IRN-BRU First Division Review

Monday 14th January 2013
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Scotland’s most competitive Title chase was at its gripping best again on Saturday as Morton won 1-0 at Falkirk to return to the top of the First Division whilst the bottom two sides defeated their closest challengers.

Allan Moore’s side opened up a three point gap thanks to Martin Hardie’s second half goal, however they were fortunate to reach the break level when Connor McGrandles had a goal disallowed for offside.

Falkirk started the second half brightly and they had further misfortune when Thomas Grant’s free kick was touched onto a post by Derek Gaston and then scrambled clear with the Bairns claiming that the ball had crossed the line.

The goal that took Morton clear came on 64 minutes when Willie Dyer’s free kick was nodded on by Mark McLaughlin and Hardie showed all his experience to steady himself and shoot home from 6 yards.

Moore was delighted that his ploy of doing the opposite of Falkirk boss Steven Pressley had worked as he said: “I went with our most experienced line up whereas Steven went for youth. It paid off but I have to admit we did have a bit of luck especially in the first half when they had a goal disallowed.”

“We drew with Cowdenbeath last week and now Partick have lost to Dumbarton and Airdrie won at Dunfermline. I am delighted to be back top but this league is so tight there will be points dropped by everybody over the coming weeks.”

Pressley, who fielded a side with an average age of 19 and a half said: “We played football in the way I want us to play and the boys handled the experience of the Morton side well. There is a lot to be positive about especially if we can keep these guys together for 3 or 4 years.”

Dunfermline, who topped the table going into Saturday’s fixtures, came unstuck 3-1 at home to an Airdrie United side that also had the accent heavily on youth.

The Diamonds took the lead on three minutes when Ryan Donnelly shot home at the second attempt with Pars supporters rising a minute later to acknowledge the anniversary of the passing of club captain Norrie McCathie 17 years earlier.

The Pars drew level on 13 minutes when Ryan Wallace ignored visiting appeals for a foul by Alex Whittle on Chris O’Neil to slot home the winger’s cross.

Donnelly stunned East End Park a second time by firing his side ahead again just before the hour mark with a shot from 20 yards and Airdrie scored their third with a penalty 7 minutes from time.

Callum Morris was adjudged to have fouled Jamie Bain and Paul Di Giacomo sealed his side’s first win in 10 league games from the spot.

Partick Thistle, who have not won in their last 4 games, lost 2-0 to a Dumbarton side that have had new life breathed into them by the appointment of Ian Murray, although the Jags did suffer from bad luck at the Bet Butler Stadium before half-time.

A header from the Sons’ Alan Lithgow’s header came back off a post to hit Conrad Balatoni and cross the line to give Dumbarton a first half lead.

Bryan Prunty’s far post finish 18 minutes into the second half secured Murray’s third win in his fourth league game in charge.

Livingston moved up to fourth with a 2-1 win over Raith Rovers with Spanish defender Jesus Garcia Tena creating both goals. Ian Russell gave the Lions the lead from a Marc McNulty cross after he had been released by a 60 yard Tena pass and Craig Barr slammed home a Tena cross to grab the three points after Brian Graham had levelled.

Hamilton came from behind to defeat visitors Cowdenbeath 2-1 with Jonathan Page and Stevie May scoring twice in a 4 minute spell in the second half to overturn the Blue Brazil’s lead that came through Kane Hemmings.

Home captain Alex Neil was red-carded before the end with Cowdenbeath player/ manager Colin Cameron, who had already substituted himself, was sent to the stand in the closing stages.

IRN-BRU SFL

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