Falkirk 1-2 Livingston: Rafa de Vita nets extra time winner

Falkirk granted free entry to this Betfred Cup tie to all school pupils successful in their exams but it was Livingston who passed last night's test to reach the quarter-finals.

Livingston's Rafa De Vita celebrates his goal in extra-time to make it 2-1. Picture: Bruce White/SNS
Livingston's Rafa De Vita celebrates his goal in extra-time to make it 2-1. Picture: Bruce White/SNS

Those youngsters who plumped for the more traditional ways to celebrate may have enjoyed a better night out, as both teams did their best to cancel each other out during a tie that betrayed the pair’s new proximity in this season’s Championship.

However, it was substitute Rafa de Vita who proved the star pupil for Livi as they reached the quarter-finals of the competition and moved to within one more win of a trip to Hampden.

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Scott Robinson gaveLivingston the lead after 31 minutes, but that was quickly nullified by James Craigen’s equaliser five minutes before the break and it took until the 11th minute of the first period of extra time to find a winner.

Falkirk could have made the breakthrough in the 27th minute when Livingston keeper Neil Alexander raced from his area to head clear from Nathan Austin but only succeeded in finding
Myles Hippolyte 35 yards out. The former Almondvale striker took a touch and when he directed his effort on goal Craig Halkett raced back to head off the line.

Five minutes later, the Lions roared in front. Josh Mullin intercepted a Craigen pass and released Danny Mullen on the right and his pinpoint centre was lashed into the roof of the net by Robinson.

Falkirk needed a response and got one eight minutes later. Mark Kerr threaded a pass to Craigen, who shrugged off his initial poor touch to pirouette away from the retreating cover and curl a composed finish beyond Alexander.

The second period was more perspiration than inspiration but home substitute Joe McKee came close to a winner with a free-kick that glanced off the top of the crossbar with 17 minutes remaining.

With barely a minute remaining, Falkirk threatened again but Alexander parried away Paul Watson’s effort and Lithgow popped up on the line to hack clear Luca Gasparotto’s follow-up from a tight angle. It was a key moment as De Vita found the extra-time winner to extend the visitors’ unbeaten run to 15 matches.