Falkirk 1 - 1 Partick Thistle: Decisions, decisions for Willie Collum
WITH Ross County fast disappearing over the horizon in the race for the Division One promotion spot, there was a nagging suspicion that this encounter could turn into an indecently early meaningless game.
There is nothing, though, like a few contentious refereeing decisions to liven up any potentially listless 90 minutes and Willie Collum duly stepped up to the plate with a couple of contested penalty awards for each side and a debatable sending off to get everyone worked up.
In the end a share of the points only further cemented County’s unassailable-looking lead at the top, but Falkirk could at least take some solace from the manner in which they dug in after Kieran Duffie’s dismissal just before the hour mark, whilst Thistle were left ruing an outstanding performance from home goalkeeper Michael McGovern as they pressed hard to secure victory.
Bairns manager Steven Pressley knew full well what the consequences might be if he gave a candid exposition on Mr Collum’s performance so he opted for a measured appraisal. “I’d have to see their penalty again but I thought there was simulation there. As for the red card for Kieran – it’s a type of tackle that’s been debated since the start of the season. It happens at speed. By the letter of the law it might be a sending-off, but we’re taking applying common sense out of the referee’s hands.”
Certainly Pressley was several degrees removed from the raging home supporters who gave Collum a blistering reception as he left the field.
But as the debate carried on as they left the ground it perhaps obscured the fact that both sides had served up the sort of uneven performance that invariably arises when there was such a heavy reliance on youth in both starting XIs.
The visitors had the better of the opening 45 minutes, and they took the lead right on the cusp of half-time when Paul Cairney conjured up a wonderful dipping shot from all of 30 yards that deceived almost everyone by dropping into the net.
A greater sense of purpose on Falkirk’s part and a spate of controversial interventions by Collum spiced up matters after the break. The home side were quickly back on level terms after Aaron Sinclair’s handball in the box led to a penalty which Mark Millar empathically blasted into the net.
There wasn’t much dispute about that one but when the red card was shown to Duffie for a poor but less than malign challenge on Chris Erskine the veins of more than a few Bairns fans were bulging fearfully. Their blood pressure soared even further when Collum awarded Thistle a soft penalty after Cairney tumbled over under Rhys Bennett’s challenge – justice of sorts was done when McGovern palmed away the Partick winger’s spot kick.
The visitors tried hard to make the most of their numerical advantage and McGovern’s status as man of the match and guardian of Falkirk’s unbeaten home record was confirmed by a series of splendid stops to maintain parity.
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Monday 20 May 2013
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