Date: 4th March 2007 at 12:36pm
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Aberdeen played their ‘Get out of jail free’ card yesterday in a match that was controlled by the home side.

Aberdeen scored twice against the run of play and were hanging on during the five minutes injury time, during which Falkirk were denied a penalty claim.

Jimmy Calderwood had high hopes for this match and was looking for a quality performance to give his team confidence going into crucial matches against Hearts, Motherwell and Rangers. He was left livid and admits the Dons stole the points.

That’s six times we’ve beaten them and we probably haven’t deserved any of them,’ Calderwood said

We were very poor and I’m disappointed because we were flying in training this week. We set high standards but we escaped to victory this time.

‘We just didn’t handle Falkirk and they dominated the game, while we did not perform like we are capable of.’ He continued, “At the end of the day we never performed but we escaped with a victory and an important victory at that. It’s always good to be able to get something out of a game when you don’t play that well. The win ensures that we keep the pressure on our rivals.”

The three points they wanted were still claimed however and the Dons have played better for no reward this season. It’s the result that counts of course but the team will know that much more cohesion and invention will be needed to break down the more esteemed opponents they will face in the Euro race.

Falkirk obviously miss hitman Anthony Stokes and the Aberdeen defeat was their 6th consecutive defeat in all competitions and Kilmarnock’s win against St Mirren looks like meaning a top six finish will elude this stubborn side.

John Hughes has built a determined and resilient team who have had some outrageous results this season but he sadly looks like losing his star men as the big boys flout the Bosman ruling.

Jimmy Calderwood has not so many worries, only one of his first team looks like walking away but that man was the player who fired the Dons in front.

Gary Dempsey is probably Yeovil bound but he gave his manager something to think about when a Barry Nicholson inswinging corner from the right was only half cleared and Dempsey volleyed right-footed into the bottom-left of goal from the centre of penalty area. The goal came totally against the run of play with the home side creating the best chances in the opening fifteen minutes.

Indeed, Falkirk continued to press and hassle their visitors without creating anything clear cut but it was again against the flow of the match when the Dons doubled their score. Darren Mackie, re-instated as the central striker, hit the by-line before getting a straight cross in across the box for the waiting Ricky Foster to hit home from 12 yards his first of the season in the 60th minute.

Jimmy Calderwood had celebrated the returning fitness of three of his key men for this match but none had made the starting line up. Much was made of Jamie Smith’s availability for the first time in two months and he was the first to feature when he replaced Dempsey at half time. He didn’t have much impact on the match as he eased himself back into the daily grind but the Dons did look more of a complete unit when he replaced Dempsey, Smith’s role as designated winger giving them natural width.

The other two fit again players were given the chance to make an impact as a response to Falkirk dragging themselves back into the match on the 65th minute.

The Dons defence had been as usual solid as they have been away from home all season but the could do nothing about Dean Holden’s first ever Falkirk goal.

Cedric Uras found the ex-Bolton man and he unleashed a 20 yard effort which flew into the top left corner of Langfield’s goal giving the away side a very uncomfortable last 25 minutes.

Diamond and Brewster were brought on to add some experience. The plan worked and the Dons defended their goal to a man as the they weathered the Falkirk onslaught.

Aberdeen will know they have to play much better than this but again they got the points and it’s now up to Rangers and Hearts to prove they’ve got the fight to take this campaign to the wire.