Livingston 1 Falkirk 2: Bairns’ positive reaction

Will Vaulks is delighted with his winner, set up by David Smith. Picture by Michael Gillen.
Will Vaulks is delighted with his winner, set up by David Smith. Picture by Michael Gillen.

Falkirk moved to second in the SPFL Championship with a hard-worked 2-1 win over Livingston.

Two excellent strikes from full-backs Luke Leahy and Will Vaulks moved the Bairns into second place in the SPFL Championship and maintained their unbeaten league opening.

Peter Houston had said he wanted a reaction after the midweek Petrofac Cup exit, and he got it.

The Bairns, in a 4-3-3 formation were the dominant side in a testy first half midfield battle and should have been more than one goal up at half-time.

But what a goal it was.

On 16 minutes Paul Watson put in a tough challenge in midfield to win possession and Will Vaulks hooked a cross-field pass from right-back over the head of Livingston’s own right-back. There Luke Leahy chested the ball infront of him, let the ball bounce before taking a shot, in his stride that arced perfectly and swerved wickedly into the top corner.

The Bairns found great success down the right-wing with low crosses causing problems in the Livi rearguard but they were not converted when all they needed was a touch.

Blair Alston was both providing the chances and trying to get on the end of those created by others and he had a header nodded off the line by Jackson Longridge from a David Smith delivery.

The misses were exposed when Danny Mullen scrambled in a leveller for Livingston in the polar opposite of Leahy’s spectacular strike.

Danny Rogers left his line to collect a Gary Glen cross but was challenged in the air by Mullen and Jordan white and the smaller of the forward duo got enough on the ball to divert it into the net. The Bairns goalkeeper looked for a free-kick from ref Andrew Dallas in vain.

Within a minute Falkirk again went close. Sibbald headed unmarked against the post from John Baird’s cross.

Infact it took ten minute for Falkirk to restore their lead.

John Baird earned the Bairns a corner taken by Sibbald. Paul Watson flicked on at the front post but Ben Gordon beat Peter Grant to the second at the backpost. The ball was only cleared wide though and driven back into the box by David Smith and thumped into the net by Will Vaulks, front and centre of the penalty box.

The Bairns had late chances through Baird as the Bairns broke from Livingston’s press for another equaliser, but they move to second in the league with the win and atone for the midweek misery.