Falkirk 2 – 0 Livingston

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Livi’s Falkirk Stadium hoodoo continued as two goals in four second half minutes condemned the Lions to a fourth defeat in five visits.

After an encouraging first half, David Hopkin’s side were caught out by Lee Miller’s double salvo just before the hour mark to leave them eighth in the Championship as the second half of the season got underway.

Caretaker boss Hopkin made four changes to his side from the 4-1 win at St Mirren three days earlier as Darren Jamieson, Myles Hippolyte, Kieran Gibbons and Jordyn Sheerin came in for Marc McCallum, Jackson Longridge, Danny Mullen and Jordan White.

The game started fairly slowly with a long range effort from John Baird, which was easily saved by Jamieson, the only action of note in the early stages as a stiff wind made conditions difficult. Falkirk won a free kick at the edge of the box but Scott Pittman did well to rush out and block as Blair Alston tried to tee up Will Vaulks.

Despite having been under the cosh to begin with, Livi almost took the lead in bizarre circumstances as Morgyn Neill’s looping ball took a high bounce which almost deceived Danny Rogers in the Bairns’ goal but he was able to get back and tip it over. Up the other end, Neill produced an excellent block on the edge of the box before Vaulks sent an effort high over the crossbar.

Livi came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock on 40 minutes when a long throw from Hippolyte was flicked across goal to find Buchanan but he could only send his header against the post. Falkirk headed straight up the other end and Craig Sibbald did well to fashion an opening for himself but sent his shot wide to ensure the sides went in at the break all-square.

Half-time: Falkirk 0-0 Livingston

Livi pushed forward straight from kick-off and Sheerin challenged Rogers for a loose ball which rolled free but the home defence was able to clear. More pressure saw neat passing play between Hugo Faria and Hippolyte end with the latter inches away from releasing Buchanan, denied only by a fine defensive block.

After Livi’s bright start it was almost inevitable that the home side would break the deadlock and so it proved on 56 minutes when Alston got to the byline and sent in a great low ball that left Miller with a simple tap-in to make it 1-0.

The Livi boss reacted quickly to the loss of the goal, sending on Mullen in place of Gibbons, but the change had little time to take effect before the Bairns doubled their lead on the hour mark. Aaron Muirhead whipped in a fantastic cross and that man Miller rose highest to head home his, and Falkirk’s, second.

Livi made their second change shortly after as White came on for Buchanan and came close to pulling one back on 65 minutes when Hippolyte powered in a header which looked certain to find the net until Rogers scooped the ball off the line. Declan Gallagher and Gary Glen then linked up well to send a cross into the box for Mullen who teed up White to fire in a low shot which was deflected wide.

Livi’s final change saw Longridge replace Hippolyte before Sheerin tried his luck from distance with a powerful effort which whistled over the bar. Mullen then let fly with a long range effort of his own which rolled wide of the post. He came even closer moments later with another effort from distance which came back off the post as the Lions’ quest for a consolation goal fell short.

Full-time: Falkirk 2-0 Livingston

Falkirk: Rogers, Leahy, Muirhead, Vaulks, Alston, Baird (O’Hara 74), Sibbald, Kerr, Grant, Miller, Watson
Subs not used: Bowman, Smith, Blair, Shepherd, Sinnamon, Gallagher
Goals: Miller (56 & 60)

Livingston: Jamieson, Gallagher, Gordon, Neill, Glen, Hippolyte (Longridge 83), Faria, Gibbons (Mullen 58), Pittman, Buchanan (White 65), Sheerin
Subs not used: Knox, Currie, Millen

Referee: Don Robertson
Att: 4,248
Match report: Andy Crawford

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