Falkirk 2 - 2 Dumbarton

League - Championship
Saturday, February 25th, 2017, 3:00 PM at The Falkirk Stadium
Attendance: 4,160
Referee: Mat Northcroft
Falkirk v Dumbarton, Feb 25th 2017, The Falkirk Stadium
Falkirk Dumbarton 

Luke Leahy (37)
Nathan Austin (59)
Lewis Vaughan (38)
Andy Stirling  (51)

Team Managers
Peter Houston Stevie Aitken

Starting Eleven
Danny Rogers
Luke Leahy
Aaron Muirhead
Tom Taiwo
Craig Sibbald
Myles Hippolyte
Peter Grant
Nathan Austin
Lee Miller
James Craigen
Paul Watson
Alan Martin
Daniel Harvie
Darren Barr
Gregor Buchanan
Mark Docherty
David Smith
Stuart Carswell
Andy Stirling
Robert Thomson
Lewis Vaughan
Christian Nade

Robbie Thomson
Luca Gasparotto
John Baird
Lewis Kidd
Bob McHugh
Mark Kerr
Fraser Aird
Jamie Ewings
Tom Lang
Ross McCrorie
Kyle Prior
Sam Stanton
Garry Fleming
Calum Gallagher

Fraser Aird for Myles Hippolyte (65)
John Baird for Lee Miller (74)
Bob McHugh for Nathan Austin (82)
Sam Stanton for Lewis Vaughan (78)
Garry Fleming for Christian Nade (81)
Ross McCrorie for Andy Stirling (90)

None. Darren Barr (45)
Gregor Buchanan (53)

Red Cards
None. None.

Appearances & Goals To Date
Alan Martin (GK) 29 apps -
Darren Barr 61 apps3 goals
Gregor Buchanan 68 apps3 goals
Mark Docherty 69 apps6 goals
Daniel Harvie 25 apps2 goals
David Smith 33 apps1 goal
Stuart Carswell 6 apps -
Andy Stirling 31 apps3 goals
Lewis Vaughan 6 apps1 goal
Christian Nade 21 apps10 goals
Robert Thomson 33 apps6 goals
Ross McCrorie (sub) 3 apps -
Sam Stanton (sub) 18 apps2 goals
Garry Fleming (sub) 172 apps32 goals

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Daniel Harvie (18 years 231 days)
Oldest Player:Christian Nade (32 years 168 days)
Average Player Age:26 years 14 days
Domestic Players:10 (90.91 % of starting eleven)

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:Kyle Prior (17 years 184 days)
Oldest Player:Jamie Ewings (32 years 213 days)
Average Player Age:25 years 6 days
Domestic Players:17 (94.44 % of matchday squad)

First Team Debuts

Lewis Vaughan scored his first goal for the Club.

THIS time last week, a 2-2 draw was considered a disappointment.

Amazing the difference 90 further minutes can make.

Dumbarton left Falkirk having finished with the same scoreline as they unthinkably did against Ayr United seven days previously.

But the similarities between the two games begin and end with the result.

In a tough fixture, the goals that earned them a point were stunning. Lewis Vaughan's ferociously struck effort after 38 minutes was an immediate riposte to Luke Leahy's opener for the Bairns only 60 seconds earlier.

Sons' second, by Andy Stirling on 50 minutes, is described these days as an 'if Messi had scored it...' goal. After a few strides with the ball, he saw off the Bairns defence and thrashed it home from 20 yards.

Unfortunately the lead couldn't last, and nine minutes later Nathan Austin got the goal for Falkirk that proved to be the last of the afternoon.

Both teams hit the woodwork in the remaining part of the game, and the hosts had a goal disallowed for offside. But neither could find the net within the laws.

One eye was kept on events at Ayr, where St Mirren defeated the Honest Men 2-0, meaning Sons gained a further point on the Championship's bottom two. Their lead over the Buddies was cut by two points, but still 10 points clear, it's something they can absorb.

Just as they had to absorb some early pressure by Falkirk which did not translate into goals. Alan Martin saved a fierce James Craigen effort, but was then beaten by an Austin header which bounced wide.

Paul Watson also missed a good opportunity for Falkirk, heading Craigen's cross over when well placed.

But Martin was on form again for his next test, somehow pawing away Austin's header in a packed area. The ball spun loose, but Sons got it clear.

What they couldn't do anything about was Leahy's opener. Way out wide, he may have looked to put in a cross instead of a shot.

Whatever it was, it beat Martin at the far post and Falkirk were ahead.

Sons had to provide a response, but nobody expected anything so clinical, so immediately.

After weaving through challenges 15 yards out, Vaughan thrashed the ball beyond Danny Rogers.

It wasn't quite as far out as when he previously scored past the Bairns keeper in May 2015. That was for Raith against Sons - from the halfway line. But it didn't matter - Dumbarton were level.

Martin saved a Myles Hippolyte effort as Falkirk looked to restore their lead before half time.

The net closest to the Sons fans did bulge again - in the second half, courtesy of Stirling. And it was one you did want to see close up.

The midfielder controlled a through ball and, after seeing off the home defence, placed his shot out of Rogers' reach without breaking stride.

Sons knew to expect a response, and Falkirk wasted no time in providing it. Lee Miller looked to have equalised but Mark Docherty cleared his effort off the line, while Craig Sibbald bent a shot narrowly wide.

But on 59 minutes, Austin bent home a shot after connecting with a low ball from the left.

Chances were actually pretty scarce until the late stages of the game. With 10 minutes left, Stirling's corner found Robert Thomson, but his header hit the top of the bar and went over.

Just two minutes later a Sibbald shot thudded off the outside of the post and went wide.

And within a further minute Bob McHugh did hit the target after fellow sub John Baird set him up. However, Sons were saved by the offside flag.

Another substitute, Garry Fleming, did force one further opening for Sons, but after setting himself up, his shot from a narrow angle lacked pace and was saved.

Down to the final 10 games. Dunfermline Athletic next.

Match report by Andy Galloway

Photography by Donald Fullarton

Programme cover / Team sheet