Livi made it two wins out of two in Ladbrokes League One as they won a six-goal thriller with Airdrie at New Broomfield to steal an early march on their promotion rivals.
The Lions hadn’t won their first two league games of a season since 2006 but changed that statistic with a fine performance, though they did have to weather a storm from the Diamonds in the second half.
Livi boss David Hopkin made two changes to his side from the opening day rout of Stranraer as Craig Halkett and Liam Buchanan came in for Morgyn Neill and Josh Mullin.
It was the home side who took control in the early stages but without really threatening and in the end it was the Lions who had the first chance on seven minutes as Mikey Miller found Buchanan and his fierce drive was well held by Rohan Ferguson in the Diamonds goal. Six minutes later the deadlock was broken and it was Livi who got the opener as Pittman’s shot was parried by Ferguson and Danny Mullen was in the right place to bundle home the rebound.
The goal lifted the Lions and they started to gain control, coming close again on 18 minutes when Nicky Cadden curled in a cracking free kick that the home defence did well you clear. Airdrie countered and Liam Kelly had to be alert to collect a corner from Ryan Conroy. Livi went up the other end and won a corner of their own, Sean Crighton meeting Jackson Longridge’s delivery but Daniel Boateng cleared for the home side.
Livi were enjoying a good spell and Miller stung the hands of Ferguson with a volley after Cadden’s free kick had been blocked. Their pressure was finally rewarded on 37 minutes when they doubled their lead as Crighton flicked Alan Lithgow’s long throw on to Buchanan who stabbed home from close range. The last act of the half saw Iain Russell talk his way into referee Mat Northcroft’s book as Livi went in at the interval with a comfortable lead.
Half-time: Airdrieonians 0-2 Livingston
Airdrie came out all guns blazing after the interval in a bid to claw back their deficit and put early pressure on the Lions rearguard with a free kick that Crighton did well to clear, not once but twice. They got their reward on 53 minutes when Andy Ryan ran on to a long ball and slotted past Kelly to reduce the arrears and give his side hope.
Livi responded well to the loss of the goal and Pittman did well to wriggle free and try to set up Buchanan but Ferguson was able to gather. Pittman then came even closer with a back post header that Ferguson did well to tip over, though a goal kick was given. Ryan then passed up a golden chance to equalise when he snatched at a loose ball and dragged his shot wide.
The Lions were still doing most of the pressing and they were rewarded on 58 when Miller reached the byline and drilled in a low cross that was diverted into his own net by the luckless Boateng. It was nearly four on 63 minutes when Lithgow met Cadden’s cross but saw his header deflected into the hands of Ferguson.
Airdrie took advantage of that let off and reduced the arrears again on 65 minutes when Ryan slotted home from a tight angle. Livi reacted well again to losing the goal and almost made it four when, after Sean McIntosh had been booked for fouling Mullen, Cadden curled in a free kick that almost deceived Ferguson but bounced wide.
After surviving a scare when Scott Stewart’s fine low cross found no takers, Livi made their first change as Liam Watt replaced Shaun Byrne. Mullen then tried his luck with a low effort from long range that Ferguson gathered at the second attempt before Josh Mullin came on for Cadden. The two subs were quickly involved, linking up to set up Buchanan who saw his shot blocked.
After weathering some late Airdrie pressure, Livi wrapped up the three points with a clinical counter attack as Buchanan released Mullen down the right and he ghosted past his man before selflessly teeing up Mullin to slot home his second goal of the season and clinch a fine away win for the Lions.
Airdrieonians: Ferguson, Stewart, Boateng, McIntosh*, MacDonald, Conroy (Schmidt 81), Brown (Daly 86), Fitzpatrick, Ryan, Trialist, Russell
Subs not used: Higgins, McLaughlin, Gorman, Scullion, Kerr
Goals: Ryan (53 & 65)
Livingston: Kelly, Miller, Lithgow, Crighton, Longridge, Halkett, Buchanan, Byrne (Watt 75), Pittman, Cadden (Mullin 79), Mullen
Subs not used: Maley, Knox, Neill, Orr, Allan
Goals: Mullen (13), Buchanan (37), Miller (58), Mullin (90)
Referee: Mat Northcroft
Match report: Andy Crawford