Barr and Lions gutted after Bairns take spoils

LIVINGSTON defender Craig Barr says Falkirk’s winner was a soul-destroying way to lose a hard fought match, as Gary Bollan’s side succumbed to only their second home league defeat of the season yesterday at the Braidwood Motor Company Stadium.

The second placed visitors came out on top in front of a bumper crowd of 2,967 as Farid El Alagui gave Steven Pressley’s side the lead early on before Marc McNulty smashed home to level for the Lions. A controversial Kallum Higginbotham free kick was then deflected in for the Bairns with 18 minutes left on the clock.

Barr – who was penalised for the foul that led to the winner – reckons the award of the set piece was the wrong decision by referee Brian Winter, and that Livi’s failure to stay at least level for longer was a sucker punch as the match headed towards its end.

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He said: “Falkirk are a good side, don’t get me wrong, but I think we all went off into the dressing room thinking we could have got something out of the game, especially in the second half.

“In the first half I think we weren’t great, but in the second half we came out of the traps a lot quicker. We just didn’t manage to hold ourselves level for long enough.

“I felt the free kick was soft. Their lad’s broken away and passed the ball, and after he’s passed the ball he’s ran into me and bounced off me but the referee’s given a free kick.

“It’s hard to take, and then when the free kick is taken it hits off Mark Fotheringham and then Paul Watson to come back in to the goal. It just didn’t seem to be our day from that side of things – it’s soul-destroying to be honest with you.

A large travelling support and healthy home turnout saw the match host Livi’s biggest attendance for a league game in over five years, and the early stages saw the home side on top as Bobby Barr forced Michael McGovern into a fine save and Kenny Deuchar headed wide from a Keaghan Jacobs cross.

Falkirk responded and took the lead on 13 minutes. The Lions didn’t deal with a David Weatherston chip across goal and the prolific El Alagui nodded beyond Andy McNeil.

Kyle Jacobs saw a speculative cross-cum-shot drift just over as Livi tried to hit back despite losing Deuchar and Maurice Ross to injury.

Only minutes after the restart sub Iain Russell saw his header from a Bobby Barr cross zip wide of the post, and then McNeil twice did well to keep Livi in the game. Livi got their equaliser after 66 minutes when McNulty and Falkirk stopper Dods battled for the ball, and the young striker turned his marker to fire low beyond McGovern. But the lead lasted only six minutes as Higginbotham’s winning free kick snuck past McNeil.