Falkirk 2

DUNFERMLINE outfought and outclassed rivals Falkirk to end the year on a high with a resounding win.

The scoreline flattered the hosts who were on the backfoot for the majoirty of the game as the away side lay siege to their goal at the Falkirk Stadium.

The excellent display from the Pars players on the field matched the travelling support, with 1,463 fans packing out the away stand.

They were in fine voice before kick-off and unveiled the club's letters in an impressive banner display, superior to the effort from their counterparts in the stand opposite.

It was the Bairns fans who were on their feet first though, as Allan Johnston's men fell behind in just 95 seconds.

Captain Lee Ashcroft sliced a clearance into the air and once Dennon Lewis had knocked it down for Zak Rudden, midfielder Scott McKee had found space in the box.

He received the striker's flick on the edge of the area and rolled the ball into the net past Lee Robinson from six yards.

It was the nightmare after Christmas for the Pars and as they had lost eight games from nine after falling behind in the league this season, signs of a comeback looked bleak.

However, Myles Hippolyte ignored that statistic and raced clear through on goal with 13 minutes on the clock.

Tom Beadling won his aerial duel with Patrick Brough and his header over the backline found Hippolyte bearing down on the Falkirk box.

The chance looked to be squandered as he was held up by Scott Harrison, but the forward moved the ball out of his feet and after taking two deflections, his strike rolled into the net.

The ex-Bairn silenced his former employers who were then left stunned once more as Beadling made his mark on the game four minutes later.

Kallum Higginbotham's free-kick was glanced towards the back post by Ashcroft where the midfielder was alert to reach out with his right leg to make it two.

Few would have anticipated the away side winning 2-1 at half-time after the opening goal, but the early goal seemed to be detrimental to Falkirk.

They struggled to create any threats and it seemed McKee's goal was the only song they had in their playlist.

Even in the opening exchanges of the second half they looked bereft of ideas, and when Beadling grabbed his brace on 51 minutes, the players in dark blue looked deflated.

Higginbotham and Jackson Longridge worked the ball well down the left flank with the latter releasing the winger into the box.

He waited patiently and found an unmarked Beadling who sidefooted home through the legs of Mitchell for his second of the afternoon.

"Where's the marking?," is the question that probably left the lips of Ray McKinnon as his side fell further behind.

A buoyant Pars smelled blood and as they passed the ball around with ease, it wasn't a case of if, but when would they add a fourth.

James Vincent had the answer to that question.

Aidan Keena played the midfielder in and from the edge of the six-yard box, he rifled a low drive past the Falkirk stopper on 67 mins for his first league goal of the season.

That was the cue for swarms of home fans to head for the exits; they had seen enough, and who could blame them after watching their side fall apart in such a manner.

Those who did leave missed the beginning of a brief rally as Scott Harrison reduced matters for them on 74 minutes after a corner from the right-hand side.

He evaded an attempted block from Beadling and found the roof of the net from 14 yards which neither Robinson nor Joe Thomson on the line could stop.

That would be the end of the scoring in a match that the Pars dominated.

Harrison's late goal may have taken a bit of gloss off the scoreline, but with three points on the board and four goals from three different scorers, it was a great finish to 2018 for Dunfermline.

The result means they are now just three points off the promotion play-offs heading into the New Year with Alloa the first side to arrive at East End Park in 2019 next Saturday.

Pars: Robinson, Craigen, Devine, Ashcroft, Longridge, Beadling (Muirhead 78), Thomson, Vincent, Higginbotham, Keena (El Bakhtaoui 71), Hippolyte (M.Martin 86).

Subs not used: Gill, Williamson, L.Martin, Durnan, Muirhead.

Falkirk: Mitchell, Robson, Harrison, Brough (Dunne 72), McGhee, Muirhead, Sammut (Irving 53), McKee, Buaben (Jarvis 87), Lewis, Rudden.

Booked: Sammut, McKee

Subs not used: Fasan, Dallison, Haber, Russell, Jarvis.

Referee: Colin Steven

Attendance: 5786 (Pars fans: 1463)