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Taking confidence from last week’s late show to preserve an unbeaten start, FAL welcomed Gordonians to Linlithgow. The pitch was in perfect condition despite the constant downpour.
The game started at a frantic pace with the visitors applying a high press and trying to suffocate any build up play from the Falkirk defence. However, it was FAL who had the first chance of the game. Matthew Craig burst through the visiting defence and found himself one on one with the ‘keeper. The onrushing keeper managed to get a stick to the ball to snuff out the threat. It was the turn of the visitors to test the FAL rearguard with a series of short corners that were well saved and cleared by the FAL defence, including a lovely clearance off the line from Dougie Nicol. FAL nearly took the lead when a ball from midfield found Matthew Craig in the D, a lovely deft touch took the ball past the keeper but sadly saw the effort creep past the post. A few more short corners from Gordonians were kept out of the goal to maintain the deadlock before the umpire blew for time at the end of the 2nd quarter.
The start of the 3rd quarter saw FAL pressing higher up the pitch and trying to retain the ball in the visitor’s half. A speculative lifted ball found its way through the home defence and left the striker through on goal, David Connell rushed to the top of the D and slid in to prevent the striker getting a shot away. The visitors opened the scoring 5 minutes into the 3rd quarter and had a touch of fortune about it. A short corner was fizzed out by the injector and the resulting drag flick took a touch off a FAL defenders stick and through the legs of Connell, who had already committed to saving the initial shot. Such a cruel goal to concede when the team had defended so well throughout the match. The 2nd goal of the game soon arrived, again it was for the visitors. A diagonal ball was played into the D for the Gordonians striker, who managed to slide and connect with his stick, diverting the ball past the home keeper.
The break after the 3rd quarter gave Murray Paton some time to give some encouragement to the team. This led to FAL taking control to the 4thquarter and creating some good chances. Euan Cochrane drew a foul in the D and won a short corner, the resulting PC was saved by the keeper and another foul led to another opportunity for FAL to halve the deficit. This time Cammy Scott took the ball round the first runner but found his shot saved by the keeper. Cammy had another chance soon after when he dribbled past his marker and hit a powerful reverse stick shot to the near post. Again, the visiting keeper was up to the task. Murray Paton then drove up the baseline and cut it back for Stuart McNeill but his deflected effort went over the bar. Chris Lawson outpaced the Gordonians left back and pulled the ball across the front of the goal, the ball was begging to be put away but unfortunately evaded everyone in the middle.
It speaks volumes that the team came off at the end disappointed with the performance and result against a top 4 team. However, the effort and work rate were top notch yet again. Next week will see the visit of Strathclyde University, a game in which FAL will hope to get back to winning ways.