Paul Hartley scored his third penalty in consecutive rounds to send Aberdeen into the semi-finals of the Co-operative Insurance Cup.
Mehdi Khalis had already missed a chance to give Falkirk the lead before he headed the First Division side ahead after 33 minutes at Pittodrie.
Hartley headed the improving Dons' equaliser after 64 minutes.
And hero Khalis turned villain when he brought down Chris Maguire in stoppage time and Hartley fired in the winner.
The Dons had been hoping to take confidence from ending a run of three straight defeats on Saturday, when they overcame Hibernian in the Scottish Premier League.
But they were forced to give 17-year-old Clark Robertson only his second start, in place of injured Togolese midfielder Yoann Folly.
Khalis (left) broke the deadlock for Falkirk at Pittodrie
Falkirk manager Steven Pressley stuck by the side that hammered Queen of the South 5-1 in Dumfries as he aimed to add the Bairns to the list of lower-league sides who have knocked the Dons out of cup competitions in recent seasons.
And he had fired up his players by suggesting that counterpart Mark McGhee was disrespectful of his side by saying he expected the Dons to advance to the semi-finals.
It was the Dons, though, who started on the front foot on the greasy surface, with Darren Mackie's low drive blocked by defender Khalis and Maguire's drilled shot comfortably gathered by Robert Olejnik in the Bairns goal.
Falkirk settled and Khalis should have done better than head over the bar when he rose highest in the box to meet Kallum Higginbotham's corner.
Diamond was next to pass up a decent goalscoring opportunity when, after Mackie had nudged Hartley's corner into his path, the defender failed to connect properly with the ball and his weak effort was cleared to safety.
The First Division side were growing in confidence and the inevitable opener for the Bairns came after 33 minutes.
Aberdeen's defenders felt they should have been awarded a free-kick for a foul on Rory McArdle, but instead referee Stevie O'Reilly awarded a corner kick and the visitors took full advantage with Khalis heading home Higginbotham's corner at the back post.
The Dons had a chance to test Olejnik in the final minute of the first half, but Marc Twaddle bravely headed Hartley's corner to safety to ensure his side took the one-goal lead into the break.
Aberdeen came out for the second half with greater purpose and the pressure mounted, without the creation of clear-cut chances, until the equaliser finally came after 64 minutes.
Scott Vernon played the ball out wide for Darren Mackie and the forward's cross was headed in by Hartley.
Falkirk bounced back and a Ryan Flynn strike - after a clever piece of play from the winger - was parried clear by goalkeeper Mark Howard and Stewart just failed to pounce on the rebound.
The Dons were gifted the winner when Khalis needlessly pulled down Maguire and Hartley scored his eighth goal of the season - seven having come from the penalty spot.
Live text and stats
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
Hartley (pen) 90+5
02 McArdle yellow card
08 Millar yellow card
10 Flynn yellow card
Ref: O'ReillyAtt: 6,710
Attempts on target
Attempts off target
90:00+5:28 The match has reached full-time.
90:00+4:52 Burton O'Brien has an effort at goal from long distance that misses to the right of the target.
90:00+4:23 Penalty awarded for an unfair challenge on Chris Maguire by Mehdi Khalis.
90:00+4:23 GOAL - Paul Hartley:Aberdeen 2 - 1 Falkirk Paul Hartley scores a penalty. Aberdeen 2-1 Falkirk.
90:00+2:38 Chris Maguire provided the assist for the goal.
90:00+2:11 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Clark Robertson by Carl Finnigan. Rory McArdle restarts play with the free kick.
87:31 Shot by Burton O'Brien. Save by Mark Howard.
86:31 Burton O'Brien takes a shot. Jerel Ifil gets a block in. Kallum Higginbotham takes the outswinging corner, Scott Vernon makes
85:46 Free kick awarded for a foul by Darren Mackie on Mark Millar. Burton O'Brien takes the free kick.
84:05 Shot by Chris Maguire from 20 yards. Save by Robert Olejnik.
83:08 Brian McLean gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Scott Vernon. Mark Howard restarts play with the free kick.
82:10 Kallum Higginbotham produces a drilled right-footed shot from 20 yards. Blocked by Rory McArdle. Kallum Higginbotham takes
a outswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, Rory McArdle makes a clearance. The ball is delivered by Kallum
Higginbotham, clearance by Rory McArdle.
81:24 Mark Stewart is caught offside. Indirect free kick taken by Mark Howard.
80:22 Chris Maguire delivers the ball, Unfair challenge on Marc Twaddle by Darren Mackie results in a free kick. Robert Olejnik
takes the direct free kick.
Correction - 77:18 Corner taken right-footed by Paul Hartley from the left by-line, Robert Olejnik makes a save.
77:18 Corner taken by Paul Hartley from the left by-line, save by Robert Olejnik.
76:45 Free kick awarded for a foul by Ryan Flynn on Darren Mackie. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Paul Hartley, clearance
made by Mehdi Khalis.
76:45 Booking Ryan Flynn receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
75:23 Ryan Flynn fouled by Jerel Ifil, the ref awards a free kick. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Mark Millar from left
by-line, Zander Diamond manages to make a clearance.
74:01 Foul by Jason Marr on Sone Aluko, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Paul Hartley.
72:55 Shot by Darren Mackie. Robert Olejnik makes a comfortable save.
72:12 Corner taken right-footed by Kallum Higginbotham, Mark Howard makes a comfortable save.
71:34 Ryan Flynn takes a shot. Save made by Mark Howard.
71:21 Jason Marr produces a cross, Zander Diamond manages to make a clearance.
68:39 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Kallum Higginbotham from the left by-line, clearance made by Jerel Ifil.
67:17 Centre by Jason Marr.
66:56 Ryan Jack challenges Carl Finnigan unfairly and gives away a free kick. Burton O'Brien takes the free kick.
65:00 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Mehdi Khalis by Scott Vernon. Mehdi Khalis takes the free kick.
63:26 Darren Mackie provided the assist for the goal.
63:26 GOAL - Paul Hartley:Aberdeen 1 - 1 Falkirk Paul Hartley finds the back of the net with a headed goal from inside the area. Aberdeen 1-1 Falkirk.
62:16 Unfair challenge on Sone Aluko by Kallum Higginbotham results in a free kick. Clark Robertson restarts play with the free
61:44 The referee blows for offside against Darren Mackie. Indirect free kick taken by Robert Olejnik.
60:56 Mehdi Khalis is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Paul Hartley produces a shot on goal direct from the free
60:32 Carl Finnigan is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Mark Howard takes the free kick.
58:01 The assistant referee signals for offside against Mark Stewart. Free kick taken by Mark Howard.
57:18 Unfair challenge on Clark Robertson by Carl Finnigan results in a free kick. Paul Hartley takes the free kick.
55:31 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Burton O'Brien by Jerel Ifil. Robert Olejnik takes the direct free kick.
54:06 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Sone Aluko, Rory McArdle produces a header from inside the area that goes over the
53:43 Corner taken left-footed by Sone Aluko to the near post, clearance by Brian McLean.
52:58 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Chris Maguire by Mark Millar. Paul Hartley takes the free kick.
52:58 Booking The referee cautions Mark Millar for unsporting behaviour.
52:20 Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Kallum Higginbotham from the right by-line, clearance by Rory McArdle.
50:31 Darren Mackie produces a cross, clearance by Brian McLean.
49:51 Scott Vernon gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jason Marr. Jason Marr takes the direct free kick.
49:20 Chris Maguire takes a shot. Save by Robert Olejnik.
48:18 Curled left-footed shot by Sone Aluko. Comfortable save by Robert Olejnik.
47:11 Foul by Brian McLean on Darren Mackie, free kick awarded. Sone Aluko has a direct shot on goal from the free kick.
46:56 Jerel Ifil crosses the ball, clearance by Brian McLean.
45:01 The game restarts for the second half.
45:00+2:09 The half-time whistle blows.
45:00+1:39 Chris Maguire delivers the ball.
45:00+1:23 A cross is delivered by Paul Hartley, Marc Twaddle makes a clearance.
45:00+0:55 Corner from the right by-line taken by Paul Hartley, clearance by Mehdi Khalis.
45:00+0:12 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ryan Jack by Mark Millar. Free kick taken by Paul Hartley.
43:01 Kallum Higginbotham crosses the ball, Mark Howard makes a comfortable save.
41:33 Mark Stewart delivers the ball, Clark Robertson manages to make a clearance.
40:47 Burton O'Brien concedes a free kick for a foul on Paul Hartley. Paul Hartley restarts play with the free kick.
39:38 Chris Maguire crosses the ball.
37:57 Mehdi Khalis challenges Scott Vernon unfairly and gives away a free kick. Mark Howard takes the free kick.
37:10 Mark Stewart fouled by Rory McArdle, the ref awards a free kick. Kallum Higginbotham delivers the ball from the free kick
right-footed from left wing, Scott Vernon makes a clearance.
37:10 Booking Booking for Rory McArdle for unsporting behaviour.
36:21 Mark Stewart is ruled offside. Mark Howard takes the free kick.
35:33 Centre by Chris Maguire, Marc Twaddle makes a clearance.
32:44 Corner taken by Kallum Higginbotham from the right by-line, assist by Kallum Higginbotham.
32:44 GOAL - Mehdi Khalis:Aberdeen 0 - 1 Falkirk A goal is scored by Mehdi Khalis from close in high into the middle of the goal. Aberdeen 0-1 Falkirk.
28:27 Clark Robertson fouled by Kallum Higginbotham, the ref awards a free kick. Mark Howard restarts play with the free kick.
26:26 Centre by Jason Marr, Zander Diamond manages to make a clearance.
26:02 Scott Vernon takes a shot. Mehdi Khalis gets a block in.
23:45 Effort on goal by Chris Maguire from just outside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the target.
22:20 The ball is delivered by Kallum Higginbotham, Mark Stewart produces a header from inside the area that goes over the crossbar.
20:29 The ball is swung over by Scott Vernon, clearance made by Mehdi Khalis.
19:56 Paul Hartley takes a inswinging corner.
19:49 Darren Mackie produces a cross.
19:25 Unfair challenge on Brian McLean by Scott Vernon results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Brian McLean.
18:15 Jerel Ifil gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Mark Stewart. Free kick crossed right-footed by Burton O'Brien
from left channel.
17:17 Paul Hartley concedes a free kick for a foul on Carl Finnigan. Direct free kick taken by Burton O'Brien.
15:35 Foul by Chris Maguire on Mark Millar, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Robert Olejnik.
14:17 The ball is crossed by Ryan Flynn, save by Mark Howard.
11:16 A cross is delivered by Chris Maguire, Mehdi Khalis makes a clearance.
9:52 Kallum Higginbotham takes the outswinging corner, Header by Mehdi Khalis from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right
of the target.
8:07 Jerel Ifil challenges Marc Twaddle unfairly and gives away a free kick. Robert Olejnik takes the free kick.
6:27 Unfair challenge on Mehdi Khalis by Scott Vernon results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Brian McLean.
5:55 Curled right-footed shot by Chris Maguire. Save made by Robert Olejnik.
5:51 Clark Robertson crosses the ball, clearance made by Brian McLean.
2:58 Jason Marr produces a cross, save by Mark Howard.
2:39 Sone Aluko concedes a free kick for a foul on Mark Millar. Free kick taken by Burton O'Brien.
0:28 Darren Mackie takes a shot. Brian McLean gets a block in.
0:00 The game kicks-off.
Live text and data provided by The Press Association.
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