Falkirk 1 Kilmarnock 1

Last updated : 03 January 2009 By Footymad Previewer
Both sides had to settle for an unsatisfactory point in a furore at Falkirk.

The Bairns dominated the early exchanges and went ahead through a neat Steve Lovell finish, but Kilmarnock will feel that they deserved more than a single point for their second-half display.

Both sides were forced to do without influential players due to suspension with Falkirk losing the battle of Darren Barr and Killie missing keeper Alan Combe.

Kilmarnock manager Jim Jefferies also had to without the injured pair of Danny Invincibile and Mehdi Taouil from their excellent performance at Easter Road.

The rejigged side took a while to gel and it was the Bairns who dominated the first half hour.

For all their possession, they looked powder puff in attack and it took 25 minutes to force replacement keeper Damien Rascle into a save from a Michael Higdon volley which the Frenchman took easily.

Killie then came to life and created three chances in a four minute burst.

The first chance was the best as David Fernandez stole the ball from Arnau Riera and drove on goal.

He slipped it to Willie Gibson on the left, but the winger's shot went wide of the far post.

Alan Russell then passed up two chances as his header lacked power, before a poor first touch after more good Fernandez foraging allowed Robert Olejnik the chance to block his shot.

Falkirk took the half-time lead with a lucky goal in the 41st minute.

Kevin McBride seemed to have misread Lovell's darting run into the box until the ball deflected off Grant Murray's heel straight to the striker, who deftly lifted the ball past Rascle.

Referee Iain Brines tried to let the game flow and allowed a series of hefty tackles, but the players then took things too far and the second half threatened to disintegrate into a brawl with tackles turning dangerous and tempers frayed which brought a rash of bookings.

Kilmarnock equalised with a bolt from the blue in the 63rd minute.

The home fans were screaming for a free-kick in the middle of the park but play swept forward with Gibson, who crossed early and Fernandez stooped to conquer, flicking a back header in at the far corner.

Both side refused to settle for a draw and Killie almost went ahead in the 80th minute.

Grant Murray broke forward and found substitute Donovan Simmonds at the far post.

He tried to direct the ball into the far corner, but saw the ball smash the crossbar. It fell to Fernandez, but his shot was blocked by a defender.

It was the visitors who finished the match the stronger but were guilty of wasting good dead ball situations with Gibson particularly at fault.