Falkirk 1 Dunfermline 1

THERE were certainly plenty of fireworks as Athletic managed to hold onto a point in a bad tempered derby game against Falkirk.

The Pars finished with only nine men on the pitch after Callum Higginbotham saw red early in the second half and Declan McManus was ordered off in injury time.

The first sending off changed the game and first half dominance from Dunfermline soon disappeared and they were fortunate to take a point away.

The Pars made three changes to last week’s defeat at Inverness. Shiels, Cardle and McManus were back in the starting eleven while Aird, Splaine and Callum Smith were on the bench.

The first half didn’t provide much in the way of attractive football however Dunfermline never really looked as if they were in danger of a similar defeat to last month’s cup game.

They started brightly and could have broken the deadline just after the 14 minute mark when the first chance of the game came to Cardle who volleyed just over.

Falkirk seemed to react to the chance and Murdoch was called into action after Higginbotham was dispossessed by Louis Longridge and he had to go low to save the effort from the Bairn’s new signing.

Just before the half an hour mark, Dunfermline deservedly went a goal ahead.

Clark found himself just inside the box, facing away from goal when he was brought down by Cieran Dunne.

Craig Thomson pointed to the penalty spot and Callum Higginbotham stepped up and coolly slotted his spot kick past Robbie Thomson.

Two minutes later, Higginbotham was in the referee's book for an overzealous challenge on Louis Longridge.

Sean Murdoch had to show good reactions just before half time to tip over a long range effort over the bar.

Falkirk came out much the brighter after half time and they could have gone ahead three minutes after the re-start when Dunne found himself clear. Murdoch rushed out of his box and managed to clear the ball away.

On the 56 minute mark, Dunfermline were down to ten men after a challenge by Higginbotham in the middle of the park. Referee Craig Thomson showed the player a second yellow card and Athletic were a player down.

Falkirk could have capitalised just minutes later when the ball fell to Cieran Dunne in the box but he put his effort wide.

When Dean Shiels brought Dunne near the edge of the box, the Bairns got their equaliser when Jordan McGhee's free kick seemed to wrong foot Murdoch and landed in the back of the net.

The extra man started to show and the Pars struggled to make any headway towards the Falkirk goal and tempers started to fray.

Joe Cardle was given a yellow on 72 minutes after a wild attempt to get the ball from a Dunfermline corner.

Murdoch kept the Falkirk attack at bay on 79 minutes with a brave block which went out for a corner. This was cleared and Cardle had a rare run down the wing however his diagonal ball to Clark wasn't a problem for Falkirk stopper Thomson.

Declan McManus was next to enter the book several minutes later after a hard tackle on Dunne.

With two minutes left on the clock, Falkirk were on the attack again when Rory Foy scooped a shot over the bar and Dunfermline's woes were compounded in the 92nd minute when McManus received his second yellow for a push.

Falkirk continued to press and nearly got a winner two minutes later after a Falkirk header somehow rebounded off the goalline into the arms of Murdoch.

Dunfermline: Murdoch, Williamson, Morris, Ashcroft, Higginbotham, Wedderburn, McManus, Clark (Aird 80), Cardle (M'Voto 81), Talbot, Shiels.

Subs: Gill, Martin, Splane, Ryan, Smith.

Bookings: Higginbotham, Shiels, Cardle, McManus, Aird, Mvoto.

Red card: Higginbotham, McManus.

Falkirk: Thomson, McGhee (Loy 62), Muirhead, McKee, Kerr, Hippolyte (Austin 81), Longridge, Miller, Balatoni (Craigen 73), Dunne, Watson.

Subs: Mutch, Gasparotto, Harris, O’Hara.

Bookings: McGhee, Muirhead, Loy

Referee: Craig Thomson

Attendance: 5465