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COME & SEE THE KELPIES; Housty wants home tie after seeing off the Irish.

Byline: Sligo ............ . 1 Falkirk....................2 Seamus O'Lafferty

Peter Houston hopes to show Northern Irish or Welsh rivals the Kelpies after his Bairns claimed a long-awaited win in the Emerald Isle.

First-half goals from Nathan Austin and James Craigen were enough for Falkirk to see off slippery Sligo in a rain-lashed match at the Showgrounds.

The Scots took around 80 fans for the far-flung domestic trip and Houston hopes to play the host when the third round draw is made on Tuesday.

He said: "Why don't the Northern Irish or Welsh teams come to Falkirk next time - we have the Kelpies after all!

"If the draw means it's back over here so be it, we have tough games, but maybe it'd be better if we got a home tie.

"I've brought the team to Ireland for pre-season in the past and I'm over here regularly. You always get tough games.

"This was just a case of getting the win and now trying to go to Brechin for another to kickstart the league season.

"We haven't defended well recently but you couldn't say that about us tonight. It was difficult with the wind but we defended well."

The Bairns have struggled in the Championship since a flying start in the Betfred Cup but Houston hailed the small band of fans who braved the weather to back their side.

He said: "The fans we brought over were fantastic and they've enjoyed their trip. They sounded like they'd been enjoying themselves all day and sang the whole game - credit to them and safe journey home."

Their trip was made worthwhile just 10 minutes in when Rory Loy robbed the hesitant Seamus Sharkey at the back and teed up Austin for a straightforward tap-in.

But the Sligo defender atoned for his mistake eight minutes later by leaping brilliantly to power a Regan Donelon corner past Robbie Thomson.

Bairns kept pressing and were soon back in the lead when Aaron Muirhead sent a clever pass through the middle to Craigen and he thundered in from the edge of the box.

The Bairns had been caught napping after the opener but were alert to Sligo's early advances in the second half, though Rhys McCabe went close with an audacious effort from his own half that Thomson had to tip over.

The keeper was called upon again late on to deny Chris Kenny and Kyle Callan as Bairns held on for an overdue win.

CAPTION(S):

FIRING BACK Craigen parties after hitting the crucial second

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Sep 3, 2017
Words:417
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