Swailes' own-goal counted for nothing in the end as Accies took the three points
Hamilton Accies moved nine points clear of Falkirk with their first win at the home of their opponents since 1997.
It was a deserved victory for Accies despite having to come from behind when Chris Swailes scored an own-goal within seven minutes.
They wasted little time in drawing level ten minutes later when Simon Mensing lashed in from close range.
And Paul McGowan sealed the win for Hamilton in the final quarter by poking the ball past Danny Mello.
Accies made the brighter start, and came close to making the breakthrough in the sixth minute when Richard Offiong's drive from 12 yards was brilliantly blocked by Falkirk goalkeeper Dani Mallo.
A minute later, the hosts went in front in bizarre circumstances.
Accies defender Swailes, under no pressure at the edge of his box, knocked the ball back to Tomas Cerny without looking only to watch as it trundled past his helpless goalkeeper.
However, the visitors responded positively, drawing level from a Brian Easton corner in the 18th minute.
Mallo flapped at Easton's cross, Offiong's header rebounded off the bar, and when the ball dropped to Mensing 10 yards out, the midfielder swiftly volleyed it back high into the net.
Bairns midfielder Scott Arfield forced a good save from Cerny from a left-footed drive 15 minutes before the interval.
But Offiong underlined Hamilton's dominance towards the end of the half with a fine volley that clipped the post.
Accies again looked the stronger side in the second period were rewarded in the 75th minute.
James McCarthy played a perfect chipped pass Darren Barr to find McGowan, who stretched to prod the ball past Mallo from 10 yards out.
Moments later, with Accies going all out to clinch the three points, midfielder James McArthur drove the ball in from the edge of the box and it clipped past Falkirk's Carl Finnigan before hitting the post.
Hamilton manager Billy Reid:
"We knew that if Falkirk clawed us back three points then we're back in the mire with a lot of teams round about us.
"I knew if we won the game then we'd be looking up all the time.
"We've got a wee bit to do yet but if we continue to play in the manner we did we'll pick up points, it's very simple.
"I thought we were terrific today. The spirit and effort within the group of players shone through."
Falkirk manager John Hughes:
"That's a really bad result for us. We didn't deserve to win the match and were a bit fortunate with our goal.
"We conceded two goals that, again, you're hoping you can defend a little bit better.
"I think there's a lot of tension and apprehension in our game and it showed today. I felt we lost the fight today.
"The position we're in, in terms of fighting for our lives, that's not acceptable. That's all down to character.
"I think one or two of them are getting scared and it's showing in their play. You need to rise above that."
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