All Dunfermline Athletic can rely on now is their survival instinct.

With the parent company, Dunfermline Athletic Football Club Ltd, put in interim administration yesterday, the players and the fans could only try to find the means to cling onto their understanding of what it is to be part of a football club. That is performing for and supporting the team, but adversity can seem overwhelming at times.

There wasn't a rousing turnout at East End Park. It was a bitterly cold night, and the reality of the club's fate may only have begun to sink in, but saving Dunfermline will require significantly more fans to provide financial, emotional and practical support. Only 2879 – less than last Saturday – turned up with their club teetering on the brink. Some carried collection buckets, and £9000 was raised at the last home game and distributed to the players in lieu of unpaid wages. That kind of selflessness and unity is now the club's most precious commodity.

"It wasn't about the result, it was about feeling for the players," said Jim Jefferies, the Dunfermline manager. "The administrator doesn't want it dragging on. I'll see him [today], then everybody will be told who's going and staying. How these players were able to play was unbelievable. I'm proud of them. I might not be here, either. I'd like to be there when he tells the players. It's not their fault, I feel really sad for them. It's tough."

Anger was natural, and some chanted disdainfully about Gavin Masterton, the owner whose recklessness, ego and ruinous policies brought this financial crisis down upon the club. On a night when even the photocopier stopped working, meaning there were no team sheets, only grim determination was possible. The Scottish Football League will meet with the interim administrator, Bryan Jackson of PKF, in the coming days to ascertain the extent of the club's troubles, then the board will decide upon appropriate sanctions, which can include a points deduction and a registration embargo.

The former would leave Dunfermline fighting a relegation battle. That will seem incidental to the players, who will find out today which members of staff are being made redundant. The high earners are expected to be among those who lose their job. For some, this was their last game for the club. A bout of self-pity might have been expected, but the irascible competitive spirit of Jefferies would not accept that mood.

There was scant compassion from the visitors. Straight from kick off, the away fans were merciless. "The Pars Are Going Bust," they sang, "The Bairns Are Having A Party". There was little sentiment from the opposition players, either. Lyle Taylor was irrepressible, and he scored with a deft header from Tom Grant's free kick after just 10 minutes.

Resourcefulness, patience, perhaps even an element of defiance, will all become necessary qualities for Dunfermline. They weren't all in evidence among the players, but then that is understandable when they face such doubts over their futures. Jordan McMillan attempted to be a driving presence from right-back, and Ryan Wallace ought to have scored after making an incursion into the area, but he shot rashly over.

In truth, Dunfermline were making the best of galling circumstances. Taylor almost scored again, with a glancing header from another Grant free kick. Then, just after the interval, Grant stabbed a half-volley wide from the edge of the penalty area.

Dunfermline eventually found the means to be spirited and dogged, but that wasn't enough to rescue the game. Then Blair Alston added a neat second goal before the end, after a sharp interchange with the impressive Taylor.

"I thought there would be more Dunfermline people," said Alex Smith, Falkirk's interim manager. "I was disappointed in the size of the crowd. There wills be some people sickened by it all. But Dunfermline will still be here."

Now the town, the local community, and the wider fan base need to react. Their club is in peril, and it desperately needs their help.