Although there was another changed line-up, with starting debutants, any hopes harboured by Dundee that the game might be a less testing affair, given Falkirk’s win-less season so far, were swiftly extinguished as the hosts more than matched Dundee for the first half hour, which saw them edge into the lead.
Given the amount of surface water on the fields around Falkirk, it was no surprise to find a pitch soft underfoot, but the turf remained firm enough. Falkirk kicked off and were soon pressing in the Dundee half. Had their handling been more secure, they might well have taken the lead, but in the
event, it was Dundee who opened the scoring. Calls could be heard from Dundee players urging their team mates to “switch on” and as they started to improve, good ground was made by Geo, before the ball was passed to Fraser. A dummy took him past the Falkirk defence and the move was finished off by Ice, who scooted round behind the posts, leaving Harvey a straightforward conversion. 0-7 after 15 minutes.
There was little action of note for the next ten minutes, with the side evenly sparring. Then Falkirk induced a penalty at a scrum and kicked to touch. From the line out, the ball was driven over the Dundee line, with captain, Stewart McCulloch, claiming the touch down: scrum-half Fionn Call added the extra two points and the scores were level. 7-7 with 25 minutes played.
Falkirk were ahead five minutes latter, when a penalty against Dundee in front of the posts gave Call the chance, which he accepted and the lead was Falkirk’s, 10-7.
Dundee were on the offensive after the kick-off, but losing the ball and a penalty offence prevented any serious pressure on the Falkirk line. Then, after 35 minutes, Andy Dymock was introduced from the bench and the whole Dundee momentum seemed to shift, as they upped the tempo, pressing in the Falkirk 22 until the line was crossed by Ali Mackie, for a try converted by Harvey and Dundee were back ahead, 10-14.
With increased pace, Dundee were back on the attack after the kick-off and a run down the right by Ali Mackie ended with the ball being taken on by Duncan Leese for a try, which was unconverted. 10 – 19, with a minute of the half remaining.
Half-time: Falkirk 10 Dundee 19
A flat first 30 minutes, with both sides swapping mistakes, came to life for Dundee in the final minutes. “Let that set the tone for the second half” was the message in the half-time huddle.
Dundee did indeed begin brightly after the resumption, but lost possession, allowing Falkirk to gain ground. When Dundee were penalised in front of the posts, Call kicked the goal to reduce the leeway and keep Falkirk in touch with 7 minutes of the half gone: 13 -19.
Dundee’s lead was extended almost immediately however, after they won possession after the kick-off. A great burst by Niall Hall took play to near the Falkirk posts and when the ball was shipped right, Kieran Scoular was on hand to take the final pass and score an unconverted try. 9 minutes on the clock and 13 – 24.
Dundee were now moving the ball well and, but for some insecure handling, might have increased their lead before a penalty against Falkirk allowed Dundee to move the ball right, with Neil Herron making ground before passing to Ali Mackie for his second try, converted by Fraser, to stretch the lead. 13 -31 after 56 minutes.
Falkirk enjoyed a spell of pressure and, after spurning a couple of overlap opportunities, they were back on the score sheet after their stand-off, Connor Faulds, darted through for an unconverted try, making the score 18 – 36 with 64 minutes played.
Although their play had improved from the first 30 minutes, some errors were creeping into the Dundee play and good attacking opportunities were being lost with some inaccurate passing and handling and no-side was nearing before Dundee troubled the scoreboard operator again. When Falkirk were penalised in their 22 Ice took the kick quickly and shot through for a try converted by Fraser. 18 – 38, with 2 minutes remaining.
Then, right at the death Dundee added a final try. Back on the attack from the kick off, they spread the ball left, then right, using the width of the pitch before the play was ended with a try by Gavin Hughan and the missed conversion brought the final whistle.
Full-time: Falkirk 18 Dundee 43
A comfortable enough win for Dundee in the end, even if it was Falkirk’s narrowest defeat of the season. There was some comfort to be taken in the team’s performance after the first 30 minutes, with evidence that the pace, width and off-loading, which had been missing in recent weeks, could still be generated.
Tries: I Matacagi (2), A Mackie (2), D Leese, K Scoular, G Hughan
Conversions: H Young (2), F McKay (2)
Dundee Man of the Match: Charles Clark