A LATE smash and grab was enough to ensure Raith Rovers ended a sequence of four consecutive losses with a win over Falkirk, who failed to take the chance to move joint fourth and can have nobody to blame but themselves.
Those inside the Falkirk Stadium looking for a timely festive break from endless showings of Frozen and the associated caterwauling not only had to sit in plummeting temperatures not unlike those of Arendelle, but found two teams serving up a dish as appealing at times as a third-day helping of reheated sprouts.
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It wasn’t so much that the first half was devoid of incident or chances, more a case of what was there for discussion or note stemmed from errors.
Raith striker Calum Elliot took centre stage in the opening 20 minutes with penalty appeals at both ends, referee Andrew Dallas possibly managing to get both calls completely wrong.
The former Hearts man looked to be barged over by Peter Grant as he ran on to a Barrie Mackay pass, then minutes later he seemed to use his arm to block Alex Cooper’s drive with his limb in a high and unnatural position.
Falkirk were always the better team, with Blair Alston and Rory Loy again the more productive players on show. The former stung the palms of David McGurn in the visitors’ goal midway through the half with a drive from a narrow angle.
This sparked a brief purple patch for the Bairns where only poor finishing and the reflexes of McGurn kept them at bay. The keeper made a tremendous block from Loy then got off the hook when Alston pushed the rebound wide.
Rovers, with new director of football Maurice Malpas looking on, offered little as an attacking force, but could have gone in ahead at the break had Ross Callachan’s deflected drive bobbled inside the woodwork rather than striking the post flush and bouncing to safety.
It was more of the same when play reconvened as Falkirk passed the ball around yet never really got in behind the Rovers defence.
Eventually the Kirkcaldy men played their way into the game with Elliot and Ryan Conroy coming very close before Conroy broke the stalemate and won the points with a tap-in from Rory McKeown’s centre.
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