IN A dull match with plenty of industry but little inspiration, Livingston can be proud of their battling performance to stay in the contest despite losing both a goal and a player in the 25th minute.
Rory Loy, pictured, dispatched the penalty that was won when Coll Donaldson took down Connor McGrandles just inside the box. The centre back was given his marching orders and the visitors, who’d started the much better of the two sides, were threatening to turn the game into a rout.
Instead, Livingston battled back and almost got the point their efforts deserved when Marc McNulty’s late shot beat the goalkeeper but was cleared off the line by Will Vaulks.
“We should have started the match with ten men,” quipped Livingston boss John McGlynn.
“You can’t start like that against a team like Falkirk, although I thought we had weathered the storm just before the penalty. But after the red card I thought we dominated and had two great chances to equalise before half-time.”
Both those opportunities fell to former Celtic and Dunfermline forward Mark Burchill. Starting in place of the injured Andrew Barrowman, the veteran striker went through on goal twice in the space of five minutes. On each occasion he tried to lift the ball over the advancing Michael McGovern, with one effort drifting over the bar and the other parried by the goalkeeper.
Falkirk, who’d been so impressive in an opening ten minute spell when they had three excellent chances to take the lead, had taken their foot off the gas, believing the job was done.
“I had a few harsh words with them at half-time,” revealed manager Gary Holt. “In the end, however, I can’t fault their effort and commitment after the break. Sure we may not have passed it as well as we would have liked, but you’re going to get that in football.”
Despite losing David McCracken to a half-time injury, the visitors stayed solid in defence in the second half, with McNulty’s injury-time effort the only chance of note.