Livi made it three games unbeaten for the first time this season as they ended their Dumbarton jinx to move within one point of the Sons in the fight for Ladbrokes Championship survival.
Goals from Liam Buchanan and Jordan White sealed a first home win over Dumbarton since September 2012 and opened up an 11-point cushion over bottom side Alloa to all-but ensure the Lions will avoid automatic relegation.
David Hopkin made three changes to his side for Livi’s third game in a week as Buchanan, Josh Mullin and Scott Pittman came in for White, Osman Kakay and Danny Mullen and it was the Lions who started the brighter, Mullin’s lobbed cross intercepted by Jamie Ewings as Buchanan looked to get on the end of it. Buchanan then turned provider as he picked the ball up out wide and drilled a low cross which Charlie Telfer was agonisingly close to reaching.
Livi were all over their visitors and Mullin did brilliantly to run the length of the park before playing in Sam Stanton who did well to win a corner. Ewings flapped at the resulting cross but the visitors’ defence was able to clear. The Lions were almost caught out from their own free kick as a rapid counter-attack left Dumbarton two-on-one with Ben Gordon but the Livi defender made a crucial block. They almost shot themselves in the foot again when a loose pass across defence left Tom Walsh clean through but Marc McCallum blocked his effort.
Livi recovered their composure and Mark Fotheringham tried to pick out Mullin and, when Frazer Wright’s header fell to Stanton at the edge of the box, his ambitious volley trundled wide. Dumbarton then passed up a big opportunity to break the deadlock when Callum Waters whipped a corner in and found Mark Docherty but he could only glance his header wide. Livi then counter-attacked from another corner but Buchanan was forced wide and his low cross was smothered by Ewings.
The game had evened out by this point but Livi still posed the greater threat and were rewarded on 28 minutes when Longridge curled in a low cross and, after Wright made a mess of his attempted clearance, Buchanan was on hand to force the loose ball past Ewings at the second attempt and give the Lions the lead.
Dumbarton responded well to the loss of the goal and McCallum had to be alert to save a low drilled effort from Waters. Up the other end, Stanton found himself one-on-one with Ewings but scuffed his effort, allowing Ewings to save with ease. That was the last chance of the half as Livi went in at the break with their lead intact.
Half-time: Livingston 1-0 Dumbarton
Livi started the second half brightly and Fotheringham fired in a shot at goal but it cannoned off Telfer in a crowded box and Dumbarton were able to clear. Telfer then did well to roll the ball across the box but it passed inches in front of Buchanan and he couldn’t stretch to get a vital touch on it. Walsh then tried his luck from distance up the other end but the ball flew harmlessly wide.
Stanton let fly from fully 30 yards with a thunderbolt of a drive which Ewings did well to palm away. The Lions made their first change soon after as Jordyn Sheerin came on in place of Telfer before Dumbarton followed suit as Garry Fleming replaced Walsh. Sons striker Christian Nade was then extremely fortunate to escape with only a yellow card for a late, aggressive challenge on Craig Halkett. Livi then appealed for a penalty for a handball in the box but ref Don Robertson was unmoved.
Livi continued to enjoy a good spell of pressure and Buchanan slipped a neat ball through to release Mullin and he fired a powerful effort inches wide. Dumbarton made their second change as Waters was replaced by Jordan Kirkpatrick before Ben Gordon picked up Livi’s first yellow card. The resulting free kick was taken by Kirkpatrick but his shot was well saved by McCallum.
Dumbarton made their final switch as Donald McCallum came on for Kevin Cawley before Livi’s second change saw White take the place of Buchanan. Within five minutes the change paid dividends as a long kick upfield from McCallum bounced through to White and he showed great composure to clip a neat low finish beyond Ewings and double Livi’s lead. David Hopkin made his final switch just after the goal as Matthew Knox came on for Stanton. After McCallum made a vital save to keep the score at 2-0, Livi countered and Halkett and Fotheringham linked up well to play in White but he could only curl his shot just over.
It mattered little as Livi held on comfortably to secure a second home win of the season and close the gap to eighth place to a single point.
Full-time: Livingston 2-0 Dumbarton
Livingston: McCallum, Halkett, Cole, Gordon, Longridge, Mullin, Telfer (Sheerin 62), Fotheringham, Stanton (Knox 85), Buchanan (White 78), Pittman
Subs not used: Quinn, Currie, Kakay, Neill
Goals: Buchanan (29), White (83)
Dumbarton: Ewings, Docherty, Saunders, Buchanan, Cawley (McCallum 77), Barr, Waters (Kirkpatrick 71), Lindsay, Wright, Walsh (Fleming 62), Nade
Subs not used: Brown, Taggart, Routledge, Hopkins
Referee: Don Robertson
Match Report: Andy Crawford