Dunfermline fielded several first team fringe players in today's SPFL Reserve League game at Falkirk but went down to a 2-1 defeat. There were several positional changes, all in attack, during the game (as listed later in this article). At times it seemed that the switches were being taken to extremes - for example, Robbie Muirhead played in 3 different positions and had a total of 5 switches between those roles throughout the course of the game, moving to and from both wings and as a central striker. Kallum Higginbotham continued his recovery from injury but Lewis Martin (who, like Higgy, made a first start after injury in last week's reserve game against Motherwell) was not in the squad.
Falkirk came closest to taking an early lead when a Tommy Robson shot was saved by Pars keeper Cammy Gill after 7 minutes. In the 16th minute, Falkirk striker Marcus Haber hit the post. The opening goal came 10 minutes later when Stuart Morrison fouled his opponent in the box. Joe McKee sent Cammy Gill the wrong way from the spot.
Ryan Williamson then had a good run up the wing that resulted in a corner after the Falkirk defence cleared his cross. The game was scrappy with the Pars midfield struggling to make much of an impression.
Half time: Falkirk 1, Pars 0.
The second half was barely a minute old when Cammy Gill made a good reaction save to prevent Falkirk doubling their lead. Tom Beadling, who failed to impress throughout the game, was booked for dissent after the referee did not award a foul for a challenge on Beadling just outside the Falkirk penalty box. Soon after , Beadling blasted a shot well over the bar.
Falkirk then hit the post with an O'Hara header after 58 minutes; their reserve team was a much more cohesive unit than their first team. They went 2-0 ahead after 83 minutes when Dennon Lewis finished after some slack play in the Pars defence.
With 5 minutes remaining, Myles Hippolyte took a pass from Robbie Muirhead and scored to cut the deficit to 1 goal. The Pars pressed for an equaliser but were unable to threaten the Falkirk goal again.
On the basis of this performance, Ryan Williamson should be in contention for a first team return on Saturday. Of the younger players, Paul Allan did well at left back. The midfield duo of Beadling and Thomson didn't do enough to make a serious claim for a first team place against Dundee United. Kallum Higginbotham is still regaining fitness, while Robbie Muirhead still needs to do much more to expect a first team start. Myles Hippolyte was the pick of the Pars attack and took his goal well.
Full time: Falkirk 2, Pars 1.
The Pars wingers interchanged positions several times during the game. Striker Lewis McCann remained up front throughout but was partnered by 3 different players, who in turn also switched wings for various periods of time. These are all the switches; I did not record the duration of each change but they are actual changes and not merely players taking up a position and moving back seconds later:
Higginbotham - from right wing to front 2; Robbie Muirhead, who started the game as a striker, moved to right wing.
Higginbotham moved back to right wing; Muirhead back into attack.
Muirhead moved to left wing; Myles Hippolyte moved to attack.
Higginbotham: right wing to left wing; Muirhead in turn moved from left to right.
After Brandon Luke replaced Kallum Higginbotham (on the left wing), he was moved to the right wing five minutes later; Muirhead then moved from right to left.