Monday verdict: Falkirk on the brink of drop after Alloa loss

The threat of relegation has been hovering over Falkirk all season and this desperately poor defeat was a further body blow to their survival hopes.

After three successive draws to Partick Thistle, Inverness Caley and Queen of the South, this was the game fans hoped would finally see them take a step closer to safety, and put a little bit of daylight between themselves and the teams around them. Instead, it has left them clinging on to their Championship status by their fingertips.

The Bairns are on a cliff edge staring into the abyss. Out of all the teams fighting it out in the battle to avoid the drop, they look to have the toughest run-in. They have a derby against Dunfermline on Saturday – and how the Pars would love to twist the knife further – before they host Morton, again you don’t have to look far for the friction there. A trip to Tannadice against second-placed Dundee United awaits before entertaining leaders Ross County on the final day.

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Of course, the league could be done and dusted by then and United might rest players for the play-offs, while the County players’ minds might be on the beach, but the way things are going the Bairns they will probably need to win both.

Bairns trudge off the park after disappointing defeat to Alloa (picture: Michael Gillen)Bairns trudge off the park after disappointing defeat to Alloa (picture: Michael Gillen)
Bairns trudge off the park after disappointing defeat to Alloa (picture: Michael Gillen)

Certainly, that was the view of defender Jordan McGhee after Saturday’s game. In fact, he went further and said they will probably need to win all four remaining fixtures. However, the performance didn’t instil much confidence in that being an achievable target unless they dramatically improve.

In truth, if you don’t beat Alloa in either home game then you really don’t deserve to stay up. The performance apart from the first ten minutes of the second half was underwhelming. They controlled large spells but they appeared to have no real idea of how to break Alloa down.

The Bairns played right into the hands of their opponents, all too often hopeful diagonals were launched into the box, meat and drink for experienced campaigners Scott Taggart and Andy Graham. On the rare occasion Falkirk did breach the defence, goalkeeper Parry was there to make the save, pushing away Rudden’s glancing header in the first half – the best chance the Bairns had in the opening 45.

Alloa scored with their first sight of goal on 38 minutes when Dario Zanatta - who had looked threatening all game – drilled the ball low into the corner. The Bairns exploded into the life in the second half and within a minute of the restart they were level. It was a great ball across from Demi Petravicius into the path of Rudden who had a tap-in finish. He almost scored a carbon copy of the goal moments later this time substitute Aaron Jarvis played the ball across but Rudden was denied by Parry. This was more like it but in truth after the brief surge, the reaction fizzled out.

The Bairns huffed and puffed but to no avail, and the sucker punch arrived in the final minutes when substitute Jordan Kirkpatrick netted the crucial winner.