Taylor At The Double - Report & Pics Now Posted
Hats were dusted down, scarves dug out of cupboards and lucky mascots located as fans made their way to The Falkirk Stadium for the first of the competitive football action as the new season finally got underway. Falkirk welcomed visitors Stirling Albion as the Bairns began the defence of their Ramsdens Cup trophy.
Stirling almost stunned the hosts after only 7 seconds when the kick-off was launched immediately forward looking for the run of Bradley Coyne, the ball went over the head of Stephen Kinglsey in the home defence which afforded the Albion man the chance to register the first shot on target of the game, bringing a good save from Michael McGovern in goal.
The Bairns went on to have a few half chances over the next ten minutes but it was the Binos that had the next real chance and they were unlucky not to take the lead after 12 minutes when Mark Ferry produced a fine header from a Gavin MacPherson corner only for his own colleague Graham Weir to accidentally block the goalbound effort.
Falkirk then went on the offensive and forced four attacks in a row without reply, although a well-marshalled Albion rearguard restricted the home side to long range efforts that Filler dealt with comfortably. Falkirk were gifted an opening after 24 minutes when a slack pass by ex-Bairn Brian Allison was intercepted by Craig Sibbald, the youngster drove forward and fired in a 25 yard effort which unfortunately sailed over the bar.
Lyle Taylor was then booked for dissent on the half hour mark after initially being penalised for a tussle with Gary Thom as the two contested for the ball. Five minutes later Weir collected a cross-field pass, controlled first time and jinked past Darren Dods only to be denied by good covering play and an excellent block from Jonny Flynn. This finally sparked Falkirk into life and they burst down the park and broke the deadlock after 35 minutes. A fine pass from Jay Fulton picked out the run of KIERAN DUFFIE into the box and the youngster pivoted 360 degrees to lose his marker before firing past Filler from 13 yards.
Falkirk then almost extended their lead just minutes later as Duffie’s cross-field pass found Luke Leahy in the box and he directed his header back across goal to the inrushing Taylor and only the intervention of Allison denied the Bairns a second.
HALF TIME: FALKIRK 1 STIRLING ALBION 0
Six minutes after the restart Falkirk were not to be denied though as they took control of the game by doubling their advantage. LYLE TAYLOR cut in from the left channel and drove past three men in a run that ultimately took him parallel with the goal two yards outside the box and the young Englishman fired back past Filler and into the bottom corner of the net.
With 56 mins on the clock Falkirk wrapped up the contest as they made it 3-0. Andy Haworth swung in the corner which Filler came for but the visiting goalkeeper could only produce a weak punch and the loose ball fell to LYLE TAYLOR 9 yards out and he powerfully fired the ball home through a ruck of players. This was the cue for Greig McDonald’s men to make the first personnel change of the day as Gavin MacPherson was brought off to be replaced by Scott Davidson after 58 mins.
A fourth was almost added by Falkirk in style as Sibbald, Fulton and Haworth combined to send the latter advancing towards the Albion central defence, the tricky attacker dribbled past McDonald and Allison and chipped a shot past the advancing Filler only to see the ball go a yard wide of goal. The Bairns followed it up with further chances for Leahy, Murdoch, Sibbald, Taylor and Haworth as Albion heads dropped.
Gary Brass was then introduced for the Binos at the expense of Graham Weir as the away team looked for a consolation goal. Falkirk’s response was to introduce some fresh legs in the form of Jordan White and Dale Fulton after 78 minutes, replacing Luke Leahy and Jay Fulton respectively, but not before they had nearly added another goal courtesy of a Flynn header bulleted at Filler from a Hayworth corner.
Gary Thom then became the second name in referee McKendrick’s book for a foul on Sibbald and after 84 minutes Sibbald was replaced by the oncoming Liam Dick as Falkirk made their final substitution of the encounter. Jamie Clark replaced Jamie McCunnie for the Binos moments later in the final change of the day.
Overall an entertaining game and an important confidence building victory over a spirited Albion team.
FULL TIME: FALKIRK 3 STIRLING ALBION 0
Falkirk: McGovern, Duffie, Kingsley, Dods, Flynn, J. Fulton, Sibbald, Murdoch, Taylor, Haworth, Leahy. Subs: Smith, Dick (84 Sibbald), D. Fulton (78 Jay Fulton), White (78 Leahy), Bowman (GK).
Stirling Albion: Filler, Thom, Ashe, McCunnie, Allison, McDonald, McSorley, MacPherson, Weir, Coyne, Ferry. Subs: Davidson (59 MacPherson), McCulloch, Brass (74 Weir), Clarke (86 McCunnie), Peat (GK).
Referee: John McKendrick
Asst. Referees: Michael Banks & Alan Frame.
Pics to follow later
Report by Lewis Connolly
*Great early save from Michael McGovern
*Darren Dods challenges Graham Weir
*Andy Haworth takes on Danny Ashe
*Lyle Taylor shares some dialogue with Referee McKendrick
*GOAL - Kieran Duffie rifles home the first
*Handshake for the scorer
*Stewart Murdoch beats Graham Weir to the ball
*Former Bairn Brian Allison outjumps Lyle Taylor
*GOAL ! Lyle Taylor's low drive makes it two
*Arms aloft !
*GOAL - Lyle Taylor (hidden) blasts home number three
*Luke Leahy shares a joke with the hitman
*Andy Haworth clips wide after a great run
*Brian Allison blocks another Taylor effort
*Lyle Taylor 'Man Of The Match' at rainy Falkirk