Falkirk edged out Livingston in a thrilling game of two halves at The Falkirk Stadium. The home side shot into a three goal lead in the first half before the Lions brought it back to parity. Falkirk scored the final goal of the game less than 5 mins before the final whistle to make sure all three points stayed in Falkirk.
It was the visitors who opened the game brighter, having two excellent opportunities to open the scoring in the first three minutes. Marc McNulty had an excellent solo effort saved by Michael McGovern before Kenny Deuchar shot fractionally wide from a well placed low cross by winger Bobby Barr. Jason Talbot then put in a well placed cross, but no one was there to connect with the ball.
The game turned in favour in the of the home side as a defensive mistake on 11 minutes by Paul Watson and Andy McNeil, both leaving the ball to each other, allowed the prolific Farid Alagui to step in and slot the ball in leaving the Livi keeper no chance.
Bobby Barr came close to equalising, but failed to make contact with a Jason Talbot cross in front of goal.
It was only minutes before the Bairns doubled their lead thanks to an own goal by Jonathon Brown credited to Murray Wallace. The Falkirk No5 sent in an excellent shot after a corner, which the Livi defender could only turn into his own net from close range.
Stewart Murdoch almost added to the Bairn’s tally, but his effort found a wall of Livi defenders.
The home side added to their goals before half time however, another own goal by Livi defender Jonathon Brown. A cross by David Weatherston 35mins in was set to be comfortably saved by Andy McNeil, but Brown slid the ball into his own net in what was a disastrous appearance for the young right-back.
Bollan took off Brown at half time replacing him with striker Rory Boulding as the Lions fought to regain the game. The half began brightly for the Lions, Keaghan Jacobs had an effort deflected wide and penalty calls were turned down after Kenny Deuchar was taken down in the box.
It was 11mins into the second half when Bobby Barr scored Livi’s first goal. The nippy winger, stole the ball about 30yds from goal after a mistake by Murdoch and proceeded on a mazy run towards and across goal before dispatching the ball into the opposite corner of the net.
Falkirk tried to extend their lead with Blair Alston shooting just past the post from 20yds.
Keaghan Jacobs scored the Lions second goal with 61mins on the clock. In a quick counter attack, Bobby Barr played an excellent ball for Keaghan Jacobs to charge down the centre onto, from which he sidestepped Stephen Kingsley before sending a powerful effort into the top corner.
Boulding had a chance to equalise for the Lions, shooting straight into the keeper’s hands from a Bobby Barr pass just outside the box. It was Mark Fotheringham who equalised for the Lions with a perfect free kick after Bobby Barr was taken down just outside the box.
The Lions continued to push in search of a winner, defender Paul Watson aiming to make amends for earlier saw his header go just over from a corner and Kenny Deuchar shot just wide from a Bobby Barr lay off.
It was however the home side that were to take all three points as the Lions were caught on the break. A long goal kick by McGovern was passed on by Kalum Higginbotham for David Weatherston to slot past McNeil with very little time for the Lions to equalise.
It was a cruel blow for the visitors who had fought so hard to make up for the mistakes of the first half. The young side showed real fighting spirit to come back from three goals down and turned a hammering into a highly exciting game. Bobby Barr put in a man of the match performance, playing a strong part in all three goals. The team should be proud of their performance despite the defeat.
Falkirk: McGovern, Bennett, Dods, Wallace, Kingsley, Murdoch, M.Millar, Alston (R.Millar 84), Weatherston, El Alagui, Higgenbotham
Subs not used: Bowman, J.Fulton, D.Fulton, Graham
Livingston: McNeil, Brown (Boulding 46), Talbot, Fotheringham, C.Barr, Watson, Ky.Jacobs, Kn.Jacobs, Deuchar (A.Russell 87), McNulty, B.Barr
Subs not used: Travis, Cummings, Jamieson
Ref: B Colvin
Match report by Chris Naismith