Falkirk 1 - 0 Dumbarton: Persistence pays for Bairns

It was a case of sheer persistence overcoming dogged resistance as an 86th-minute goal from substitute Lee Miller gave Falkirk their keenly awaited first victory of the campaign after what had threatened to be another frustrating afternoon for Peter Houston's side. Dumbarton just ran out of legs after previously repelling everything the Bairns had thrown at them, but on pressure, possession and chances created the final outcome could hardly be quibbled about, cruel though it was on the part-timers.

Lee Miller celebrates scoring Falkirk's winner. Picture: Michael Gillen

A stuttering start to the season may have been a delayed reaction to the deep disappointment of missing out on promotion in their play-off showdown with Kilmarnock last term, but if the Bairns were to put themselves back in the mix again it was vital that they did not lose further ground.

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In the circumstances it was perhaps unsurprising that they opened this game in tentative fashion, taking time to assume the upper hand in what was a low-key opening 45 minutes. Highlights were two astounding reflex saves from Dumbarton goalkeeper Alan Martin. The first saw him brilliantly parry away a close-range effort from John Baird and then his subsequent clawing away of a glancing header from Miles Hippolyte was no less breathtaking.

After the interval however Falkirk turned up the heat, using the width of the pitch. Luke Leahy hit the bar with a flashing header, whilst a ferocious shot from Mark Kerr was bravely deflected beyond the target by Mark Docherty’s head. The Sons were more or less encamped in their own half. With the clock counting down the hosts managed to dramatically score as Leahy’s angled drive was calmly turned into the net by Miller from close range.