Falkirk 1 Livingston 1: Dundee benefit as Bairns held

SSFF 1014054 raith falkirk 'Falkirk players celebrate going in front for the first time in the match - Raith Rovers against Falkirk FC at Starks Park, Kirkcaldy
SSFF 1014054 raith falkirk 'Falkirk players celebrate going in front for the first time in the match - Raith Rovers against Falkirk FC at Starks Park, Kirkcaldy

Dundee were the real winners on an idle weekend as Falkirk were held at home to Livingston.

A first-half header from Marc McNulty was cancelled out by Blair Alston’s second-half strike for the ten-man Bairns who also had a Mark Millar penalty saved by Darren Jamieson.

With Hamilton also being held to a draw at Palmerston by Queen of the South the results fell in the Taysiders’ favour.

The Bairns could have gone top of the league had results fallen for them, and began with the same team that started the second half so well at Stark’s Park in last week’s 4-2 win over Raith Rovers. However the same formation didn’t last long and from a 3-5-2 Luke Leahy soon moved up and helped play a 4-4-2.

The Bairns made a handful of chances but couldn’t take any. Phil Roberts was in the mood against the team he tore apart earlier in the season with a perfect hat-trick, and he took on a perfectly weighted first-time pass from Mark Millar that sliced the Livi defence apart from 40 yards away. Roberts took the shot on with the outside of his foot, but Darren Jamieson tipped it round the post.

Rory Loy was just as close with a clever turn and shot that flew to the opposite side of Jamieson’s goal. Then Millar fired a free-kick that deceived everyone and a late lunge from Jamieson parried the ball clear. Another one from the midfielder from 25 yards was well held as it dipped just under his bar.

Howeever that came after the visitors’ opener. They had onl,y threatened once hwhen Keaghan Jacobs snapped away at Johnny Flynn and Michael McGovern and then nibbled again as the goalkeeper recovered the ball on the ground, but itb was a counter-attack on the visitors left through Jason Talbot that caused problems and his cross was headed in off the post by Marc McNulty.

The Bairns had had the better of the first half yet were behind and they had the better of the second too. Livingston hardly exited their half of the field throughout and Conor McGrandles was an early driving force for the hosts. But his role switched when Craig Sibbald came on and he took centre stage, ably assisted by Blair Alston.

Sibbald laid on a greta ball for Loy on 79 minutes and the striker ran in one-on-one with Jamieson but probably had too much time to think about his shot and tamely slid it at the goalkeeper with one side of the net enticing him.

But it worked out in the end and the equaliser came. It was Alston who stabbed the Bairns level on 82 minutes when Millar inadvertently blocked Loy’s shot at goal after good build-up from the teenage sub.

Then Sibbald was fouled by Mensing in the box and the Bairns had a last gasp penalty with minutes to go. A melee in the box held up the spot-kick and saw Phil Roberts red-caded in the fracas. He was set to miss next week’s crunch with Hamilton anyway - as will Millar. And the Bairns midfielder couldn’t leave his team-mates a parting gift as his spot-kickw as blocked by Jamieson’s legs.