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Falkirk 2-2 Aberdeen

Steve Lovell and Richard Foster celebrate at the Falkirk Stadium
Lovell (left) was on target for the Dons in a blistering first half

Falkirk and Aberdeen played out a second draw in consecutive weeks to force a Scottish Cup replay.

Aberdeen made the perfect start when a shot from Barry Nicholson was parried back out by keeper Tim Krul for Jamie Smith to slot in the rebound.

Falkirk responded immediately, with Darren Barr heading in from a corner but the Dons were back in front thanks to Steve Lovell's touch beyond Krul.

Arnau Riera levelled the game with a fine diving header on 73 minutes.

"A draw was probably a fair result," said Falkirk manager John Hughes.

"We conceded two easy goals from our point of view - and for Aberdeen good goals - but we've shown great character and spirit to come back into it."

The sides shared a drab goalless draw on league duty seven days previously but this was far more entertaining.

And Dons boss Jimmy Calderwood was not too disappointed, despite leading twice.

"I don't think Falkirk deserved to lose," he said.

"We are still in a very, very difficult tie. It's another difficult draw we've had in the Scottish Cup but our home form has been very good and we've got a week's rest before it starts again."

Fans were treated to three goals inside the first ten minutes, with the Dons storming in front when Nicholson managed to get a shot in despite a stumble and the ball was pushed out for Smith to score.

Falkirk equalised barely a minute later as Barr rose highest to nod in Pedro Moutinho's corner via the underside of the crossbar.

Aberdeen regained the lead as the Falkirk defence fell asleep to allow Miller to slip a pass through to Lovell and the striker's deft touch directed the ball past the stranded Krul.

With Falkirk stringing together some neat passing moves, Dons keeper Jamie Langfield was equal to Riera's 16-yard shot.

The second half saw the Bairns threaten with a long-range effort from full-back Dean Holden and a tame Graham Barrett header.

Aberdeen came close to the third goal when Smith's corner was nodded towards goal by Zander Diamond but Lovell's header back across the target slipped past.

Just as it looked as if Falkirk might be running out of ideas, manager John Hughes introduced Russell Latapy from the bench to add impetus to his side's attacking.

The veteran replacement fed Holden in space only for the full-back to spear his shot high and wide.

The equaliser finally came as Carl Finnigan did the damage with a superb run down the right and when the former Newcastle man's cross came in Riera arrived to head in from eight yards out.

Finnigan almost won it four minutes from time but Langfield turned his powerful drive round the post.

Falkirk: Krul, Ross, Holden, Scobbie, Barr, Arfield (Latapy 69), Riera, McBride, Moutinho, Barrett, Finnigan. Subs Not Used: Olejnik, Bradley, Aafjes, Milne.

Booked: Ross.

Goals: Barr 5, Riera 73.

Aberdeen: Langfield, Mair, Byrne, Diamond, Severin, Nicholson, Jamie Smith, Foster, Clark, Lovell (Aluko 82), Miller (Young 74). Subs Not Used: Soutar, Considine, De Visscher.

Booked: Nicholson, Diamond.

Goals: Jamie Smith 4, Lovell 10.

Att: 5,798

Ref: M McCurry

see also
Scottish Cup photo gallery
12 Jan 08 |  Scotland

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