The match – played at Alloa’s Recreation Park because a new pitch is being laid at the Falkirk Stadium – was a similarly even contest to the 2-1 Challenge Cup tie at Broadwood last weekend.
Clyde were tremendously hard to break down and even controlled parts of the game in the opposing half. It wasn’t until the 60th minute introduction of Blair Alston that the favourites started to assert their dominance.
“We told them at half-time, teams aren’t going to just show up and let you play,” said Falkirk manager Gary Holt. “We had to stop complicating matters and get back to what we do: two- and three-touch passing, move the ball quicker.
“Blair [Alston] has got great enthusiasm. I’ve said to him that a player of his talent should be scoring goals. He’s got an aim in his head that he wants to reach and it’s good he was able to make an impression.”
It wasn’t just the opening goal which set the young midfielder apart. Within seconds of coming on there was a greater urgency in their defensive play and crispness to the passing that had previously been lacking.
After an even start, Falkirk looked to be controlling the slow-burner when out of nowhere Gavin Brown should have given the underdogs the lead, the full-back hitting the post after being set up by a terrific Kieran McDonald run. It started a period of dominance for the away side that lasted until the second half.
Clyde never made the pressure count and were made to rue their wastefulness when Alston curled a 22-yard free-kick around the wall and into the far corner.
Six minutes later, Philip Roberts settled the tie. The striker stayed cool to touch the ball away from the closing defenders and pass into the far corner from eight yards. The former Inverness attacker then laid on for Thomas Grant to tack on the exclamation point.
“There was nothing in the game for 75 minutes,” lamented Clyde boss Jim Duffy. “We created the better chances, but obviously it is about what you do in the penalty box.”