ANY hope East Fife had of repeating their League Cup giant-killing heroics were dashed during a first half which hosts Falkirk dominated.
The side from one division above showed their class during an impressive opening 45 that, despite the Fifers improving vastly after the break, gave the Methil side too much to do.
Having already dumped Dunfermline and Aberdeen out of cup competition this season, the Fifers had no reason to fear Division One’s Falkirk, with boss John Robertson playing two front men throughout the 90 minutes.
However, the side got off to the worst possible start when they failed to clear their lines from a corner and allowed Darren Dods to sweep Steven Pressley’s men into the lead.
Falkirk seemed intent on stretching their visitors, with Tam Scobbie and Kieran Duffie constant threats from out wide.
And it was Duffie who helped Falkirk extend their lead when his cross was nodded past Michael Brown by Farid El Alagui.
El Alagui is attracting the attention of a host of clubs south of the border and gave the Fifers’ backline a torrid time throughout.
The Moroccan passed up another couple of chances with his head before Robertson’s men sprang into life as the game went on.
Ryan Wallace stung Michael McGovern’s palms with a drilled effort, before Bobby Linn was unlucky to watch a strike of his own whistle inches past the post.
Wallace should have done better inside the final 10 minutes when he found himself free in the box but, as the ball came to him, he mis-hit his effort and let Falkirk off the hook.
Boss Robertson said: “The better team won; I’ve no qualms about the defeat.
“It was a poor first goal to lose and from there, Falkirk went on to set the tempo.
“We said to the players at half-time to go out and show a bit of character, take the game to Falkirk, and we then went out and had a great spell for the last 25 minutes.
“If we’d managed to get one back, then we’d have given ourselves a real chance and you never know what could have happened.
“But a couple of things didn’t really go for us in the box.”
Falkirk - McGovern, Duffy, Scobbie, Dods, Wallace, Murdoch, Wetherston (Alston 75), Millar, El Alagui, Higginbotham (Fulton 90), Sibbald. Subs (not used) Bennett, Dick, Bowman.
East Fife - Brown, Durie, Cook, McCormack, White, Muir (Campbell 60), Linn, Smith (Johnstone 45), Wallace, Janczyk, McQuade (Hislop 56).Subs (not used) Sloan, Collier.
Referee - J. McKendrick.
Attendance - 2475.
Starcheck ratings - Brown 3 points, Wallace 2, Janczyk 1.
Starcheck table - Ryan Wallace 26, Bobby Linn 21, Mark Ridgers 17, Darren Smith 12, Michael Brown 12, Craig Johnstone 11, Rob Ogleby 11, , Scott Durie 9, Matthew Park 8, John Ovenstone 7, David White 4, Steve Campbell 3, David Muir 3, Chris Innes 2, Steve Hislop 1, Lloyd Young 1 Robert Sloan 1, Neil Janczyk 1.