Livingston 0 – 2 Motherwell

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Livi battled hard before succumbing to two second-half goals as Premiership outfit Motherwell left the Energy Assets Arena with a pre-season victory.

Mark Burchill made three changes to the Livi side which lost out narrowly to Real Sociedad on Monday night as Morgyn Neill, Spas Georgiev and Liam Buchanan were replaced by Ben Gordon, Hugo Faria and Jordan White.

19201637643_91caf69e73_zIt was the Lions who started the brighter and came close inside three minutes when a free kick was cleared only as far as Scott Pittman and he fired an effort in from 25 yards out which flew just over the bar. Motherwell’s first chance came soon after as Wes Fletcher drove in a shot from Craig Moore’s cross which was deflected just wide, the resulting corner coming to nothing. White then came close for Livi as his shot on the turn trickled just wide of the post.

Motherwell’s next chance came on 12 minutes as Lionel Ainsworth, the star of the Steelmen’s emphatic play-off win over Rangers, turned his man and unleashed a rocket from 25 yards out which flew just past the post. A good chance came Livi’s way on 23 minutes as Myles Hippolyte turned inside the box but could only fire his shot straight at Dan Twardzik in the visitors’ goal. Up the other end Marvin Johnson’s cross just evaded Fletcher at the front post as Motherwell went close again.

Hippolyte tried his luck from distance which flew high over the crossbar before Gordon met a corner with a header that drifted into Twardzik’s gloves. That proved to be the final chance of the half as the sides went in at the break all-square.

The two sides were unchanged as the second half got underway and the first chance fell to the visitors as Moore’s free kick came back to him off the wall and he fired an effort just over the bar. Hippolyte was denied again on 58 minutes as he found space inside the Well box but saw his shot charged down by Louis Laing.

19827382171_a3a24113bc_zThe Lions were punished less than a minute later as Ainsworth latched onto a ball over the top, controlled it well and slammed a low shot across goal into the far corner of the net to give Motherwell the lead. The visitors were lifted by breaking the deadlock and attacked at will, Ainsworth turning provider with a low cross which David Clarkson missed by inches. Livi made their first changes on 66 minutes as Hippolyte and Gordon were replaced by Neill and Georgiev.

The subs barely had a chance to make an impact before Motherwell doubled their lead as Ainsworth flicked the ball out wide to Luke Watt and the right back fired the ball home from a narrow angle for 2-0. Livi boss Burchill responded with three further changes as Gary Glen, Ryan Currie and Jordyn Sheerin replaced Pittman, Craig Sives and Danny Mullen.

Livi nearly pulled a goal back on 78 minutes as White found space and fired in a low shot which was well blocked by visitors’ defender David Ferguson. Motherwell charged straight up the other end and came within inches of a third goal when the influential Ainsworth clipped the ball across goal for Louis Moult who headed against the crossbar. The Livi defence switched off for a moment and almost allowed Moult to score but Jamieson did enough to slide the ball away from the advancing striker and keep the score at 2-0.

That was the final action of the match as Motherwell left Livi with a victory. Nevertheless it was another encouraging performance by the developing Lions as they gear up for the start of their Petrofac Cup defence against Clyde next weekend.

Livingston: Jamieson, Millen, Longridge, Gordon, Sives, Trialist, Gibbons, White, Mullen, Pittman, Hippolyte
Subs: Quinn, Neill, Glen, Georgiev, Sheerin, Currie, Knox

Motherwell:
Twardzik, Hammell, Laing, Ainsworth, Pearson, Fletcher, Johnson, Lasley, Kennedy, Moore, Watt
Subs: B.Long, McManus, Chalmers, Clarkson, Moult, J.Leitch, Thomas, Cadden, Ferguson
Goals: Ainsworth (59), Watt (72)

Match report: Andrew Crawford

Half Time Draw
1st 133232
2nd 131545
3rd 132198

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