FALKIRK 4–0 COVE RANGERS
Falkirk eased to a convincing win to strengthen their lead at the top of League One on a night where we failed to trouble them and rarely looked like scoring. But for Nick Suman, who pulled off a number of fine saves, the margin might have been even greater,
With long-term injury victims Fraser Fyvie, Balint Demus and Luke Strachan still absent, Paul Hartley also had to do without captain Mitch Megginson, who had picked up a knock at the weekend. Paul McGowan dropped to the bench while Cameron Stewart returned in central defence and Arron Darge in midfield.
Connor Scully got the game underway on what was a freezing cold Stirlingshire evening, but it was the home side who were to enjoy the bulk of the early possession without causing our defence any undue concern.
In fact, it was Cove who created the first opening, Rumarn Burrell collecting the ball midway inside the Falkirk half and playing in Scully. The midfielder took a touch to steady himself, but then shot wide of the left post from twenty yards.
In the ninth minute Falkirk carved out their first opportunity, Yeats crossing from the right to find MacIver, but the striker glanced his effort well wide.
They came closer soon after. Nick Suman had to beat away a blistering thirty-yard drive from Donaldson, and when the ball was recovered, MacIver shot just wide from close range.
Left-back Leon McCann was next to try his luck, shooting from thirty-five yards, and Suman had to dive full-length to push the ball away for another corner.
We were getting out on occasion, but were unable to retain possession for any length of time, and struggled to find a way through. Falkirk looked the more dangerous team, and shortly before the interval, they took the lead.
Having broken down the left, the ball was switched across into the box where Callumn MORRISON gathered. He stepped away from a challenge and shot from sixteen yards, his effort hitting one post and flying across the line before clipping the other upright and nestling in the net.
It might have been two within seconds of the restart, Mikey Doyle having to react quickly at the back post to divert a dangerous Morrison cross behind. From the resultant corner, Falkirk did get their second in controversial circumstances. Nick Suman appeared to be pushed while attempting to gather the ball, but the referee waved away Cove claims, and Liam HENDERSON slid home from close range.
The manager reacted quickly, making his first substitution, as Tyler Mykyta replaced Jacob Jones with Scully dropping to left back.
The home side should have got a third when McCann sent in an excellent cross, but from eight yards out, and completely unmarked, Nesbitt sent his sidefoot volley wide of the far post.
Paul Hartley then threw Gallagher on for Kerr, but within seconds we were further behind. Falkirk picked up a bouncing ball and when it was fed into the area, Callumn MORRISON raced away from three defenders before firing a low angled shot across Suman and inside the far post.
The game appeared to be petering out with the home side heading comfortably to victory, little happening of note until the eighty-sixth minute when Yeats passed the ball into the box for Gary OLIVER to finish low past the despairing Suman.
It was to be the last significant action of what had been a bitterly disappointing night for us, Falkirk richly deserving their win.
FALKIRK (4-2-3-1): Long; Yeats, Donaldson (c), Lang, McCann; Henderson (McGinn 82), Spencer; Morrison (Agyeman 68), Nesbitt (Oliver 82), Miller (Ross 68); MacIver (Shanley 54)
Substitutes: Hogarth, Allan, Bisland, Mackie
Goalscorers: Morrison (42, 65) Henderson (46), Oliver (86)
Booked: Miller (67)
COVE RANGERS (4-3-3): Suman; Doyle, Stewart, Reynolds(c), Jones (Mykyta 51); Sena, Kerr (Gallagher 64), Darge; Yule, Burrell, Scully
Substitutes: Robertson, Gillingham, McGowan, Connell, Williamson
Booked: Darge (90)
Referee: George Calder
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