Falkirk 3 - 2 Queen of the South: Hartley gets off the mark

Falkirk boss Paul Hartley. Picture: SNS
Falkirk boss Paul Hartley. Picture: SNS
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Without a goal in five games, in a dismal sequence stretching back 56 days, Falkirk finally found their scoring touch to deliver manager Paul Hartley his first victory for the club in his tenth game in charge.

Hulking defender Peter Grant was the unlikely source of the breakthrough the Bairns desperately craved before three goals arrived in a remarkable spell as the first-half drew to a close.

Myles Hippolyte, who was later taken off on a stretcher with a serious-looking leg injury, fired in the second, followed by a Louis Longridge strike just a minute later to give Falkirk a three-goal advantage. Stephen Dobbie’s curling free-kick in injury-time then gave an out-of-sorts Queens hope, but it counted for little in the end, despite Jason Kerr’s glancing header in the 90th minute and five nervy minutes of injury-time.

Not only was it Falkirk’s first win of Hartley’s reign, it was just their second of a wretched campaign, and their first at home, and is perfectly timed ahead of Tuesday’s derby against Dunfermline.

“It’s been a long time coming and it’s been a challenging period since we’ve come in, so to finally get that [win] is a sigh of relief, to be honest,” said Hartley, whose side closed to within five points of Dumbarton in eighth, with a game in hand. “We’ve got a tough period coming up, starting with Dunfermline on Tuesday, and we’ve just got to recover as well as we can and be ready for a tough month coming up.

“The aim is just to try to close the gap on the team above us. We’ve made a bit of movement today, but we’ve got to continue that now.”

Grant poked a volley in from Craig Sibbald’s in-swinging corner to give Falkirk a deserved lead that was doubled when Sibbald’s header down from Jordan McGhee’s cross was driven in by Hippolyte. Within seconds, Longridge had burst to the left edge of the area and curled a sumptuous shot into the far corner.

Dobbie concluded an incredible five minutes before the interval with his curling free-kick, but Queens had to wait until the 90th minute before adding the second they sought, with defender Kerr nodding in too late in proceedings to salvage the game.

“The overall feeling is we’ve given Falkirk that game with our inability to defend set plays in the first-half,” said Queen of the South manager Gary Naysmith.