Edinburgh City 0-3 Livingston

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Livi got their first win of the competitive season as they marked their historic return to Meadowbank with a comfortable victory over SPFL new-boys Edinburgh City.

Lions boss David Hopkin made two changes from the narrow defeat to St Mirren as Shaun Byrne and Dale Carrick came in for Jordan Sinclair and Liam Buchanan who both dropped to the bench.

The match marked City’s first-ever competitive match as an SPFL side and they showed nerves early on as Livi took control, albeit without forcing too many opportunities. The Lions forced their first chance as a long throw from Craig Halkett found Danny Mullen in the box but he headed just wide. City created their first chance shortly after as a cross from the right was met by Ross Allum who hooked his effort a few feet over the bar.

City almost took the lead in fortunate circumstances on 20 minutes when a free kick was whipped into the far post and Livi defender Alan Lithgow stooped to head the ball just wide of the post. Lithgow then set up an opportunity for his own side at the other end as he headed Nicky Cadden’s free kick down to Carrick but he could only prod his effort wide at the near post.

The deadlock was broken on 27 minutes after a mix-up in the City defence saw Livi awarded an indirect free kick inside the box. Cadden curled in a perfectly-weighted cross which found Josh Mullin unmarked and he headed down and into the net. It was nearly    2-0 shortly after as Byrne showed excellent footwork to find space 25 yards out and curled his shot straight at Gregor Amos.

Livi were almost caught on the break from a corner on 35 minutes and only a brilliant last-ditch challenge from Jackson Longridge prevented City going through 2-on-1 with keeper Liam Kelly. Mullin then set up Halkett who fired in a powerful effort that Amos did well to parry before Joe Mbu beat Carrick to the rebound.

The Lions suffered a real blow on 41 minutes as Cadden, the undoubted star of pre-season, was forced off with an ankle injury to be replaced by Matthew Knox. If the Lions were shaken by the injury blow, they didn’t show it as they went 2-0 up right on half-time when Mullin played a fine ball over the top for Mullen to slot under the advancing Amos and send the Lions in at the break with a comfortable lead.

Half-time: Edinburgh City 0-2 Livingston

Both sides made changes at the interval as Buchanan came on for Mullen for Livi and Domenico Gibson replaced Allum for City. Buchanan quickly linked up with Carrick who drove into the box and fired a powerful effort just over the bar at the near post.

Mikey Miller came within millimetres of his first Livi goal on 53 minutes when he fired in a 30-yard thunderbolt which came crashing back off the inside of the post. Buchanan slotted home the rebound but was denied his first goal of the season by the offside flag. City almost bagged their historic first goal as an SPFL side when substitute Ousman See’s mishit shot fell to Ian McFarland whose fierce effort was tipped over by Kelly, though a goal kick was given.

Buchanan was denied again by the officials on 65 minutes when he headed home Knox’s cross but was penalised for a push on the defender. Livi made their final change a minute later, sending Liam Watt on in place of Carrick. Livi got the killer third goal on 76 minutes and it was third time lucky for Buchanan as, after a bit of pinball in the City box from a corner, he turned Lithgow’s powerful effort in from a little over a yard out.

Livi were cruising now and Watt came close to his first Livi goal on 81 minutes when he curled in a decent effort from 25 yards that Amos pushed wide for a corner. Watt came close again two minutes later when Mullin teed him up and he curled another effort just wide. City were denied their landmark goal on 86 minutes when neat build-up play saw Ousman See played in but his first time effort was brilliantly tipped over by Kelly.

The final chance of the match saw Buchanan wriggle his way into the box and try to beat Amos from a tight angle but the keeper did well to scoop the ball out of play. It mattered little as Livi secured their first win in Group G, negotiating a potential banana skin in the process.

Edinburgh City: Amos, MacDonald, Donaldson, McKee, Mbu, Guthrie (See 61), McFarland (McConnell 82), Gair, Allum (Gibson 45), Cummings, Martyniuk
Subs not used: Paterson, Caddow, Muhsin, Stobie

Livingston: Kelly, Miller, Lithgow, Crighton, Halkett, Longridge, Byrne, Cadden (Knox 41), Mullin, Carrick (Watt 67), Mullen (Buchanan 45)
Subs not used: Jamieson, Sinclair, Pittman, Orr
Goals: Mullin (27), Mullen (45), Buchanan (76)

Referee: Alan Newlands
HT: 0-2
Att: 595

Match report: Andy Crawford

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