With maximum points from the three previous meetings against today’s hosts, The Lions were confident of making it a clean sweep over Brechin.
However City had lost only one of their last five matches, so the league leaders knew that they would be no pushovers.
Livi made two changes from last week’s win against Airdrie, with Sean Crighton and Nicky Cadden returning to the starting eleven, replacing Jackson Longridge and Josh Mullin. There was also a much anticipated return to the squad for Keaghan Jacobs, who was fit after the injury that delayed his debut to mark his second spell at the club.
The visitors started the better, with a couple of chances in the first few minutes. Declan Gallagher headed wide from a corner, and then a few moments later a golden opportunity was put wide by Cadden at the back post from close range. It was a promising start for the league leaders, who looked eager to seize the initiative.
Livi’s early dominance paid off and they were rewarded with a goal in the 11th minute. A driven cross from Crighton found its way to Buchanan, who pounced on a loose ball to put The Lions 1-0 up from 10 yards.
Livi continued to play well, but the next chance fell to the hosts. Former Lion Liam Watt worked some space on the edge of the box, but his low shot was matched by Liam Kelly and the keeper dived to his right to stop the low shot. Half chances fell to Scott Pittman, Danny Mullen and Nicky Cadden, who all saw shots go off target before half time. It was a solid performance from Livingston, but City were certainly not out of it as the visitors looked for that crucial second goal.
HT: Brechin 0-1 Livingston
The opening few minutes of the second half were evenly balanced. Brechin were looking to get back level, yet the Lions looked threatening whenever they had the ball. A speculative shot from Aron Lynas of Brechin was the home side’s only real chance, before Liam Buchanan made it two for the day and twenty five for the season with a fantastic finish to beat Smith at his front post.
The striker received the ball wide on the right hand side, turned his marker in the penalty area and hammered the ball into the top corner before Smith in the Brechin goal could react. That goal means that Liam Buchanan now holds the Livi record for most goals scored in a season, which was previously held by Iain Russell.
With five games of the season still to play, Buchanan will be confident of adding to his total.
A warm welcome was given to Keaghan Jacobs on the hour mark, as he replaced Raffaele De Vita. Brechin made a change of their own with around 20 minutes to play, with Alan Trouten coming on to replace Gary Fusco. Trouten nearly made an immediate impact, however his effort was saved by Kelly, who looked comfortable and determined to keep another clean sheet.
Buchanan nearly had a hat trick, but Graeme Smith made a fantastic save from close range to deny the striker. Todorov and Longridge replaced Mullen and Cadden as The Lions looked to freshen things up. They had a great chance to score a third when they were awarded a free kick just outside the box, but Halkett’s effort went wide. Buchanan again had a chance to get his third of the game, only to be denied by Smith.
It was another victory for Livi, and another clean sheet too. More good news followed at full time, with news that second placed Alloa Athletic could only manage a 1-1 draw at home to Albion Rovers. As a consequence, the lead at the top increased to 13 points. This means that a point against the Wasps next Saturday will secure the League One title, and a return to the Championship for the Lions.
Brechin City: Smith, McLean, Lynas, Hill, C.O’Neil, Fusco (Trouten 67), Graham, Dale, Jackson, Watt, Caldwell (Love 79)
Subs not used: Dyer, McCormack, Rodger, Ford, , P.O’Neil
Livingston: Kelly, Crighton, Lithgow, Halkett, Gallagher, Cadden (Longridge 76), Byrne, Pittman, De Vita (Jacobs 60), Mullen (Todorov 71), Buchanan
Subs not used:Maley, Mullin, Knox, Sinclair
Goals:Buchanan (11 & 59)
Referee: Scott Millar
Match Report: Calum Brown