David McCracken and Lee Miller got off to a solid start as permanent Falkirk bosses at a cold and wet Falkirk Stadium as Declan McManus netted against his former club to grab a share of the spoils.
The Bairns made three changes to the side that faced Stranraer last weekend as Ian McShane, Charlie Telfer and David McMillan came into the starting XI, while John McGlynn’s side were looking to extend their lead over Falkirk at the top of League One to seven points and put a massive dent in their title hopes.
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It was Falkirk who had the best of the early chances and they really should have opened the scoring through McMillan just ten minutes in but his effort was somehow kept out after excellent build-up play involving Telfer and Declan McManus.
The referee became the centre of attention when he sent off Telfer just before the 15th minute for a lazy challenge on Regan Hendry.
The former Rangers youngster made a really lazy attempt at winning the ball back in the middle of the pitch as Gavin Ros couldn’t get his red card out quick enough.
Just minutes later, the referee was at the centre of it all again as McManus went down under a challenge by David McKay before being pushed over in the ensuing melee.
After speaking with his assistant, he ended up taking no action, leaving Raith fans furious.
Despite going down to ten men, Falkirk remained comfortable for long spells and looked the most likely to open the scoring but it was Rovers who struck first through Jamie Gullan.
The striker’s header left the outstretched Robbie Mutch with no chance as the Fifers took the lead with ten minutes until the break.
Falkirk made a change at the break as Morgaro Gomis replaced David McMillan and it was the hosts who were in control after the restart.
Their lack of numbers didn’t seem to be making any difference as Raith struggled to break contain the Bairns’ attack.
Their dominance paid off on the hour as the impressive McManus netted against his old side to draw the Bairns level and set up a thrilling final half an hour.
Raith were soon to join Falkirk with ten men after Kyle Benedictus was sent off for a second booking when he hauled McManus down on the edge of the area, leaving Gavin Ross with no option but to send him for an early bath.
The second red card seemed to bring Raith bck into the game a little but the visitors had the crossbar to thank for keeping the scores level.
With only a handful of minutes remaining, Falkirk were reduced to nine men as Gomis picked up his second yellow of the afternoon with Raith breaking quickly.
The Bairns continued pushing for a second goal but it wasn’t to be as the new management team maintained their unbeaten start since initially replacing Ray McKinnon on a temporary basis.