CHAM­PI­ONSHIP

Falkirk Mor­ton

Sunday Herald - - 19.03.17 SPORT -

THOSE in charge of the pre-match tunes at the Falkirk Sta­dium did their bit to set the scene with a med­ley of mu­sic from fa­mous movie sound­tracks, and what fol­lowed could have been scripted in Tin­sel­town.

Kudus Oyenuga, the luck­less Mor­ton striker who has bat­tled a per­sis­tent ham­string strain this sea­son, climbed from the bench to score his first goal in four months. On his birth­day.

It was a wel­come dra­matic late twist in a con­test that did not ex­actly serve up block­buster fare, en­sur­ing the Greenock out­fit moved level on points with the Bairns in sec­ond spot in the Cham­pi­onship.

In­deed, they are only seven points be­hind Hiber­nian, with a game in hand and two fix­tures against the cap­i­tal club in the next three weeks. Do the dark horses in the race for pro­mo­tion dare to dream of a ti­tle tri­umph wor­thy of the sil­ver screen?

“Kudus has had a tough time with in­jury and you are al­ways de­lighted when they can come back and make a key con­tri­bu­tion,” said Mor­ton boss Jim Duffy.

“It was his birth­day too, he’s just turned 24. It was the ideal day for him. We are just happy to be chal­leng­ing at the right end of the ta­ble, but if you start to look to far ahead, that is when you fall flat on your face.”

Mor­ton carved out a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity on the half-hour mark when a de­light­fully worked free-kick saw Ross Forbes slip a re­verse-pass to Gary Oliver, whose chip to the back-post was met by Thomas O’Ware.

How­ever, the pro­lific de­fender could not add to his 10 goals this term, vol­ley­ing over from eight yards. The defin­ing mo­ment of the con­test came with 11 min­utes to play when Oyenuga met an Ai­dan Nes­bitt de­liv­ery to loop home the win­ner.

Falkirk came within a lick of paint of equal­is­ing im­me­di­ately af­ter the restart when Nathan Austin saw a header of his own strike the post. “But you can’t dwell on what might have been, we just need to pre­pare, go to Easter Road and hope­fully start an­other run,” ad­mit­ted Falkirk as­sis­tant James McDonaugh.

HIBER­NIAN were given a timely re­minder that they will not be handed the Cham­pi­onship ti­tle on a plate. Dum­bar­ton are scrap­ping for every point to avoid the drop and forced a 2-2 draw at Easter Road on a day when the three teams be­neath them in the ta­ble all won.

Chris­tian Nade put them ahead from the penalty spot af­ter David Gray had fouled Andy Stir­ling in the penalty area.

Hibs im­proved af­ter the break and Alan Martin pulled off a fine save to deny James Keat­ings just af­ter the break.

An own-goal from Daniel Harvie fi­nally gave Hibs fans some­thing to cheer but Robert Thom­son put Dum­bar­ton back in front with a stun­ning strike shortly after­wards.

Keat­ings should have equalised when Hibs were awarded a dis­puted penalty but Martin leapt across his goal to pushed the ball for a cor­ner. But Martin was at fault with Hibs’ equaliser when he dropped the ball and Martin Boyle scram­bled the loose ball home.

Dundee United con­tin­ued their slide and lost 2-1 at Raith Rovers. The home side who took the lead four min­utes from the break when Craig Barr headed home from a free-kick.

Hardie dou­bled Raith’s ad­van­tage at the start of the sec­ond half when he beat Bell with a left-foot shot. Dundee United pulled a goal back through Simon Mur­ray but it was not enough.

Bot­tom-of-the-ta­ble St Mir­ren won 2-0 at Queen of the South. Queens hit wood­work twice in the first half but it was St Mir­ren who took the lead against the run of play when Ste­vie Mal­lan net­ted with a su­perb strike af­ter be­ing picked out by Lewis Mor­gan.

Rory Loy put them fur­ther in front from the penalty spot af­ter 54 min­utes when Mor­gan was felled and Queens could not find a way back. Ayr United kept ahead of St Mir­ren with a 1-0 win at Dun­fermline Ath­letic.

Dun­fermline dom­i­nated much of the game and Michael Moffat struck the in­side of the post early on. Greg Flem­ing tipped a Moffat shot over the cross­bar at the start of the sec­ond half as Dun­fermline con­tin­ued to press. But Ayr scored the only goal mo­ments later when a Ross Docherty header crept into the net in a crowded area from a cor­ner-kick.

“We’re de­lighted to get the three points, es­pe­cially as sev­eral of the play­ers are ei­ther ill or not fit,” said United man­ager Ian McCall.

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