By Linsay Williamson
Falkirk played through wind, rain and snow at the Falkirk Stadium to earn a rocky 1-0 win over Montrose, giving them a crucial three points. The Bairns remain second in League One, still just one point behind Raith Rovers.
Falkirk had several goal opportunities in the first half. Aidan Connolly made an attempt that was just wide of the goal. Montrose keeper Allan Fleming stopped a decent Declan McManus’s goal attempt a few minutes before the 40-minute mark. The Bairns hitman wasn’t to be kept out for much longer.
A penalty was awarded to McManus after he was clumsily brought down in the box. He aimed down the middle, hitting the underside of the bar as Falkirk went in front.
In the second half Montrose were all over Falkirk in stages. The team were growing stronger and had a brilliant opportunity to level things up with a spot kick of their own. McManus, the scorer of Falkirk’s penalty, was sent off for handling the ball on the line.
Russell Mclean stepped up but an incredible save from Robbie Mutch stopped Montrose from equalising. Falkirk just about grinded out the three points over Montrose on home soil, earning the victory after facing a tough final 20 minutes with ten men. Here are three things we learned.
Falkirk remain strong but errors creep in
Falkirk did not play well for the entirety of this clash. Manager Lee Miller said in his post-match interview that his team didn’t play particularly well. Although this could be blamed on the condition of the pitch, Falkirk made a few careless mistakes.
McManus got himself sent off just because he didn’t think. Penalty hero Mutch even said he didn’t know what McManus was thinking. Overall it’s job done and another three points have been put towards the title tilt.
Montrose play aggressive and it’s effective
Montrose showed some amount of aggression in this match. Even though Falkirk won the game, the visitors didn’t let it happen easily. Montrose’s defence in the first half was strong and hostile tackles and challenges were made throughout.
The second half is really where Montrose picked up. After the first half goal against them they had Falkirk up against the wall. Miller said post-match that Montrose were the better side. The aggressive attack in the second half really did make it a close game. If they continue to play like this, Montrose can perhaps rise above their current fifth-placed standing.
Falkirk have title credentials
Falkirk are one of the best teams in the league currently. Even today with their playing not up to standard they still came away with the three points. With Miller and McCracken steering a steady ship, Falkirk have shown their title credentials.
Since they came in, Falkirk have only had one defeat to Premiership side Hearts. Next Saturday’s game against Clyde is another important fixture. It’s another opportunity to put the pressure on Raith ahead of a huge match against John McGlynn’s side a week on Tuesday.
If the club continue to keep up this strong run of results, there’s no reason to suggest the Bairns can’t be top of the league come May.