Queen’s Park are top of League One after beating Falkirk 1-0 at the Falkirk Stadium thanks to a Simon Murray free-kick from the edge of the area.

Both sides were looking to continue their unbeaten start to the League One season on a sunny afternoon at the Falkirk Stadium.

The hosts named a strong starting XI with Stevie Hetherington coming into the side at the expense of Craig McGuffie while the Spiders also made one change as Lee Kilday replaced Charlie Fox with new signing Connor Smith on the bench.

As the teams made their way out in the Grangemouth sun, Bairns legend Alex Totten was given the honour of leading the side out one more time as Falkirk paid tribute to their legendary former manager – with ex-Bairns duo Mikey Doyle and Louis Longridge embracing ‘Mr. Totten’ as they entered the pitch.

There was an enforced change early on for the visitors when Stuart Morrison picked up an injury, with Queen’s Park boss Laurie Ellis bringing on Fox to replace the defender.

As both sides felt each other out, it was Falkirk who looked most likely to make something happen early on with Morrison, Nesbitt and Telfer all asking questions of the Queen’s Park defence without really testing keeper Willie Muir.

It was far from all one-way traffic though as the Spiders tried to pick holes in the Falkirk defence and create an opening for Simon Murray.

With 15 minutes gone, there was a decent shout for a penalty for Falkirk when Nesbitt’s effort appeared to cannon off the arm of a Queen’s Park defender but referee Alan Muir saw nothing untoward and allowed play to continue.

Falkirk kept knocking on the door though and Aidan Keena was next to try his luck; turning well in the area before firing low at goal but the Irishman’s effort went just wide of the post.

Queen’s Park’s best chance of the opening 20 minutes came as the result of a poor pass from Bairns veteran Paul Dixon as his pass was intercepted by Murray before a crunching challenge from the ever-improving Ben Hall stopped the striker in his tracks.

That seemed to breathe some life into Queen’s Park with Murray starting to find himself more involved in the game and causing problems for the Falkrik back four.

The striker would again go close when he poked the ball narrowly wide of Robbie Mutch’s far post before the Bairns had the ball in the net up the other end just seconds later.

After some tidy play Keena and Nesbitt, Callumn Morrison showed great composure to stroke the ball underneath Muir before it was pulled back for an earlier offside.

As the clock ticked towards half time, Falkirk seemed like they were spurning chances to spite themselves when Hall managed to put the ball wide when he was gifted a free header from Charlie Telfer’s excellent corner.

That would come back to haunt the Bairns when ten minutes before the break Murray curled home a fantastic free-kick to give Queen’s Park the lead and stun Falkirk.

The celebrations of ex-Bairns defender Doyle didn’t seem to go down well with the home fans with a chorus of boos ringing out as he made his way back up the pitch.

After a scrappy opening spell after the break, Falkirk were handed a gilt-edged chance to equalise when Alan Muir pointed to spot after Aidan Keena was felled in the box – but again they wasted the opportunity as Morrison blasted his effort off the bar.

By now, Falkirk boss Paul Sheerin must have been fearing the worst as his side suddenly started misplacing simple passes and over-hitting crosses in their bid to equalise.

The Bairns did eventually settle down after the penalty miss and had the ball in the back of the net for a second time when Aidan Keena was quickest to react to an effort rebounding off the post but another offside flag denied him an equaliser.

Falkirk boss Paul Sheerin would turn to striker Samuel Ompreon for the final 25 minutes, coming on in place of Keena, but there wasn’t to be any late equaliser for the Bairns as the Spiders took top spot in the table as the top six remain split by a mere four points.

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