Taylor On Target As Honours Shared - Report & Pics Now Posted
Following on from the visit of Middlesbrough to The Falkirk Stadium on Sunday, Falkirk welcomed further English Championship opposition in the form of Bolton Wanderers as Bairns manager Steven Pressley was keen to test his side against further opponents of high calibre.
LYLE TAYLOR got the match of to a remarkable start when he opened the scoring after just fourteen seconds. Bairns captain Darren Dods picked up the backwards pass from the kick-off and played a direct ball up the pitch to pick out Taylor who showed the awareness to realise Bogdan was caught unaware and execute a clever chip over the stranded keeper to give Falkirk the lead.
Taylor then had the ball in the net again after 4 minutes when he headed home Jay Fulton’s cross only to have his celebration cut short by the standside linesman’s flag. The same combination saw Taylor break away down the right flank moments later and from the corner of the box he let loose with a stinging shot that Bogdan was relieved to see go wide. Falkirk had further chances to extend their lead through Murdoch, Leahy and Duffie as they continued their incredibly positive start to the match.
Falkirk suffered a setback though when after 14 minutes CHRIS EAGLES levelled proceedings against the run of play. The winger picked up the ball midway in the Falkirk half and took advantage of the space provided to tee the ball up and release a fantastic 30 yard effort on the half-volley that flew into the bottom corner of the net past the outstretched McGovern. The goal gave Bolton a boost and they should perhaps have taken a lead shortly after when Martin Petrov swung in a perfect cross to pick out the run of the unmarked Keith Andrews, but the midfielder headed narrowly over when it seemed destined for the back of the net.
Both teams continued to probe at the opposition defence in an entertaining half that saw some good passing football displayed by both sides without either keeper being overly troubled. As referee Charleston blew his whistle to bring an end to the first period both sets of fans seemed content that the half-time score was a fair reflection of the efforts of their respective teams.
Half-time: Falkirk 1 Bolton 1
Ex-Bairn Owen Coyle withdrew Bogdan and Eagles at the break for Lonergan and Pratley respectively and counterpart Steven Pressley altered his lineup too as McGovern, Kingsley and Taylor made way for Bowman, Dick and White. The Trotters were first to threaten in the second half when Kevin Davies held up play and sent a slide-rule pass through to namesake Mark, Bowman in the Falkirk goal did well to dive to his left and get a strong hand to keep out the Bolton mans strike.
Owen Coyle then made a quadruple substitution on 61 minutes as he sought to give as many of his men minutes on the pitch with the aim of building up fitness. On came Vela, Alonso, Riley and Wylde to replace Mears, Andrews, Knight and Lee. Not to be outdone, Elvis proceeded to use all eight remaining substitutes in one fell swoop as he changed his team en masse with the arrival of Smith, Turnbull, Dale Fulton, McGrandles, Small, Rowan, Tyler Fulton and Faulds for the departing Duffie, Dods, Flynn, Jay Fulton, Sibbald, Murdoch, Haworth and Leahy.
O’Halloran and Cisse were then introduced into the fray for Mark and Kevin Davies as the substitution merry-go-round continued two minutes later. Such wholesale changes naturally had an impact on the flow of the game as both sides took time to settle down and find a continuity of shape and passing. Perhaps understandably the tempo then seemed to drop as the game entered it’s latter phase with little in the way of goalmouth action, the game instead becoming a battle in the middle of the park as a fierce midfield fight for possession ensued.
The Bairns did carve out a good chance though after 83 minutes when Dale Fulton sliced open the Bolton defence with an excellent pass which sent Jordan White through on goal. Andy Lonergan did well though to rush out from his line and smother at the feet of the big striker. Wanderers retaliated 90 seconds later when Petrov produced a fine cross to the back post to pick out Alonso and his powerful close range shot brought another fine save from young keeper Bowman.
Despite being up against opponents of a higher stature it will please Elvis no end that his young team performed valiantly in the second half, holding their own in both the individual and team battles. The game was easy on the eye and was a good opportunity for many of the youngsters to stake a claim for a place in the first team squad with the real action fast approaching.
Full-time: Falkirk 1 Bolton 1
Falkirk: McGovern, Duffie, Kingsley, Dods, Flynn, Fulton, Sibbald, Murdoch, Taylor, Haworth, Leahy.
Subs: Bowman, Smith, Turnbull, Dale Fulton, McGrandles, Small, Rowan, Tyler Fulton, Dick, Faulds, White.
Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan, Mears, Ream, Eagles, Andrews, Petrov, Knight, Kevin Davies, Mark Davies, Ricketts, Lee.
Subs: Lonergan, Wylde, Riley, Cisse, Eaves, Alonso, Pratley, Vela, O’Halloran, Blakeman.
Referee: Craig Charleston.
Asst Referees: Brian McGarry & Joseph Lawson
Attendance: 1,358 (161 Bolton)
Report by Lewis Connolly
*14 seconds on the clock and Luke Leahy congratulates scorer Lyle Taylor
*Andy Haworth gives Lee problems
*Almost a second as Lyle Taylor glances a header in but it's ruled offside
*Kieran Duffie drives inches wide
*Luke Leahy comes in for some special attention
*'Battle of the Giants' - Darren Dods beats Kevin Davies to a header
*Substitutions Galore on the hour mark
*Conor McGrandles in action
*Andy Lonergan just beats Jordan White to the ball
*Lewis Small heads for goal