Latapy Has Lady Luck on His Side as Falkirk End 12-Year Famine ; BAIRN WINNER: Latapy Is Congratulated by His Team-Mates after Scoring the Only Goal
Byline: JONATHAN COATES
FALKIRK 1 MOTHERWELL 0YOU wait 12 years for a win over Motherwell and it arrives by accident. Falkirkhadn't beaten the Steelmen since 1995 and, typically, it took a late,speculative free-kick that crept in at the back post to break the spell.
Russell Latapy wasn't even going for goal when he produced the defining moment15 minutes from the end of a tight, but underwhelming, match. The agelessmidfielder celebrated his first goal of the season with a sheepish grin.
Twelve times in succession, Motherwell had emerged unscathed from meetings withthe Bairns and this looked certain to be a spectacle hindered by errantpassing, personnel shortages and competent goalkeeping, until Graeme Smith letthe latter side down by failing to cover his far post.
'We were a little bit fortunate with the free-kick but you take it. I think wedeserved it,' said Falkirk manager John Hughes after a much-needed triumph thatlifted his men out of the bottom three.
'I have seen us play a lot better but the fact we got the win tells mesomething about our character. And I think we might have seen the next shininglight of Scottish football today, in Scott Arfield.' After his side missed thechance to leapfrog Dundee United into a share of second place, Motherwellmanager Mark McGhee reflected: 'It was a poor goal to lose and a disappointinggoal to lose a match to.
'I think one of our defenders might have been culpable because he could haveheaded the ball away, but I'm not going to point the finger at anyone.' Thiswas billed as a football-fest but it took 22 minutes for the first move of anycollective purpose to arrive. It almost resulted in Falkirk going ahead.
Motherwell's repeated failure to clear their lines under siege led to MichaelHigdon volleying powerfully with his left foot and Smith touching the ballaround the post.
Motherwell had actually started better and would rue their failure tocapitalise on David Clarkson's early opportunism. Fed on the left, he caughtKenny Milne half-asleep and reached the byline.
A low square ball found Chris Porter, who had the freedom of the net.
However, he struck his first-time effort straight at Tim Krul, who was relievedto see his parry rebound off a defender and go out for a corner.
Porter's next effort was more composed and left Krul looking statuesque. Thestriker had needed stitches after taking an accidental blow to the face fromGerard Aafjes and, when he received the ball from Steven McGarry, he still hadhis back to goal, 25 yards out. …