Livingston 0 Falkirk 1: Bairns win worth the wait

Tom Taiwo
Tom Taiwo

Falkirk were made to wait for a greatly deserved fourth win in a row with a classy Blair Alston goal.

But the Bairns were forced to hang on for the victory in the second half having failed to capitalise on their domination and held their slender lead until the end.

They were made to wait anyway as the game did not get the green light until less than two hours from the scheduled kick-off.

The pitch passed a couple of inspections at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and the late confirmation of the match taking place impacted on the attendance of 1176.

While Falkirk were seeing off Hibs last week Livingston thumped Raith Rovers 5-1 in Kirkcaldy and they started with attacking intent as Mark Burchill’s header ruffled Jamie MacDonald’s side netting, but the best of the opening came on 167 minutes when Will Vaulks fired a good strike from 25 yards off the base of the post.

Falkirk were creating, particulrly Craig Sibbald and Will Vaulks and it was the former who was on the end of some rough treatment from the home side in a bid to curb his enthusiasm.

The tactic worked, but only in removing Sibbald from the focal point of Falkirk’s midfield, not in stopping Falkirk creating.

A lot was coming down Luke Leahy and the left side and he was the creator for the goal in the 27th m,inute when he ran on to a Will Vaulks pass and fed the ball into Tom Taiwo.

A one-touch lay-off from the former Chelsea man fell perfectly for Alstopn and from an angle he tucked it just inside the post for the opener.

It was stylish stuff at times from Falkirk, Loy found Sibbald with a back-heel and the midfielder’s charge rewarded Biabi with a low cut-back but the striker seemed unprepared for the supply and though he tried to mak the best of a bad first touch he managed to keep Livingston panicking in the box and the Biairns kept the home side penned into their penalty area.

The Bairns continued to seek the second goal and McCracken went close to his second strike in as many games but hit the post, and then a decent volley from Sibbald was deflected out by the panicked Livingston defence.

Falkirk should havce been out of sight given their superiority, but they weren’t though the attacking continued from the resumption of the game for the second half.

Craig Sibbald stung the palms of Darren Jamieson with a drive and a cut-back from Loy for Tom Taiwo was nicked away. Jamie MacDonald at the other end was untroubled.

There was a bizarre incident 12 minutes into the second half when Simoinb Mensing bodychecked and blocked and pulled Botti Biabi. Despite clearly impeding the forward, ref Barry Cook awarded the foul for the benefit of Mensing.

As the tempetrature plummeted so to did the football quality and the Bairns were left hanging on rather than cruising to the victory their hour or so merited.

The Bairns were slick but the finished article wasn’t there when it came to beating Darren Jamieson but the performance was enough to warm the away fans, many of whom will not travel to next week’s Dumbarton 5.30 p.m. kick off in protest at the SPFL scheduling.

Livingston: Jamieson, Mensing, Fordyce, Jacobs, Gallagher, Beaumont, White, Glen (Ogleby 83), Mullen (Hippolyte 83), Burchill (McKenna 72), Rutherford. Subs: Paul Grant, Sives, Praprotnik, Currie.

Falkirk: MacDonald, Duffie, McCracken, Vaulks, Taiwo (Cooper 82), Alston, Sibbald, Peter Grant, Leahy, Biabi, Loy. Subs: Bowman, Smith, Dick, Grant, Shaughnessy, Shepherd.