LYLE Taylor improved his already remarkable goalscoring ratio with a brace as Falkirk eased to a comfortable victory over Livingston.
The Englishman – taking his tally for the season to 25 goals in only 30 appearances – headed home either side of the half-time break.
Steven Pressley’s Bairns ended a three-game barren sequence against the West Lothian outfit with a victory that left them – albeit having played one more match – only three points behind the fifth-placed Lions.
For Livingston, this game had been crucial to their fading hopes of reaching the table’s summit come May. The Falkirk groundsman tried to make up for the lack of grass by laying tonnes of sands across the pitch. It certainly did not have any aesthetic value but both teams, to their credit, tried to remain true to their footballing principles.
David Weatherson’s reward for scoring a last-gasp weekend winner against Dunfermline was an elevation to the starting XI, while Livingston were again without injured marksman Marc McNulty with a hamstring strain as Lions manager Gareth Evans showed faith in the same players who beat Cowdenbeath 3-0 on Saturday.
Falkirk were by far the more dangerous in the first half and should have gone in front on the half-hour mark. Blair Alston led the counter-attack from a Lions corner and played in Thomas Grant with a delightful pass.
The midfielder had Andy McNeil bearing down on him at speed and his dink clipped the goalkeeper and bounced just past. But Taylor had the Bairns ahead six minutes before the break with a poacher’s finish. Grant’s inswinging corner was flicked on by Stewart Murdoch and Taylor headed into the roof of the net.
The second goal arrived in the 63rd minute. Grant floated in a left-footed free-kick and Taylor headed past McNeil.
Falkirk: McGovern, Duffie, Kingsley, Dods, Flynn, Murdoch, Grant (Sibbald 82), Alston (Fulton 90), Taylor, McGrandles, Weatherston. Subs not used: Dick, Small, Barrowman.
Livingston: McNeil, Watson (Jacobs 41), McCann, Garcia Tenna, Barr, O’Brien, Andreu, Fox, Morton (Mullen 57), Scougall, Russell. Subs not used: Booth, Gray, Jamieson.
Referee: I Brines. Attendance: 2,583