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Falkirk 1 - 2 Aberdeen

HT Score: Falkirk 0 - 1 Aberdeen

Falkirk scorers: Holden 66
Aberdeen scorers: Dempsey 16, Foster 61.

03/03/2007 | KO: 15:00

Dons hang on for vital three points.

It wasn't pretty and the Dons were nowhere near the top of their form, but they battled hard and went back up the road with the three points to keep the pressure on Rangers and Hearts. Aberdeen had built up a two-goal lead against the run of play when Dempsey opened the scoring in the 16th minute and Foster added a second in the 61st minute. Falkirk pulled one back five minutes later and apart from a Mackie chance they had to defend in depth to keep the home side out. The referee then added an extra five minutes of extra time but despite a late claim for a Falkirk penalty the Dons held on for a vital win

Aberdeen kicked off but it was the home side that threatened first, winning a corner in the 2nd minute. The set play was wasted as Moutinho impeded Langfield as the ball was delivered. Two minutes later the Dons defence were caught square and Finnegan attempted to chip Langfield but fortunately the ball ended up on the roof of the net. Falkirk were dominating the opening spell as the Dons struggled to get going but the home side were almost caught out in the 9th minute when a long ball from Langfield found Lovell and Schmeichel came out and clattered the striker, earning a yellow card for his troubles.

The free kick was wasted when the ball was rolled to Severin and he sliced the ball well over the top. At the other end Gow was penalised when he turned well at the edge of the box and fired in a low shot. Lovell was finally able to return to play before Finnigan threatened again and fired over the Dons bar. A poor header by Considine in the 14th minute gifted Falkirk their second corner and Aberdeen broke quickly but failed to produce a final ball. Aberdeen went close in the 15th minute when Mackie's pace caught the defenders cold and his shot was deflected for the Dons first corner.

A second followed quickly and Considine won the ball in the air allowing Dempsey to sweep the ball past Schmeichel from the edge of the box to give Aberdeen the lead against the run of play. Falkirk were shaken by the goal before Gow threatened in the 22nd minute but he stumbled before he could get his shot away. Two minutes later Finnigan had a chance but headed wide then Langfield fisted a corner away as the home side looked for an equaliser. At the other end Aberdeen won a corner but the Danish keeper gathered the ball comfortably.

In the 32nd minute Mackie was clattered in the middle of the park and became the second Dons player forced off for treatment. Aberdeen were enjoying more possession now but they were still happy to give Falkirk the ball and hit them in the break using the pace of Mackie and Lovell up front. The game was now bogged down in the middle of the park and peppered with several reckless challenges. Five minutes before the break Falkirk won a free kick on the edge of the box, but Gow fired a poor effort straight into the defensive wall.

A break by Aberdeen three minutes later ended with a fresh air shot from Darren Mackie. Falkirk ended the half strongly and deep in injury time the Dons defence had to throw bodies in front of the ball to concede a late corner. The corner came to nothing but a rash challenge by Lovell conceded a late free kick and Langfield was forced to punch the ball clear to maintain the Dons lead at the interval.

Jimmy Calderwood made a tactical change at the interval as goal scorer Gary Dempsey was replaced by Jamie Smith and the team reverted to a 4-3-3 formation. Falkirk threatened first in the 47th minute when Holden controlled a Latapy free kick with the use of his arm before Mackie cleared. Another poor challenge in the 50th minute, this time from Moutinho forced Anderson off for treatment. After a long delay Aberdeen moved forward with Lovell making a good run down the left only to find little support in the middle. Seven minutes later Nicholson was the victim of a late challenge by O'Donnell, which once again went unpunished. Falkirk were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box after 58 minutes when Gow was brought down. Once again the home side wasted the chance when Gow himself fired his shot straight at the wall. Aberdeen then broke forward for the first time in the 61st minute and added a second goal. Good play from substitute Jamie Smith set up the chance and Mackie crossed the ball across the six yard box to find Foster who slotted the ball into the Falkirk net.

A minute later Lovell went close with an effort before Latapy wasted another Falkirk free kick in the 63rd minute. Three minutes later Falkirk pulled a deserved goal back when Holden took a good first touch and fired the ball into the top corner of the net. Calderwood immediately made a change with Craig Brewster replacing Lovell as the Dons looked to hang on to their lead. Latapy was starting to weave his magic in the middle of the park as the home side continued to dominate the game. Brewster released Smith in the 73rd minute and he was unlucky not to find Mackie deep in the Falkirk penalty area.

With 76 minutes gone Considine was the next Dons player to pick up a knock and he was unable to continue and had to be replaced by Diamond. This meant that all three players who had returned from injury this week were now on the park. Mackie should have sealed the game in the 79th minute when good work from Brewster put Mackie one-on-one with Schmeichel, but the Danish keeper made a fine block. O'Donnell finally received a yellow card in the 81st minute for his umpteenth rash challenge. Latapy went close in the 86th minute before Foster deflected the effort wide.

The referee found an extra five minutes of injury time and the irony was not lost on the red army after they were handed only two minutes in their last match against Celtic despite several stoppages. Falkirk won a corner in the 2nd minute of injury time but Langfield claimed the ball and at the other end Brewster set up Smith but the midfielder looked rusty and lost out. Falkirk then won a free kick thirty yards out in the final minute and Schmeichel came up for the set play. Aberdeen broke quickly but with the keeper scurrying back Nicholson was fouled. In the closing seconds Falkirk appealed for a penalty, but referee Brines was unimpressed and blew the whistle to end the game.

Falkirk Teamsheet
Schmeichel, Thomson, Finnigan, Ross, Holden, Gow, Uras, O'Donnell, Milne, Moutinho, Latapy (Robertson 86). Unused Subs: Lambers, Allison, Craig, Lima, Twaddle, Arfield.

Bookings:  Schmeichel 8,   O'Donnell 80
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Langfield, Considine (Diamond 77), Hart, Severin, Anderson, Foster, Nicholson, Dempsey (Smith 46), Lovell (Brewster 67), Mackie, Clark.

Unused Subs: Soutar, Touzani, Miller, Smith.

Bookings:  Clark (69),  Nicholson (79),  Brewster (81).
Attendance: 5,825
Venue: Falkirk Stadium, Falkirk
Referee: Iain Brines, Erskine
Next Match
10 Jul 2024 / 19:00 / Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead