Falkirk 3 GHA 45
GHA arrived at Home park determined to put recent disappointments behind them. The home side also assembled fully intent in finally putting winning points on the board for the first time this season. Falkirk members feel that the loss of almost twenty first team players has seriously affected morale in the club. Both sides went through a rigorous series of drills and plays in their lengthy preparation. The pitch was in excellent condition and although soft underfoot was perfectly capable of taking a stud. An overcast dull day greeted the players and supporters. Michael Fox and Scott Plumridge were in attendance to add their support for the visitors. Kirill Chernick was listed in the GHA replacements , another player stepping up from the Leitch /Biggin under eighteen stable.
The visitors kicked off and a long diagonal kick by Andrew Goudie was safely collected by Ewan Rooney and dispatched into touch at the ten metre line. During the opening few minutes GHA were intent in taking the ball into contact before releasing the back line. Adam Kerr and David Corbenici made significant yardage into the Falkirk half before being hauled down. Ross Findlay made a great break which caused panic in the home defence. However the move was ended by the award of a penalty to the home side. Fionn Coll’s attempted clearance was gathered by Cameron KIng who ran the ball straight back at Falkirk penetrating deep into the home half. Scott Carson carried the move even deeper into the Falkirk half and as the home defence were forced on the back foot, James Sutherland exploited a gap to go under the posts. Andrew Goudie converted and the score after just under four minutes was : FALKIRK 0 GHA 7.
Falkirk regrouped and took the game to the visitors , the home side were looking to break through in the centre but were repelled by strong tackling. For several minutes both sides tried to find an advantage but both defences stopped any ingress. As we moved towards the fifteenth minute there was an excellent break in mid field from Seitaro Usuda aided and abetted by Ross Angus. This drive again forced the home side onto the back foot. A penalty was awarded to GHA and Andrew Goudie kept the pressure on with a deft kick down the line to touch. The resulting line out was deemed not straight and the momentum from the previous play dissipated. GHA won the scrum and although now enjoying a lot of possession the final pass to score eluded the visitors. A promising break by the trio of Kerr, Angus and Corbenici came to nothing as play was stopped to award a penalty to the visitors just inside the Falkirk twenty two metre area.
GHA chose a scrum but lost possession as a penalty was awarded to Falkirk. Calum Rennie gathered the ball from the penalty and made good yardage however Cameron King gathered the ball and sent it deep into the Falkirk half. As Ewan Rooney attempted to move the ball he was accidentally injured in contact. We had reached the twentieth minute and there was considerable concern from all present as young Ewan lay prone on the pitch instantly attended to by Falkirk officials and assistant referees. Ewan has just recovered from severe back damage and there was real concern for his welfare. Ewan was stretchered from the field and I am pleased to record that Matt Dodd President of Falkirk assures me that Ewan is recovering from his injury. I know all at Braidholm wish this young man a full and speedy recovery. A strange atmosphere settled on the remainder of the first half. It seemed that both sides who had been competing well in all phases of the match suddenly seemed to lose momentum and direction. GHA found themselves defending on their five metre line after a series of drives by the home side had pierced a hole in the visitors defence. A penalty was awarded to Falkirk as they looked to move the ball to the wing where they had a possible overlap. The home side successfully kicked for goal and the score after just over twenty three minutes was : FALKIRK 3 GHA 7.
Suddenly Falkirk seemed to find their momentum as GHA struggled to regain their own composure. Falkirk tried hard to break through the visiting defence but effective tackling and good follow up work in the loose allowed GHA to regain possession at critical times. However as GHA attempted to move the ball play was brought back to award the home side a penalty at halfway. Fionn Coll took play from his resulting kick up to well inside the GHA half. Falkirk won the lineout and began to move the ball menacingly towards the GHA try line. Desperate defence on the five metre line seemed to be successful when Andrew Goudie put in a huge clearance kick from behind his own posts only for play to be stopped to award a penalty to Falkirk for an infringement. Falkirk attempted to run the penalty but point blank defence from the visitors stopped the attempt to score. A Falkirk knock on resulted in a scrum on the five metre line as the home support urged their side on. There was a calm assurance about the GHA side who seemed to realise this was a pivotal moment in the match. Falkirk in their haste to win ball gave away a penalty to the visitors to the audible groans from the home support.Andrew Goudie put in a very accurate kick to take play up to the half way mark and relieve the pressure on the home side as we headed towards the interval. Once again the game was stopped as the lineout was declared not straight. GHA won the scrum with a powerful drive over the ball and immediately sent Ben Addison crashing through the turning Falkirk defence. Ben’s speed made him difficult to halt and as contact was made inside the Falkirk twenty two metre line a deft pass to Sean Murray who had supported Ben’s burst allowed the winger to score. Andrew Goudie with another excellent kick made the score on the thirtieth eight minute: FALKIRK 3 GHA 14. This was the score at half time.
It had been a stop start first half with a number of line outs and scrums being not straight or reset. Both sides had been awarded penalties all of which made it difficult for both sides to maintain momentum. The unfortunate injury to Ewan Rooney and the subsequent ten minute break had perhaps affected the rhythm of both sides. There were moments of good rugby displayed especially by the visitors but neither side seemed able to maintain their momentum.
The second half began with a spirited attempt by Falkirk to establish some dominance in the match. This attempt was matched by a GHA side who had seen in the first half the success of running the ball at the Falkirk defence. Falkirk were awarded a penalty and a long kick by Fionn Coll took play from half way up to the GHA twenty two metre line. In this first five minute period Falkirk put pressure on the GHA defence but promising incursions were stopped by resolute tackling and spilled passes. Both sides attempted to attack and play was stopped on the tenth minute to award a penalty to Falkirk for handling in the loose and Fionn Coll drove play with a good touch kick back to the GHA twenty two metre line. As we moved towards the tenth minute GHA survived a dangerous thrust by the home side and Andrew Goudie worked a good clearance to touch. This had become a feature of the match…when Falkirk mounted attacks and sought to penetrate calm and effective defensive work had cleared the danger for GHA this was to continue in the rest of the match.The visiting side were combining forwards and backs to force play into their opponents half. There was a greater cohesiveness about the GHA play in the second half and it was having a damaging effect on the home side’s morale as time after time they were forced back.As we moved towards the quarter hour Andrew Goudie broke from good work from the forwards and with superb feints and twists bore a hole straight through the startled home defence. As he was finally closed down inside the five metre area a beautifully timed pass to the ever present James Sutherland allowed him to go over to the acclaim of the visiting support. Andrew Goudie just missed with the conversion attempt and after sixteen minutes the score was : FALKIRK 3 GHA 19.
GHA now began to move the ball with purpose and only brave defence prevented Ben Addison from scoring again as he took a pass just inside the Falkirk half. Falkirk gamely tried to break GHA control and a thumping tackle by Scott Carson stopped a break out by Connor Faulds. However GHA continued to move into the Falkirk half with the visiting forwards winning quality ball in the loose. In the twenty fifth minute Ben Addison used his scorching pace to take out the defensive cover as with James Sutherland in support he shot over the line to score. Andrew Goudie converted which made the score: FALKIRK 3 GHA 26.
Falkirk were now struggling to hold an increasingly confident GHA side and as we moved into the last ten minutes of the match Liam Cook popped up a lovely pass to his team mates who moved the ball wide with Falkirk in disarray for Andrew Spowart to score. As a long kick by Andrew Goudie came back off the crossbar on the wrong side the score was now: FALKIRK 3 GHA 31.
GHA regained possession from the restart and again a combination of backs and forwards carried the match into the Falkirk half.Andrew Gillman and Liam Cook made an incisive break towards the Falkirk twenty two metre area and as the ball was passed out Ross Angus stole through to score. Andrew Goudie converted from a very difficult angle and the score with minutes to go was: FALKIRK 3 GHA 38.
Tony Brogan gathered from the restart and made an excellent break before feeding James Sutherland who had appeared on his shoulder who scored after a clever dummy which threw the Falkirk defence totally. Andrew Goudie converted to make the final score; FALKIRK 3 GHA 45.
GHA finished this match with considerable momentum. They had overcome the stop start nature of the match and indeed had increased their workrate and cohesiveness to produce some good rugby in the second half.
FALKIRK: E.ROONEY C.RENNIE M.HALL C.LAWSON T.FLEMING F.SYME F.COLL j.McKENNA S.GOVAN G.SIMPSON R.DENNY S.McGLYNN A.MCNAB R.HOWIE S.McCULLOCH – REPLACEMENTS: A..GILLESPIE M.McSPADDEN G.KIRK C.FAULDS G.RAMSAY.
SCORERS: P – TBC
GHA: C. A.SPOWART B.ADDISON R.FINDLAY S.MURRAY A.GOUDIE J.PRESTON S.CARSON S.USUDA M.SCOTT A.KERR A.BARNETT R.ANGUS J.SUTHERLAND D.CORBENICI – REPLACEMENTS: K.CHERNICK T.BROGAN J.McCARTHY A.GILLMAN L.COOK
SCORERS: T – SUTHERLAND (3), ADDISON, ANGUS, MURRAY, SPOWART C – GOUDIE (5)
Referee: Mr B. Lategan