New loan signing Carl Finnigan dealt the Bairns the traditional curse of the returning striker by scoring in the 87th minute to give Dundee a point they fully deserved in tonight's entertaining draw at the Falkirk Stadium. Dundee were the better side for large parts of the game, but their inability to take their chances meant that they looked like losing to Farid El Alagui's first half goal.
Dundee's only change from Saturday was Ross Chisholm coming into the team and Craig McKeown dropping onto the bench, and move that entailed Gary Irvine and Rhys Weston returning to their usual positions at right back and centre back respectively.\
Falkirk could have taken the lead in the fourth minute when Duffie's deep cross found El Alagui at the far post, but Douglas pushed his header away.
From then on the first half belonged largely to Dundee, who kept threatening to open up a nervous and sometimes disorganised home defence.
Yet again Dundee were knocking the ball around well in midfield, but a Dee goal looked most likely to come from a mistake by the defence.
Jake Hyde nearly opened the scoring when he pounced on a weak back pass by Wallace, who was fortunate that his clumsy attempted recovery didn't bring the Dundee striker down. Hyde kept his feet and tried to trick his way round McGovern, but the keeper foiled him with a desperate grab at the ball just before he could score.
Moments later the Bairns defence was again at sea when Hyde robbed Wallace, but the chance was lost with a poor pass when he tried to set up Milne.
Dundee were made to pay for their failure to build on their dominance. Gibson ran clear on the right, looking suspiciously offside, and lifted the ball over the onrushing Douglas. McGregor managed to clear the ball of the line, hooking it onto the bar, but the ball fell kindly for EL ALAGUI, who tapped it into the empty goal.
The Dee reacted well to the setback and kept up the pressure on Falkirk. The home defence got into a mess that gave O'Donnell space to shoot just wide from 18 yards. The Bairns had another escape when Duffie sent a poor headed clearance to Milne, who shot well over.
Dundee continued pushing forward into the second half, and McGovern made a fine save from O'Donnell after Conroy had teed up Hyde's cross.
Carl Finnigan came on for the last half hour, replacing Ross Chisholm. Milne switched to left midfield, and Conroy moved infield.
The newcomer nearly had an immediate impact when Hyde and Conroy combined well to give him a sight of goal, but his shot was blocked. A minute later Finnigan had a good turn and shot but McGovern saved well.
As the game wore on Falkirk picked up confidence and started to take the ball to Dundee, who were beginning to look short of ideas. However, the Dee weathered the tricky spell and pushed back for the equaliser their play merited, and which always looked possible against a home defence that constantly gave the ball away.
At last, after 87 minutes it arrived. Falkirk conceded possession too easily on the halfway line. Gary Irvine took the ball, made space cleverly and fed a good pass through the inside right channel for FINNIGAN to run on and score with a neat shot across McGovern from 12 yards.
Dundee might have snatched a winner right at the end when Finnigan brilliantly eluded two defenders on the byline and crossed. Irvine stabbed at the ball and McGovern did very well to push the ball wide for a corner.
A draw was the least Dundee deserved, and with a bit more invention, directness or better finishing it would certainly have been three points. Even one point is a frustrating result when Dundee had most of the chances, certainly the best ones, and up against a defence that never looked happy at any stage.
For the second game running Dundee needed a very late equaliser to give them a point. However, this was a much better performance than we saw at Dumfries on Saturday. This run of four draws is proving very costly to Dundee's title challenge, but tonight they were coming nearer to their true form. They will need to reach that form on Saturday in the key game at home to Ross County. Nothing less will do.
Duffie, Dods, Wallace, Scobbie
Fulton, Murdoch, Millar, Sibbald (Kingsley 74)
El Alagui, Gibson (Alston 70)
Unused subs; Bowman (gk), Bennett, White
Goal; El Alagui (27)
Booking; El Alagui (foul on McGregor)
Dundee FC 4-4-2
Irvine, Weston, McGregor, Lockwood
McCluskey, O'Donnell, Chisholm (Finnigan 58), Conroy
Hyde (Bayne 83), Milne
Unused subs; Gibson (gk), McKeown, Benedictus
Goal; Finnigan (87)
Booking; McGregor (foul on El Alagui)
Referee; Charlie Richmond
Report; James Christie