Falkirk 1 - 0 Hearts: Luke Leahy opens account for new club
NEW Falkirk signing Luke Leahy heralded his arrival at the club with the only goal of the game against Hearts.
The former Rugby Town player, who put pen to paper on a two-year deal earlier this week, tapped in a shot from close range in the 52nd minute following a first half that saw the hosts survive a series of missed chances from the SPL side.
In a disappointing night for the Tynecastle outfit, captain Marius Zaliukas limped off near the end with an apparent injury.
The friendly passed an afternoon pitch inspection and the surface seemed in remarkably good condition despite a day of incessant rain.
The visit of Hearts was Falkirk’s first home pre-season outing following a trip to the north of Scotland to lock horns with Highland League teams.
Bairns manager Steven Pressley included new signings Leahy and Lyle Taylor although the pair were still classed as trialists on the team sheet.
Hearts skipper Zaliukas was restored after missing the weekend’s win at Raith Rovers through illness, while brothers Ryan and Dylan McGowan ensured it was a family affair in the starting XI.
It was the elder of the two siblings Ryan that was involved in the visitors’ first opening inside two minutes.
The Australian exchanged short passes with Callum Paterson at the corner of the box before sliding a low cross towards David Templeton but the winger drove a first time effort over the bar.
The first division side were lauded for their attractive playing style last term and the slippery surface suited the hosts’ intricate passing style during the early exchanges.
But while Falkirk looked easy on the eye, Hearts caused problems when they ventured forward.
Dylan McGowan fed John Sutton in space in the box but a partial block from goalkeeper Michael McGovern and clearance off the line by defender Chris Smith kept the marksman out.
The Scottish Cup winners maintained the pressure, with Mehdi Taouil cutting inside before curling a tame left-footed shot at McGovern.
As the tempo of the game dropped, so did the frequency of the chances.
Hearts, however, still continued to look most likely to break the deadlock. A piercing run from Templeton took the fleet-footed player into the box but his low prod was blocked by McGovern.
The Northern Ireland cap then smothered a skidding Dylan McGowan half-volley from 20-yards at the second attempt.
A flowing move from the away side culminated in Taouil floating a weighted pass to Walker and the midfielder struck a powerful first time half-volley straight into the arms of the keeper.
After riding their luck in the first period, Falkirk went ahead seven minutes after the restart when new signings Leahy and Taylor combined.
Former Bournemouth striker Taylor beat the offside trap to meet Leahy’s pass and then crossed for his team-mate to slot into the unguarded net from close range.
Hearts came close to levelling just three minutes later but Templeton pulled his low 18-yard shot just wide after meeting Sutton’s knock down.
Goalscorer Leahy troubled Hearts again with a left-footed in-swinging delivery but Ridgers made a good save as the ball bounced off the wet surface.
Hearts substitute Scott Robinson then stung the hands of McGovern with a ferocious drive from distance, with the goalkeeper happy to palm the ball over his bar.
Arvydas Novikovas and Callum Paterson had further efforts saved as the Tynecastle outfit failed to avoid defeat.
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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