Darren Dods was sent off as Falkirk fell to Raith Rovers in their opening league match of the season.
The young Bairns were often outmuscled by the hosts and desperately missed Mark Millar’s presence in a midfield that fell away in the second half.
By then though it was too late, the decisive goal coming in the first period.
Both teams played their part in an aggressive, frantic opening 10 minutes, with Falkirk going closest with a cross from Craig Sibbald going close.
It was then Rovers’ turn to take over as Brian Graham had two efforts on goal - a long shot and a header well taken by McGovern with Falkirk’s defence looking flat-footed.
Iain Williamson had a shot just wide before was a glancing Sibbald header earned a corner.
Raith were stringing passes together and asking a lot of Falkirk. Rhys Bennett was caught blind sided by Brian Graham but Tam Scobbie spared his blushes.
Worse was to follow on stroke of half-time as Sibbald lost the ball in the left defensive corner. The resulting ball into the box was volleyed by Joe Hamill in off the post.
Immediately from restart Falkirk went forward and Allagui’s cross met Higginbotham’s head..
However, it needed a stunning save on 50 minutes by McGovern keep Falkirk in the game. The ball got across from sub Danny Thomson to John Baird and his strike was slapped over the bar.
From then on it was target practice for Raith.
Graham hit the outside of the post after 63 minutes with the whole Falkirk team camped out inside the box and booting clear at every opportunity.
McGovern was the hero of the hour and he beat another effort from Graham out on 66 minutes.
The Northern Irish goalie earned respite and Allagui headed into the side-netting but the ball was more often than not in Raith’s defensive half of the field, but Fakirk were finding penetration difficult.
Things deteriorated for Falkirk with Dods was red carded late on, but despairing defending from Tam Scobbie, McGovern and the goalpost kept Raith out in injury time.