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<-Srce <-Type Daily Record ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Jim Jefferies 2nd <-auth Gavin Berry auth-> Brian Winter
Thomson Craig [M Stewart 13] ;[C Finnigan 41] ;[R Flynn 80] ;[M Stewart 93]
7 of 008 Kevin Kyle pen 67 ;Suso Santana 74 ;Kevin Kyle 78LC A

Falkirk 4 Hearts 3

Sep 22 2010 Gavin Berry

STEVEN Pressley reckons he's Hearts fans' pantomime villain - and he took on the role of bad guy again last night to send his old club spinning out on an incredible night of drama.

Falkirk edged a seven-goal thriller to send the First Division outfit into Thursday's quarterfinal draw after taking the scalp of the side he skippered to Scottish Cup glory four years ago.

It was a heartbreaking return to his own former club for Jambos gaffer Jim Jefferies as he saw his side go two goals and a man down in an action-packed first half.

Bairns sub Mark Stewart blasted the home side in front before Craig Thomson was sent off and when Carl Finnigan netted four minutes before the break the Gorgie men were left with a mountain to climb.

But Jambos' 10 men showed incredible spirit to mount a stunning fightback with Suso Santana winning a penalty which Kevin Kyle converted before the Spaniard himself struck to level things.

Kyle then headed home a third goal for the visitors which looked to have won it for Hearts only for Ryan Flynn to ensure there was another dramatic twist with an equaliser just 10 minutes from time.

Then with the last touch of the game Stewart nodded home the winner to spark unbelievable scenes of joy around Westfield, not least from Pressley on the touchline.

The Bairns boss claimed in the build-up he has been a pantomime villain for the Jambos faithful since the day he stood up to Vladimir Romanov as one of the infamous Riccarton Three. He expected abuse from the away fans but had the last laugh.

The home side were rocked by an injury blow with barely 60 seconds on the clock when former Hibs man Tam McManus limped off with a knee injury.

The damage appeared to be done by the player himself as he went in with a badly mistimed challenge on Santana and came off worse.

Stewart was the striker's replacement - an enforced move that would pay dividends.

Jack Compton outmuscled Ismael Bouzid and his cutback for Finnigan was perfect but the striker fluffed his effort wide.

But Pressley's men took a deserved 13th-minute lead. Stewart grabbed the goal as he took full advantage of some suspect Jambos defending.

Compton burst through the middle and threaded a ball to the totally-unmarked Stewart who fired under Marian Kello.

The visitors tried to hit back and Ryan Stevenson was unlucky with a 25-yard snapshot. But it was always rising before things suddenly went from bad to worse for a Hearts side in disarray.

As well as being a goal down, they then lost a man as Thomson was dismissed by Brian Winter.

The full-back challenged Finnigan for a high ball and as the pair landed Thomson kicked out at the Falkirk striker. After consultation with linesman Stuart MacAulay and fourth official Eddie Smith, the referee flashed the red card.

Falkirk doubled their advantage four minutes before halftime. Kallum Higginbotham released Stewart down the right. He flashed a low ball across the face of goal and Finnigan was on hand to steer home with marking again suspect.

Stevenson went close early in the second half with a 25-yard free-kick which flew just wide of Robert Olejnik's left-hand post.

Claims for a penalty from the visitors were turned down after Suso's shot into a packed penalty area appeared to cannon off Brian McLean's hand but Winter was having none of it.

Stewart was a constant menace and when Compton released him he should have added a third but shot high and wide with only Kello to beat.

David Templeton was a whisker away from pulling one back when he flashed a shot just wide after the hour mark before the visitors got the lifeline they were looking for.

Burton O'Brien brought down Suso as he made his way into the box and up stepped Kyle with plenty of confidence to lash the ball past Olejnik and set up a dramatic finish.

The Spaniard' determination earned an incredible equaliser as Stevenson's corner fell to him at the edge of the box. His first shot was blocked but he charged down the rebound and lashed the ball home.

But the game took a further twist 13 minutes from time as Kyle bulleted Stevenson's free-kick in off the underside off the bar.

As the away fans taunted Pressley, Falkirk hit back to level thanks to Flynn who raced on to O'Brien's ball, cut in from the right and shot into the net.

And just when you thought there was no time left for drama Stewart won it in the final minute of injury time as the supersub headed home from Compton's corner.

Falkirk: Olejnik 6, Marr 5 (Duffie 45, 4), McLean 6, Scobbie 6, Twaddle 6, O'Brien 6, Higginbotham 6 (Millar 76, 4), Flynn 7, Compton 7, McManus 1 (Stewart 1, 8), Finnigan 7. Subs not used: Barclay, Mitchell.

Hearts : Kello 6, C Thomson 3, Bouzid 5, Barr 5, Palazuelos 5, Jonsson 5, Stevenson 7, Suso 7, Templeton 5, Elliot 4 (Mrowiec 30, 6), Kyle 7. Subs not used: Balogh, Obua, Novikovas, Glen.

Referee B Winter.

Taken from the Daily Record

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