Falkirk hosted local rivals Stenhousemuir last Sunday, in their first League One fixture since the league split. With only two points separating the two teams going into this fixture, tensions were high, and a win was important for both teams wishing to be promoted at the end of the season.

Unfortunately for Falkirk, Stenhousemuir had the better of them in the first half. In the first five minutes, a Falkirk player committed a foul on the Stenhousemuir player in the box, giving the upper hand to Stenhousemuir who were awarded a penalty.

Due to an injury, play was stopped for a few minutes allowing both teams more time to prepare. The penalty was taken in the 12th minute and a good finish saw Stenhousemuir take the lead, with Templeton scoring for the opposition.

The first half remained in the hands of Stenny, with Falkirk being denied any chances to make moves forward. Despite this, Falkirk also did well as a team to dismiss any further attacks from Stenhousemuir. Falkirk did have one big chance in the first half, where Suzanne Wyatt played a great ball through to Kirsty Gilbert. Gilbert found Mhari Smith from outside the box, whose shot unfortunately narrowly missed the goal and instead went to the left of the post.

Injury time in the first half saw two chances for Falkirk as two free kicks were awarded. Both free kicks were given as a result of fouls outside the box, however takers Lauren Shaw and Ellie Roberts saw their shots barely go over the post. The half time whistle was blown, with the visitors having the advantage at the break.

The second half saw much more determination and power from Falkirk, with every player showing a desire to win the match. Both teams created chances within the first fifteen minutes, all of which were either denied by the defence or saved by either keeper.

Stenhousemuir got another goal in the 59th minute. Falkirk goalkeeper Rachel Pirie had saved the initial shot, but was not able to completely catch the ball as it slipped from her hands and into the possession of Stenhousemuir’s Maguire. Despite the best attempts of the Falkirk defenders, Stenhousemuir were able to double their advantage.

Falkirk made a substitution after the goal, with Teri-Louise Deegan coming off for Lauren Simmons. There were no worries for Falkirk either, as only minutes later Wyatt found herself with the ball again. Wyatt found Eva Rule in the middle, who took her shot towards the bottom right of the net, winning one back for Falkirk as the Stenhousemuir keeper was unable to save her shot.

It only took two more minutes for Falkirk to bring things back level and really put the pressure on Stenhousemuir, as once again Wyatt found herself assisting with a Falkirk goal. This time the scorer was Vicky Wood, who only had the Stenhousemuir defender to get past. Wood sent the ball directly past them, smashing it into the back of the goals.

Falkirk were not shy of keeping the pressure on, as Stenhousemuir struggled to create more chances for themselves as the minutes ticked by. Falkirk made their second substitution in the 83rd minute, with Suzanne Wyatt coming off for Avril Johnstone. It would be five minutes later that Falkirk began the celebrations.

In spectacular style, Kirsty Gilbert won Falkirk the lead as she chipped the ball right over the keeper’s head and watched as the ball rolled into the net, once again showing her ability to finish in an outstanding manner. Stenhousemuir were unable to find another goal, as Falkirk brought on Megan Black for Bryony Ross. After seven minutes of additional time due to injury, the full time whistle was blown, with Falkirk taking victory.

This win saw Falkirk take back second place in the league, putting them right back in the promotion spot. This Sunday Falkirk will be away to St. Mirren at Mossedge Village, where the girls will continue their promotion campaign!

LINE-UP: Rachel Pirie, Ellie Roberts, Lauren Shaw, Aimee Leanthen, Bryony Ross (sub Megan Black), Vicky Wood, Teri-Louise Deegan (sub Lauren Simmons), Mhari Smith, Eva Rule, Suzanne Wyatt (sub Avril Johnstone), Kirsty Gilbert.

UNUSED SUBS: Sarah-Louise Waugh, Ellie Murray.

By Lois Smillie

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