Football: Caldo rage at his ugly Dons boys.
Mackie 17, Clark 44
ABERDEEN won ugly to stay in the race for a place in the Champions League next season.
Leading 2-0 at the break the Dons struggled to withstand a brave second-half fightback by Falkirk who deserved to salvage at least a point.
This was a game Aberdeen would have lost in the past and shows the progress made under Jimmy Calderwood.
But the Dons boss, unhappy at such an unconvincing performance, said: "It's a new phenomenon being joint-second top in the SPL and we didn't handle it very well.
"Falkirk made it extremely difficult all day and never at any time did we really look in total control.
"That is down to Falkirk who created more problems than Celtic last weekand it a go and deserved to take something. But I know that we can play much better."
Hot-shot Anthony Stokes, back after suspension, missed a couple of clear-cut chances for the visitors.
Finishing was the difference between the two sides. The Dons scored two superb goals whereas Falkirk wasted several chances and remain winless after 48 years against their northern rivals.
Striker Alan Gow also hit the post in the third minute to let the home side off the hook. The Bairns, who lost keeper Jeroen Lambers and defender Tom Scobbie through injuries in the first half, were handed a lesson by the razor-sharp Reds.
The first came in the 17th minute with a superbly worked free-kick.
Falkirk's back four were caught cold when Gary Dempsey's free-kick picked out Darren Mackie who lobbed Lambers for his eighth goal of the season.
Then, two minutes from half time, midfielder Chris Clark buried a powerful 20-yarder. But the Dons took their foot of the pedal on the re-start and almost paid the price. Falkirk realised there was a chance to salvage a result and they went for the jugular as Gow and Pat Cregg came close to pulling a goal back. The Dons' three-man defence dropped deeper and deeper under intense pressure and it was only a matter of when, not if, Falkirk got the goal their efforts deserved.
In the 70th minute, Gow raced past two defenders then bent a fierce drive from the edge of the box past Jamie Langfield. But Aberdeen held out for the win which keeps them in joint second top spot of the SPL with Rangers.
Bairns boss John Hughes said: "All credit to the boys in the second half for giving it a go and, if we had carried a bit of luck, then we may have got something.
"But I need to ask why did we play in the second half and not the first.
"It was too little, too late and I don't know if it was a reaction to last week's game."
4 Shots on target 4
8 Shots off target 8
0 Shots blocked 1
1 Corners 5
11 Fouls conceded 17
2 Offsides 3
1 Yellow cards 2
0 Red cards 0
HOW THEY RATED
Langfield 7, Hart 6, Anderson 6, Severin 5, Nicholson 5, Jamie Smith 6, Dempsey 5 (Lovell 2), Clark 6, Foster 6 (Considine 3), Mackie 7, Miller 6 (Touzani 2). MANAGER Calderwood 6
Lambers 5 (Higgins 6), Ross 5, Barr 5, Milne 6, Scobbie 3 (Dodd 5), Lima 6, Latapy 6, Craig 6, Cregg 6, Gow 7, Stokes 6.
MANAGER Hughes 6
REFEREE J Underhill 5
OUCH: It's painful for Falkirk keeper Jeroen Lambers as Darren Mackie opens the scoring
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|Publication:||Sunday Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Dec 10, 2006|
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