The Dee took an early lead through Stephen O'Donnell. Although Mark Millar soon equalised, further goals from Ryan Conroy and Steven Milne allowed Dundee to cruise through much of the second half with the points looking safe. The visitors had lots of possession, but little penetration up front. In contrast, Dundee's good football always looked far more likely to have an end product, and they thoroughly deserved the win.
Both teams preferred to pass the ball patiently in midfield, rather than launch quick balls forward, and a typical spell of possession paid off when the Dee took the lead after 11 minutes. Irvine's cross from the right was only diverted out as far as Lockwood. He laid it into the path of O'DONNELL, who beat a man to make space and rifled the ball into the roof of the net from 19 yards.
The Bairns equalised midway through the half when MILLAR was given time to shoot from 25 yards. The ball bounced in front of Douglas and skipped through the keeper, who will know he should have done better.
It took Dundee 10 minutes to restore their lead. Irvine made a clever run in from the right and McBride found him with a lovely chip over the top of the defence. The right back set up Conroy who was in a better position, but the midfielder delayed his shot and had to move the ball on to Milne, who returned it. At last Conroy got his shot away, but Dods deflected the ball over the bar with his arm. The referee, Mr Thomson awarded the penalty and booked Dods.
CONROY scored easily from the spot, with McGovern going the wrong way.
Soon after half time Douglas made amends for his mistake. El Alagui's glancing header from a corner seemed on its way to the back of the net, but the keeper showed he still has the agility to spring to his right and save well.
Dundee went straight up the field and nearly grabbed a third when McCluskey's clever wing play gave him space to cross for Milne to volley narrowly wide.
We had to wait only another couple of minutes for the crucial third goal, which came from smart play by a Dundee youngster and a dreadful blunder from one of the Bairns' kids. McIntosh hooked a cross from the right into the heart of the penalty area. Murray Wallace tried to head the ball out for a corner, but merely sent it straight back to McIntosh, who quickly controlled the ball and fired it into the goalmouth. MILNE stabbed the ball goalwards. McGovern managed to block the ball at point blank range, but with both players on the ground it was the Dee striker who reacted quickest, stretching out to flick the loose ball into the net.
Ryan Conroy came desperately close to a fourth when Milne crossed for him to shoot against the post. The last half hour settled into a repeating pattern in which Falkirk would play the ball around till they gave it away, or tried an overambitious final ball. When Dundee had the ball they were far more careful in possession and more penetrating with their forward passes. Surprisingly there were no more goals, but there was a lot of good football for the supporters to enjoy. After a highly erratic season at home it was certainly pleasant to see Dundee stroll through the closing stages in control.
Jamie McCluskey had an effective game on the right, but he was withdrawn for the last 20 minutes to give Mark Fotheringham an opportunity. Jake Hyde came on for the last 10 minutes, and nearly set up a fourth when he cut in from the left to give O'Donnell another chance to shoot from the edge of the area. This time the keeper managed to save.
This was another good, solid team performance, with every part of the team looking comfortable. Dundee imposed themselves in central midfield, where both O'Donnell and McBride had good games. Milne caused problems continually with his clever movement and willingness to drop deep to link up with midfielders while teammates broke forward beyond him. Both the wide midfielders had good games, using the ball well. Leighton McIntosh never gave the central defenders any peace. He deserved a goal, but will have to be satisfied with a very good assist.
The full backs did well, with Gary Irvine again looking very good coming forward. Craig McKeown and Kyle Benedictus settled down into a confident performance, after a slightly erratic start. They both went for the same high ball early on, and succeeded only in putting each other off! After that they had few problems, and handled Falkirk's lone striker, the dangerous El Alagui, very well.
So three goals, three points, a relaxed end to the game with the points safe; it wasn't the best performance of the season, but it was easily good enough to send the Dark Blue support home in a cheerful mood.
Dundee FC 4-4-2
Irvine, McKeown, Benedictus, Lockwood
McCluskey (Fotheringham 69), O'Donnell, McBride, Conroy
Milne (Chisholm 89), McIntosh (Hyde 81)
Unused subs; Gibson (gk), Weston
Goals; O'Donnell (11), Conroy (34 pen), Milne (56)
Bookings; Lockwood (foul on El Alagui)
Falkirk FC 4-2-3-1
Duffie, Dods, Wallace, Kingsley
Weatherston, Millar, Sibbald
Unused subs; Bowman (gk), Bennett, Dick, Alston, White
Goal; Millar 23
Bookings; Dods (handball)
Referee; Craig Thomson
Report; James Christie