jamie Semple.
The Bairns brought former Aberdeen striker Lee Miller and Charlie Telfer on for Sammon and Leitch in the 75th minute.
We had a great chance in the 82nd minute when Gary Miller fouled Megginson just outside the Falkirk area.
Semple took the kick but hit his shot into the home side’s defensive wall.
McKenzie kept us in it with a fine double save a minute later.
He parried a shot from Telfer and also managed to grab Morrison’s header from the rebound.
Keeper McKenzie made an outstanding save in the last minute when he pushed a net-bound shot from Dowds on to his right post.
His heroics were almost rewarded in injury time when Megginson chested the ball down to McIntosh and his low shot from the edge of the area rolled agonisingly wide of Morrison’s right post with the Falkirk keeper clearly relieved the effort hadn’t gone in.
FALKIRK: P Morrison, Dixon, Hall, Miller, Alston, Dowds (Connolly 90), Gomis, Leitch (Telfer 75), Sammon (Miller 75), Kelly, C Morrison (Francis 90).
Subs: Mutch, Durnan, Deveney, Laverty, Sneddon.
COVE RANGERS: McKenzie, Yule, Milne, Scott Ross, Strachan, McIntosh, Fyvie, Scully, Livingstone (Semple 70), McAllister (Watson 70), Megginson.
Subs: Brown, Graham, Demus.
Referee: David Dickinson.
Article Copyright © 2020. Permission to use quotations from this article online is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and hyperlink to www.coverangersfc.comFALKIRK REACTION | THE MANAGER & SCOTT ROSS »