Falkirk 2 - 1 Ross County (Challenge Cup)

Sunday, November 7th, 2004, 3:00 PM at McDiarmid Park
Attendance: 7,471
Referee: Kenny Clark
Falkirk v Ross County, Nov 7th 2004, McDiarmid Park
Falkirk Ross County 

Goalscorers
Neil Scally (70)
Darryl Duffy (75)
David Winters (56)

Starting Eleven
Allan Ferguson
Andy Lawrie
Craig McPherson
Scott MacKenzie
Mark Campbell
Kevin James
John O'Neil
David Nicholls
Andy Thomson
Russell Latapy
Darryl Duffy
Stuart Garden
John Robertson
Jim Lauchlan
Martin Canning
Charlie Adam
Jamie McCunnie
John Rankin
Mark McCulloch
Don Cowie
David Winters
Sean Higgins

Bench
Pedro Moutinho
Neil Scally
Daniel McBreen
Kieran McAnespie
Darren Hill
Colin Stewart
Stuart Malcolm
Sean Kilgannon
Gary McSwegan
Steven McGarry

Substitutions
Neil Scally for John O'Neil (25)
Pedro Moutinho for David Nicholls (50)
Daniel McBreen for Andy Thomson (72)
Sean Kilgannon for Charlie Adam (60)
Steven McGarry for Sean Higgins (66)
Stuart Malcolm for David Winters (80)

Bookings
Mark Campbell None.

Red Cards
None. None.

Appearances & Goals To Date
Stuart Garden (GK) 19 apps -
John Robertson 15 apps -
Jim Lauchlan 37 apps2 goals
Martin Canning 86 apps6 goals
Charlie Adam 12 apps2 goals
Jamie McCunnie 59 apps -
John Rankin 55 apps7 goals
Mark McCulloch 108 apps4 goals
Don Cowie 111 apps7 goals
David Winters 66 apps22 goals
Sean Higgins 55 apps11 goals
Stuart Malcolm (sub) 39 apps -
Sean Kilgannon (sub) 13 apps -
Steven McGarry (sub) 87 apps11 goals

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Charlie Adam (18 years 337 days)
Oldest Player:Stuart Garden (32 years 279 days)
Average Player Age:24 years 132 days

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:Charlie Adam (18 years 337 days)
Oldest Player:Gary McSwegan (34 years 53 days)
Average Player Age:25 years 23 days

First Team Debuts

Milestones

Falkirk may have won the Bell's Challenge Cup at McDiarmid Park, but runners-up Ross County left Perth with their heads held high following an impressive display.

For 65 minutes, County were in total control but two goals in five minutes from Falkirk swung the match in the Brockville side's favour.

David Winters had put the Dingwall side in front but goals from Neil Scally and Darryl Duffy secured the trophy for Falkirk.

Despite the defeat, County manager Alex Smith lavished praise on his players following their performance.

Smith said: "While I congratulate Falkirk on their victory I feel we deserved to lift the trophy. We played some great football and had opportunities to score a second goal when we were 1-0 up. When it was 1-1 and when we were trying to get back into the game at 2-1 down.

"My players are absolutely shattered at having lost. I'm so proud of them for having given their all for the club and represented Ross County with pride in a cup final."

The Bairns had started brightly with Russell Latapy at the heart of all John Hughes's side's attacking play but County's game plan of pressurising the ball at every opportunity seemed to knock Falkirk out of their stride.

It was the Dingwall side which created the opening opportunity of the game with Martin Canning heading Charlie Adam's corner wide.

Bairns boss Hughes's gamble of starting John O'Neil backfired in the 25th minute when the midfielder had to go off, to be replaced by Scally.

O'Neil had been suffering from a virus all week and clearly was not at 100%.

County's 4-4-2 formation was giving them an advantage against the Bairns midfield three but defender Mark Campbell strode forward, beating two County players before unleashing a scorching drive from fully 30 yards that County keeper Stuart Gordon did well to push round the post at full stretch.

County made the deserved breakthrough, with eleven minutes of the second period gone.

MacPherson's free kick went straight to John Rankin, the midfielder's 40 yard pass left striker David Winters in the clear on the halfway line.

The former Dundee United striker held off the challenge of Scott Scott MacKenzie to loft the ball past the helpless Ferguson and into the net from 14 yards to spark celebrations among the 2,300 County fans.

County almost doubled their advantage minutes later. Winters sending Sean Kilgannon in the clear but the winger's attempted lob drifted over the bar.

That missed opportunity was to prove crucial as the Bairns drew level with a goal out of the blue in the 70th minute.

There appeared little danger when Duffy squared the ball to Neil Scally 25 yards out, but the substitute curled the ball high into the net past keeper Stuart Garden.

Withing five minutes Falkirk had a second goal. Russell Latapy's ball from the right was hit on the run by Darryl Duffy. The striker's effort was deflected onto the post but the falkirk hitman knocked the rebound into the net.

In a frantic finale, County tried to hit back and Sean Kilgannon was unlucky to see his bullet header cleared of the line by McPherson. County manager Alex Smith withdrew David Winters with substitute Stuart Malcolm in an effort to take the match into extra-time.

Programme cover / Team sheet