Match Report v Falkirk
Great Result On The Weekend
The small intrepid band of supporters, parents and committee from Stewart’s Melville, who had traveled more in hope than expectation, had trouble maintaining a douce Edinburgh exterior when the full time whistle eventually blew at the somewhat incongruously named Sunnyside in Falkirk on Saturday.
Falkirk were gracious in defeat, recognising that, although their team really should have escaped with at least a draw after the last 15 minutes of constant pressure, they were even-handed enough to admire the tenacity and skill of their visitors.
Falkirk were caught early in their own ‘22’ trying to exit a well-judged up and under and from their hasty clearance kick Jamie Ferguson backed himself to score in the corner. Stewart’s Melville, in the early stages, looked threatening with Morrison and Hannay asking questions in the midfield. The play was certainly in marked contrast to the lack of threat in the last league game against Dundee a month ago. Our backs enjoyed the wide – open spaces that the Sunnyside pitch affords. The forwards, with Gareth taking his turn at carrying, were combative in the loose.
Andrew Warnock will not need reminded that he sliced an early penalty attempt from directly in front and it was disappointing that for all our early superiority Falkirk scored a kick and chase try that was converted from wide out. A slap on the back of Seb’s head from our ex-team mate, Rennie, meant Falkirk was reduced to fourteen men, in the aftermath of the try.
Another straightforward penalty was ensued, as Andrew seemed to stab at the ball rather than follow through, but Andrew redeemed himself with clever feet, following a break up the right by Murchie, to score. Sean poses a threat every time he has ball in hand and our aim in attack should be to involve him as much as we can. The conversion, from the touchline by Morrison, sailed through the sticks.
Falkirk chose not to re-introduce Rennie immediately, perhaps sensing any more shenanigans would result in a different colour of card. Falkirk narrowed the gap but before half-time Hannay, not for the first time, shrugged a couple of tackles and found Finn Hobbis with a clear run to the line. Urged on by the support he just made it and unfortunately, Morrison after sinking the previous kick touchline conversion missed the straightforward conversion. (It’s a bit like putting – no pressure on the edge of the green ones but the three footers…..)
Falkirk’s scrum had the measure of ours and our try-line defence was terrific but, on the stroke of half-time the floodgates opened and Falkirk levelled things up.
Half time Falkirk 17 Stewart’s Melville 17
There was a feeling amongst the home support that Falkirk after drawing level, through their powerful scrum, would now kick on but Stewart’s Melville were not done and Warnock, not for the first time, slipped his man put on his ‘Hoggy’ dancing feet and cut through. Wary of our conversion success rate he continued dancing over the line to touch down level with the right hand upright. Even then, it wasn’t dead centre under the posts …………… but Morrison made no mistake.
The line-out, which has worked well all season started to miss fire. Craig Willis was pinged on a few occasions for squint throw. In fairness, there didn’t seem too much in it, apart from one – and that was squint! Some refs offer a bit of leeway when the jump is uncontested. In previous seasons, when the line out has gone wrong, we have gone Brewster at 2 for a couple of line outs until everyone is confident again.
Falkirk cut the deficit with a penalty and lost another to the ‘bin’ as things started to get heated. We chose the penalty kick as we continued to press, in spite of the extra man, and lo and behold Morrison slotted it.
Ten minutes plus injury time to go and we lost Jamie Hodgson with a yellow. In fairness we were conceding penalty after penalty and Jamie’s was a team offence. Falkirk had a kickable penalty but the tension was getting to them too and it drifted wide. Falkirk seemed to have scored as the minutes dragged by but the referee ruled held up. Conor and John came on and steadied the scrum and Jamie made us quorate once again. Falkirk spun it wide but good defence forced them into the wonder off-load which, thankfully for us, never came.
Next week, Aberdeen, who apparently rested one or two on Saturday knowing that Accies would be too much for them and that the Stewart’s Melville game is the big one. Falkirk has Howe and Hamilton, our bedfellows in the relegation dogfight, before Christmas so let’s hope Falkirk bounce back!
Finally, the team looks like they enjoy each other’s company and are playing like a team, and, when things are going wrong the shoulders don’t drop but rather the chests get puffed out… Long may it continue!
Full Time Falkirk 20 Stewart’s Melville 27