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Championship roundup: Falkirk tighten title race

Falkirks Conor McGrandles tries to chest the ball down as Jamie Stevenson looks on. Picture: SNS

Falkirks Conor McGrandles tries to chest the ball down as Jamie Stevenson looks on. Picture: SNS

  • by CRAIG P STEWART
 

Most of the attention in the Championship was due to be at Dens Park where league leaders Dundee were due to host second-placed Hamilton before a flooded pitch saw the game called off 90 minutes before kick-off.

Falkirk made the title chase an even tighter three-horse race by defeating Cowdenbeath 2-0 at Central Park and moved to within two points of Hamilton and three of the Dark Blues.

Kane Hemmings had a couple of openings for the Blue Brazil and Blair Alston had a similar number for the visitors in the first half. Greg Stewart brought out a fine save from Michael McGovern as Cowdenbeath looked to break the deadlock at the start of the second half, however it was Falkirk who made the breakthrough on 54 minutes.

Rory Loy’s corner fell into the path of Mark Millar and he shot home from 20 yards out.

It was 2-0 within two minutes as Loy held off his marker before sending a low shot home from the edge of the box to secure the Bairns’ third away win in a row.

Falkirk manager Gary Holt said: “With Dundee and Hamilton not playing we knew that we had a chance to make up ground on them. We have done that but we had to be patient and the players deserved the win for working hard right throughout the game.”

Disappointed home manager Jimmy Nicholl said: “We simply have to start winning our home games as that is six in a row that we have lost. We created chances but we have to take them.”

Dumbarton now head a posse of five clubs within two points of each other in the race for a top-four place. While Alloa manager Paul Hartley’s resignation made the headlines after his side’s meeting with the Sons, Ian Murray’s side produced a fine display to bring Hartley’s reign to an end with a 5-1 hammering at Recreation Park.

Dumbarton started well and after Chris Kane had hit the bar and Scott Linton had gone close, Mark McLaughlin headed home and Chris Turner nodded in to make it 2-0 with 29 minutes gone. After Scott Bain had fouled Chris Kane the on-loan St Johnstone striker made it 3-0 before the break, however Kevin Cawley scored at the second attempt to give Alloa hope.

That hope was gone when Kane made it four goals in three games when he turned in a Mitchel Megginson cross with Jordan Kirkpatrick slotting in from 12 yards to complete a good afternoon’s work.

Queen of the South won consecutively for the first time this season when they defeated Raith Rovers 1-0 at Palmerston.

The game’s decisive moment came on 25 minutes when Derek Lyle created an opening for midfielder Ian McShane six yards out and he shot home with ease.

Raith, who have won only once in seven games, came closest to levelling when Ross Callachan beat Doonhamer goalkeeper Zander Clark with a drive, however the ball came crashing back off the woodwork.

Morton manager Kenny Shiels now has tangible proof of progress at Cappielow as his bottom-of-the table side scored their first goal under his stewardship and grabbed their first win when they triumphed 1-0 away to Livingston.

While the Greenock side lost goalkeeper Nicolas Caraux to concussion after a clash with Mark Burchill with half an hour gone, they won the game in first-half injury time when Garry O’Connor released on-loan Rangers youngster Barrie MacKay, who drilled home a fine shot.

 

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