Falkirk ended Motherwell's unbeaten run last week, and this week it was their turn to do the same to Caley Thistle with a 1-0 victory at the Falkirk Stadium.
The only goal of the game came in the 35th minute from Gerard Aafjes but it was enough for Falkirk to secure the points and leapfrog ICT in the SPL table on goal difference
|26/12/07||The Falkirk Stadium, Falkirk|
|FALKIRK||1 (Aafjes 35)|
Team: Krul, Ross, Holden, Scobbie, Aafjes, Cregg, Thomson, Arfield (Milne 68), Barrett (57), Moutinho, Higdon (Finnigan 82)
Subs: Olejnik, Mitchell, Allison, Riera
Team: Fraser, Tokely, McGuire, Munro, Hastings, Cowie (Wilson 62), Black, Duncan, Rankin, McBain (Bayne 62), Niculae
Subs: McAllister, Gillespie, Kerr, McCaffrey, Malkowski
ICT's fine winning run came to an end in a tame display at the Falkirk Stadium. While ICT looked very comfortable soaking up Falkirk's pressure in the first half, and hitting on the break, this all changed when the Bairns took the lead 10 minutes before half time. The second half proved to be the opposite of the first, with Falkirk making a good job of defending their lead against a lacklustre ICT side with too many square passes.
A full carload from Lothian & Borders arrived at the Cadgers Brae for the pre-match warm-up: Mantis, Naelifts, Caleystan and Wanderer, plus Stephen the Hibby. Naelifts and Caleystan failed a late fitness test as they were discovered to be outside for a smoke. Mantis suffered a wallet strain, and Wanderer's wallet was sold a dummy by Caleystan who ordered a round and disappeared without paying for it.
ICT were unchanged from Saturday as Brew decided it wasn't broke, so he sure wasn't going to fix it. However there was a bit of a scare when we arrived at the ground to find the players putting Zibi through his paces with no sign of Mikey anywhere.
Craig Thomson got the game underway and both sides seemed to be suffering a reaction from big away wins at the weekend as the match developed into a low-key affair with neither keeper having much to do. However ICT should have taken the lead after about 12 mins when Niculae knocked on a McBain cross only for Rankin to hit the side netting when he could have squared the ball for Cowie. Sadly, this was to set the pattern for wee John's afternoon as he struggled to make a contribution. Meanwhile, Falkirk, despite dominating the midfield, were struggling to make any progress against a confident looking ICT, and often their attacks consisted of Arfield lumping the diagonal ball to the back post, which was easily dealt with by Munro or Fraser. Ian Black was really looking the part in the first half and appeared in most of ICT's creative play, and it looked as though ICT would slowly sap the life out of an unconvincing Bairns side before taking the lead. Niculae wasted another opportunity when he got a McBain pass tangled between his legs with Rankin in space at the far post. Nobody seemed sure whether he was attempting to dummy it or control it. To be fair to Marius, I thought this was one of his better games and for the first time I thought he deserved all those Champions League players around him to read his intentions... Anyway, after the half hour the Guinness and the cold weather took its toll on your correspondent's bladder, and I sauntered off, only to hear a roar, followed by 'Amarillo' being blasted into the toilets at a hellish volume. ***insert description of goal here- that's right, £20 and missed the only goal of the game***
Gerard Aafjes scored with a courageous diving header from a Jack Ross corner
Ten minutes before half time Blackie was booked for blootering the ball into the stand. Despite his protests it was obvious that the ball was well out when he kicked it and Russeldinho had to act as peacemaker as Blackie threatened to repeat his episode of last Christmas at the same venue.
Half Time: 1-0
The second half was largely uneventful, though there were a few scrambles at the far end as ICT chased an equaliser without much conviction. Too many passes. Nice passes mind you, but too many. Falkirk defended their lead very well and had the best chance of the half when Moutinho was through on Fraser, but Mikey is playing so well these days that it was no surprise when he blocked with his legs. Also sub Latapy wheezed into possession and, with about 4 ICT players holding back, tempted McGuire into a silly foul at the edge of the box. Uncharacteristically Latapy screwed the free kick tamely wide.
With half an hour left ICT threw on Wilson and Bayne for Cowie and McBain, but the expected injection of pace from Barry never really happened, and Bayne put himself about as he did on Saturday, but minus the booking and the winning goal. Bayne won a free-kick which Barry took well but it was cleared.
Full Time: 1-0
Overall, ICT were worth a point on the day, but the Bairns took their chance when it came. Bizarre moment of the day came when Rosscoe caught a ball which had gone out of play but spun back in. With the whole of the main stand baying for handball Rosscoe calmly accepted the award of a throw-in and was booed for the rest of the game.
MotM was Ian Black