Well, that was more like it! Before the game, I tweeted that we needed a performance that was worthy of the black and white - something we have not seen nearly enough of this season. Today, for at least an hour of this game, we got it. In a 4-3-3 formation with one change from last week - Myles Hippolyte replacing Faissal El Bakhtaoui - we overcame the shock of an early Falkirk goal to equalise quickly and dominate the game. Not only in terms of possession, which we have done several times, but also in the way we put pressure on the opposition, playing with an intensity, drive and determination, while also finishing off the good play with goals. There could easily have been more - this could have been 8 or 9 and the scoreline flatters a Falkirk side who were very poor and seemed demoralised by the level of performance that we produced, mixed in with their own ineptitude.
The Falkirk goal, from Joe McKee, was soon cancelled out by Myles Hippolyte, scoring his sixth of the season, which moves him to the top of the Pars' scoring chart. Hippolyte showed strength and skill to make space for his shot that gave Falkirk keeper David Mitchell no chance.
Spreading the responsibility for goalscoring amongst the whole team has been one of Allan Johnston's mantras and today the midfield made a huge contribution. The 4-3-3 formation is by far the most effective way to utilise Joe Thomson, Tom Beadling and James Vincent together without playing any of them out of position. Beadling scored twice, with a 17th minute finish from a Kallum Higginbotham cross and then a 51st minute strike after great work by Higgy. James Vincent was a strong contender for man of the match - his goal was a thing of beauty, smashing a shot across Rogers into the corner of the net to make the score 4-1 in front of a delirious Pars support. For me, Joe Thomson was the pick of the trio - what energy he has, coupled with a fantastic attitude - and ability.
Falkirk's second goal did not spark any type of fightback and although the game fizzled out in the final quarter, the job was more than done by a rampant Pars side who showed exactly what they are capable of, from the kick-off following Falkirk's opener, to the scoring of our fourth. This is the standard they have to maintain. On this form, this is a team capable of climbing this division, for there is nothing to fear when they perform as they did today: hunting down the opposition in packs of 3, pressing, winning challenges, and allowing the more creative players to flourish in a flexible formation that brings out the best of the players selected.
Well done to the players and the manager for getting it exactly right today.
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