Falkirk ran out 2-0 winners over League 1 rivals Montrose in the first match since the lower leagues were curtailed last year.
The first goal was scored by Mark Durnan as he managed to score from a corner taken by Blair Alston, and the match would be decided when Callumn Morrison doubled the advantage with a strike from a counter-attack in the dying minutes.
After the match manager Lee Miller said: “Just to get back playing football was brilliant.
“We have had two weeks to get the boys up to speed and I thought they were a credit to themselves today – the fitness, determination, drive and passion was all there, even without the crowd.
“It was a wee bit feisty at times today, but Montrose brought that because they are a really good side which will take a lot of points off of teams, and we had to be at our best today to break things up.”
After the game Montrose assistant manager Ross Campbell described The Bairns as their ‘bogey team’ and it showed, as Falkirk had only lost one of their last eight encounters against their third-placed rivals.
Falkirk started the brighter of the two as the midfield of Gomis, Alston and Leitch linked up nicely to set up chances for centre-forward Aiden Keena, who made his first league start.
It was Falkirk who would eventually take the lead however as in the fifteenth minute as Alston fired in a corner which would meet the head of Gary Miller resulting in a ricochet off the post, straight into the path of Mark Durnan who headed home.
Until this point it was the home side asking all of the questions, however Durnan’s goal seemed to inspire the visitors to push on and take hold of the game.
Most of the opportunities created by Montrose were crosses administered by the full-backs Cammy Ballantyne and Andrew Steeves, however they could not find anyone on the end of them and resulted in only half chances at most for the visitors.
This would be the story of the half as the teams headed in for the break with the game poised at 1-0.
The second half started as the first ended by all accounts as the visitors continued plugging away at Falkirk – however the same problem remained that Durnan and Hall for Falkirk continuously batted away all of the crosses that were presented to them.
The game then descended into niggly fouls which didn’t allow for either team to get a hold of the match.
As Montrose seemed to tire from their intense pressing game plan, Stewart Petrie decided on a triple sub twenty minutes into the half which completely changed the flow of the game. After the change, Montrose couldn’t seem to find their rhythm again as Falkirk grew into the game themselves.
The home side capitalised on Montrose pushing for the equaliser as they attempted to hit them on the counter – substitutes Anton Dowds and Charlie Telfer looked impressive in the closing minutes of the game as they combined with Morrison to fire in dangerous crosses and cause Montrose problems.
The pressure from The Bairns would soon be rewarded as Anton Dowds controlled a long pass and he set free Morrison down the right, he scurried towards goal and blasted the ball past Lennox in the goal to seal the win.
FALKIRK: Mutch, Miller, Hall, Durnan, Dixon, Gomis, Alston, Leitch, Fotheringham, Morrison, Keena
Subs: Cantley, Miller, Francis, Sammon, Telfer, McClelland, Dowds, Neilson, Deveney
MONTROSE: Lennox, Ballantyne, Steeves, Mochrie, Waddell, Dillon, Webster, Masson, McLean, Milne, Ballantyne
Subs: Quinn, Watson, Cochrane, Callaghan, Johnston, Hawke, Rennie, Campbell, Fleming