Scottish Premiership - Play-offs - 1st Leg
Falkirk1Kilmarnock0

Falkirk 1-0 Kilmarnock

Will Vaulks scores for Falkirk against Kilmarnock
Will Vaulks (far left) gave Falkirk a narrow advantage in the tie

Will Vaulks scored in stoppage time as Falkirk delivered another late show to take a lead into the second leg of the Premiership play-off final against Kilmarnock.

The top-flight side spurned several chances, with Tope Obadeyi missing an open goal. Kris Boyd also should have taken a clear opportunity.

Falkirk, who finished second in the Championship, were short of their best.

They saved their best to the end with Vaulks drilling past Jamie MacDonald.

Kilmarnock had been adamant that they would be a forceful presence. The away dressing room reverberated to loud, uplifting music before kick-off, while the players ended their warm-up with a team huddle in front of the away fans.

Manager Lee Clark would have calculated that emotion had to carry a bearing in the game, and he ensured his players were fired up for the occasion.

That sharpened intent was initially intimidating to Falkirk, who spent the opening spell defending in their own half.

Falkirk goalkeeper Danny Rogers kept Kilmarnock at bay with a string of saves
Falkirk goalkeeper Danny Rogers kept Kilmarnock at bay with a string of saves

Even when the home players were in possession, they were hounded by their opponents.

The result was some scrambled minds, but goalkeeper Danny Rogers was alert enough to react when a Gary Dicker cross was deflected, sending the ball in an arc towards his net. The Falkirk goalkeeper reached up to claw the ball away from underneath the bar.

Kilmarnock's assertiveness renewed their self-confidence. Their play still lacked a cutting edge, though, and that flaw was highlighted as Falkirk eventually rediscovered their poise.

The home side created a handful of chances towards half-time, even though they were all spurned.

Blair Alston could at least point out that he was on the edge of the area when the ball dropped to him, but his effort was tame.

John Baird, too, had an excuse when the MacDonald spilled Bob McHugh's shot, since the rebound flew towards Baird at an awkward height and he had to skew his body to make contact, before sending his effort over the bar.

The game seemed ragged and improvised, but Falkirk had the wherewithal to be precise at times.

Whenever the opportunity arose, Baird or McHugh peeled out between the centre-backs and full-backs, their sprightliness and quick feet taking advantage of some cumbersome defending. McHugh was frustrated when he skipped infield and could only curl his effort wide of the far post.

Exertion alone seemed to bind the two sides together. Quality was not a prominent influence, but sheer bloody mindedness could still be the deciding factor across the two legs.

Instinct as well as training must have left Craig Sibbald stationed in the goal-line at a Kilmarnock corner kick, and he was in the right place to head Boyd's chipped shot away from underneath the bar.

Kilmarnock's Kris Boyd appeals for a penalty from an alleged handball
Kilmarnock's Kris Boyd appeals for a penalty from an alleged handball

Boyd's guile was evident, though, and he lifted a ball over the top of the Falkirk defence to send Obadeyi clear. A heavy touch took him past Rogers but left him at a tight angle, and he could only send the ball into the side-netting with the goal unguarded.

Frustration and tension seemed bound together. As the game rolled back and forth, Boyd could only steer a header straight at Rogers from the back post, while team-mates hollered at him for not sending the ball back into the six-yard box.

The only moment of quick, incisive passing was still to come, though, with Luke Leahy sliding the ball to Sibbald from a quick free-kick routine, and he pulled it back for Vaulks to score.

Line-ups

Falkirk

  • 1Rogers
  • 4Muirhead
  • 44Watson
  • 5McCracken
  • 3Leahy
  • 8AlstonSubstituted forShepherdat 61'minutes
  • 11KerrBooked at 72mins
  • 6Vaulks
  • 10Sibbald
  • 9BairdSubstituted forHippolyteat 78'minutes
  • 19McHugh

Substitutes

  • 7Taiwo
  • 18Miller
  • 22Hippolyte
  • 23Shepherd
  • 28Mehmet
  • 30O'Hara
  • 33Gallacher

Kilmarnock

  • 21MacDonald
  • 14O'Hara
  • 4Addison
  • 18Ashcroft
  • 27Hodson
  • 19Slater
  • 29Dicker
  • 16ObadeyiBooked at 69mins
  • 7McKenzie
  • 23Kiltie
  • 9Boyd

Substitutes

  • 5Findlay
  • 11Higginbotham
  • 13Brennan
  • 26Balatoni
  • 32Taylor
  • 34Whittaker
  • 39Frizzell
Referee:
John Beaton
Attendance:
7,636

Match Stats

Home TeamFalkirkAway TeamKilmarnock
Possession
Home46%
Away54%
Shots
Home13
Away11
Shots on Target
Home6
Away3
Corners
Home7
Away5
Fouls
Home8
Away12

Live Text

Match ends, Falkirk 1, Kilmarnock 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Falkirk 1, Kilmarnock 0.

Goal!

Goal! Falkirk 1, Kilmarnock 0. Will Vaulks (Falkirk) right footed shot from outside the box to the centre of the goal.

Luke Leahy (Falkirk) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Greg Kiltie (Kilmarnock).

Attempt missed. Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

Attempt missed. Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Attempt missed. Robert McHugh (Falkirk) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

Corner, Falkirk. Conceded by Jamie MacDonald.

Attempt saved. Will Vaulks (Falkirk) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Will Vaulks (Falkirk) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Rory McKenzie (Kilmarnock).

Attempt blocked. Will Vaulks (Falkirk) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Corner, Falkirk. Conceded by Mark O'Hara.

Substitution

Substitution, Falkirk. Myles Hippolyte replaces John Baird.

Attempt saved. Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock) header from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Aaron Muirhead.

Foul by Robert McHugh (Falkirk).

Lee Ashcroft (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Booking

Mark Kerr (Falkirk) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Mark Kerr (Falkirk).

Mark O'Hara (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. John Baird (Falkirk) left footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right.

Booking

Tope Obadeyi (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Mark Kerr (Falkirk) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Tope Obadeyi (Kilmarnock).

Foul by Paul Watson (Falkirk).

Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Craig Sibbald (Falkirk) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

Aaron Muirhead (Falkirk) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Craig Slater (Kilmarnock).

Corner, Falkirk. Conceded by Gary Dicker.

Substitution

Substitution, Falkirk. Scott Shepherd replaces Blair Alston.

Attempt missed. Rory McKenzie (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Aaron Muirhead.

Attempt missed. Tope Obadeyi (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right.

Attempt missed. Craig Slater (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Craig Sibbald.

Attempt blocked. Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by David McCracken.

goal

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