Saturday 8 March 2014

1 - 1
Alston (82)
HT 0-1
McNulty (35)

Having got back to winning ways last weekend against Cowdenbeath, the Lions came within eight minutes of another victory before the game transpired into chaos with the Bairns equalising and being reduced to 10 men before Jamieson saved a last minute penalty to ensure Livi came home with a point to their name.

John McGlynn was forced into making one change from the side that beat Cowdenbeath as an injury to Burton O’Brien meant he missed out and was replaced by Craig Sives, making only his second start since joining back in January.

Falkirk looked the livelier of the sides in the early stages and twice went close to going ahead in the opening twenty minutes.

A slack pass from Martin Scott was intercepted by Falkirk and Mark Millar reacted quickly to thread a pass through the Livi backline to send Phil Roberts one-on-one with Darren Jamieson but the ‘keeper done excellently to push his shot wide. Roberts then turned provider shortly afterwards as he collected a pass from David McCracken and fed the ball to Rory Loy but he fired his effort the wrong side of Jamieson’s left hand post.

Given the fact the Lions had lost to Falkirk in all three meetings already this season, you could have forgiven the Livi faithful for thinking this early pressure was a sign of what was to come but to their surprise, it was the away side that went in front.

Jason Talbot picked the ball up on the left and ran at his defender before whipping a cross into the box where Marc McNulty rose highest to bullet a header in off the post and give Livi the lead.

Falkirk continued to dominate the remainder of the half despite going a goal behind and Stephen Kingsley was next to test Jamieson with a long range effort but the ‘keeper saved well. A long ball into the box from McCracken then gave Mark Beck a headed opportunity but he didn’t connect well and his effort dropped over the bar.

As the half drew to a close, Talbot had a glorious chance to double Livi’s advantage. Scott floated a corner in from the right and no-one tracked Talbot’s run in to the box but despite having a free header ten yards from goal, he nodded the ball wide and Falkirk breathed a huge sigh of relief not to find themselves two down at the break.

Into the second half and wave after wave of Falkirk attacks begun as the home side looked to draw level. Will Vaulks fizzed a ball across the face of the goal but Jamieson gathered as Leahy and Beck desperately tried to divert the ball towards goal. Vaulks long throw-in was then met by McCracken but he couldn’t get enough on it to trouble the ‘keeper.

Substitute Craig Sibbald then lofted a ball over the Lions defence to send Loy racing down on goal but his shot was soft and Jamieson was able to save with ease. From the resultant kick out, McNulty had a chance to double the Livi advantage, latching on to the ball after Jonathan Flynn slipped but he sent his chipped effort wide of the post.

With all this Falkirk pressure, it was no real surprise when, with eight minutes left, the Bairns drew level. Loy’s shot from the edge of the area ricocheted off the legs of Millar and landed kindly for Blair Alston who poked the ball beyond Jamieson to square the game.

With emotions running high with a goal coming late in the game, pandemonium then ensued. A ball into the box was flicked on by Loy and as Sibbald looked to control the ball, he went down under pressure from Simon Mensing and referee Bobby Madden pointed to the spot. Angry at what he appeared to believe was a dive, Mensing confronted Sibbald and resultantly sparked a ver-near 22-man melee in the Falkirk box.

In amongst the pushing and shoving, Madden adjudged Roberts to have aimed a head-butt at Talbot and sent the striker off.

Once everyone calmed down, up stepped Mark Millar to take the penalty but Jamieson, despite diving the wrong way, saved the kick with his feet before getting back up to smother Vaulks rebounded shot.

Flynn then had a last chance for Falkirk to nick all three points but he could only head over after Millar picked him out at the back post from a free-kick.

A manic ending to a game that the Lions came so close to winning. Having been soundly beaten in our last trip to the Falkirk Stadium, a point and a much improved performance will have pleased McGlynn ahead of another tough game at home to Dundee next weekend.

Falkirk: McGovern, Vaulks, McCracken, Flynn, Kingsley (Chalmers 45), McGrandles, Millar, Leahy (Sibbald 64), Roberts, Beck (Alston 71), Loy
Subs not used:
Duffie, Durojaiye, Bowman, Shepherd

Livingston: Jamieson, Fordyce, Kn.Jacobs, Ky.Jacobs, McNulty, Mensing, Scott, Sives, Habai (Barrowman 67 (Burchill 72)), Mevlja, Talbot
Subs not used:
Denholm, Walker, Wilkie, Propratnik, Mullen

Referee: Bobby Madden

Attendance: 2924

Match report: Dave Black