Falkirk defeated Forfar Athletic 6-0 at the Falkirk Stadium on Saturday afternoon, to keep up the pressure on Raith Rovers at the top of League One.
An own goal from George Stanger on the stroke of half-time and second-half strikes from Ben Hall (2), Aidan Connolly (2) and Paul Dixon saw the hosts romp home.
It was a cagey start to the contest with both teams struggling to get the ball down and each defence dealing comfortably with long balls.
There was barely an attempt in anger until after the 20-minute mark when the hosts sprung into life.
Following some neat interplay on the left, Declan McManus found space and unleashed a vicious effort from 25 yards, that was acrobatically tipped onto the crossbar by Marc McCallum.
Several more chances followed in quick succession, with Raffa De Vita sending a glancing header wide before Aidan Connolly cursed himself after firing over from near the penalty spot.
Keen to atone for his miss, Connolly was back amongst it in the 35th minute, but his drive left-footed effort from 18-yards just skipped by the right post.
Connolly continued to threaten down the left thereafter and after a sharp one-two on the edge of the area, he whipped a teasing cross into the goalmouth, but neither Michael Doyle nor Connor Sammon managed to head home under pressure from a Forfar defender.
Finally, on the brink of the interval, the hosts broke the resistance.
Fed down the right-flank, full-back Doyle crossed dangerously and although Sammon once again didn’t manage to get his head on the cross, George Stanger inadvertently bundled the ball into his own net, ensuring his team trailed at the break.
Bolstered by their goal, the Bairns were comfortably the stronger side in the early stages of the second half.
In the 54th minute, McManus thought he’d scored, only to be denied by another excellent McCallum stop. After stealing a march on his marker, the Falkirk no.9’s swivelling shot looked destined for the bottom right corner, only for the keeper to touch it onto the post and away to safety.
There was only the occasional foray forward from Forfar, and they had their keeper to thank again in the 58th minute, for thwarting McManus after the striker had been sent through one-on-one.
A second goal would eventually arrive, though, in the 72nd minute, courtesy of Ben Hall. After the home side won a free-kick on the right-wing, Connolly whipped in another excellent inswinger which evaded everyone but the defender, who arriving late at the back post, converted a simple tap-in .
Now with breathing space secured, the atmosphere relaxed at the Falkirk Stadium, and changes were made, with both Sammon and De Vita replaced by David McMillan and Louis Longridge.
With a little over five minutes remaining, McManus, who had only just been thwarted again by the opposition keeper, got his head up and turned provider. Checking back inside on the left side of the six-yard box, his cute flick found the overlapping Connolly, who got the goal he so deserved with a powerful left-footed shot from a tight angle.
The visitors’ spirit was well and truly broken by this point, and Hall was to grab his second of the game in the 87th-minute with a header from a corner.
The late goals continued to flow with Connolly grabbing his own second in the 89th minute, capitalising on a fortuitous break to fire past a demoralised McCallum.
Falkirk weren’t quite done there, though, and there was time for another in injury time. Left-back, Paul Dixon, got in on the act, completing the mauling with a spanking left-footed effort from 18-yards.
An emphatic win for The Bairns then, against a Forfar side who showed plenty of early resistance, but eventually caved under pressure.