Livi suffered a fifth home league defeat in a row as St Mirren escaped West Lothian with a scarcely-deserved victory on a hugely frustrating afternoon at The Tony Macaroni Arena.
The Lions dominated large parts of the match, creating numerous chances, but were left to rue their wastefulness as the Buddies took the three points to leave Mark Burchill’s side six points from safety.
Burchill made two changes to the side that lost narrowly at Dumbarton as Kieran Gibbons and Morgyn Neill came in for Darren Cole and Ross Millen. Jackson Longridge shook off the knock he sustained against the Sons to keep his place in the Lions’ defence.
It was the visitors who forced the first chance of the game inside two minutes when Calum Gallagher fired a shot wide of target. Two minutes later Livi were handed a golden chance to break the deadlock when Liam Buchanan was fouled in the box while challenging for a high ball. He took the kick himself and sent Langfield the wrong way but could only watch on in horror as his penalty came back off the post before being cleared to safety.
Livi would very quickly come to rue that missed opportunity as the Buddies took the lead on 12 minutes with a spectacular goal. Stevie Mallan found space 30 yards out and fired in a sensational strike which dipped over the helpless Marc McCallum and fizzed into the top corner.
Chances were at a premium throughout the remainder of the first half – a Gary Glen effort that flew high and wide was about as close as Livi came. Saints’ Cammy Howieson also sent in a long range effort which McCallum parried out for a corner to ensure Livi went in at the break just the one goal behind.
Half-time: Livingston 0-1 St Mirren
Livi started the second half strongly and Jordyn Sheerin passed up a golden chance on 53 minutes when he did brilliantly to muscle his way through the Saints defence but he floated his angled effort wide of the near post. Mark Burchill then made his first change as he sent on Jordan White in place of Gibbons.
Another huge chance went begging for the Lions three minutes later when Sheerin wriggled his way into space inside the six yard box but put too much on his shot and it flew over the bar. He came close again when he did well to beat his man and power a header goalwards but Langfield held it comfortably. The big frontman then saw an effort cleared off the line barely two minutes later as his frustrating afternoon continued.
After Buchanan forced a point blank save from Langfield, there was a moment of controversy soon after when Sheerin went down in the box and was shown a yellow card for diving. Saints substitute Paul McMullan was penalised for the same offence shortly after.
Despite their best efforts, it became clear this was not going to be Livi’s day and the Buddies saw out the rest of the game to pick up their second win of the season.
Full-time: Livingston 0-1 St Mirren
Next up for the Lions is a Tuesday night trip to Ibrox in the Petrofac Training Cup quarter-finals before we head south to Dumfries for a league encounter with Queen of the South on Saturday.
Livingston: McCallum, Gordon, Gallagher, Neill, Longridge, Pittman, Faria, Gibbons (White 58), Glen (Georgiev 82), Sheerin, Buchanan
Subs not used: Jamieson, Millen, Currie, Duckrell
St Mirren: Langfield, Kelly, Webster, Baird, Cuddihy, Goodwin, Howieson (McMullan 55), Mallan, Agnew (Carswell 82), Thompson (Mclear 90), Gallagher
Subs not used: Conlan, , Morgan, McGrath, Wilks
Goals: Mallan (12)
Referee: Don Robertson
Match Report: Andy Crawford