Livingston got their first home win of the league season after an accomplished performance resulting in a 2-0 victory over 10-man Motherwell. Goals from Bruce Anderson and another Sean Kelly penalty was enough to see off the Lanarkshire side, who lost Lennon Miller shortly before halftime.
Gaffer David Martindale made a host of chances from the side that drew 1-1 with St Johnstone, with Tom Parkes, Jamie Brandon, Mo Sangare and Andrew Shinnie dropping to the bench; Scott Pittman, Stephen Kelly, Daniel MacKay and Luiyi De Lucas taking their place in the starting eleven.
Livi looked a team determined from the off, with a Sean Kelly corner just two minutes in meeting Ayo Obileye in the middle of a packed box. He rose the higher to nod the ball down, however his header was just past the rear post.
Motherwell settled into the game and had a couple of chances of their own, with Theo Bair getting on the end of a through ball, driving into the box, his shot blocked and cleared away for a throw. A cross from the throw found Brodie Spencer who beat Luiyi De Lucas in the air, but his header was wide of the goal, before the linesperson put their flag up for offside.
Dan Casey had a very audacious attempt from near half way tipped over the bar from Shamal George, the youngster spotting the Livi number one off his line and causing a scramble to save his blushes.
The first real talking point of the game came right on half time. Great play by Livingston allowed Dan MacKay to break through the Well defence. Cutting inside Miller, MacKay looked to race through on goal, however was tripped from behind. Referee Don Robertson showed no hesitation in going to his pocket and showing Lennon the red card, reducing the visitors to 10-men.
It took Livingston seven minutes into the second half to make the advantage count. MacKay again was causing problems on the right-hand side, hitting the byline before squaring across the goal line. The slightest of touches was all it needed and it was Bruce Anderson who delivered, slotting the ball beyond Motherwell keeper Liam Kelly to open the scoring.
And by the hour mark it was two. Nouble had the ball at his feet and despite pressure from three Motherwell players managed to get the ball to Stephen Kelly. He in turn slid the ball to Penrice through the legs of the Well defender, perhaps catching Penrice by surprise. He got on the end of the ball none the less and poked the ball to Pittman, however was clattered, with the ref pointing to the spot. Up stepped Sean Kelly who slotted the ball home to the right of his brother Liam for his second penalty in as many games, a carbon copy of his attempt in Perth.
Stuart Kettlewell made a triple substitution in an attempt to breathe some life into a stalling Motherwell team, however it continued to be all Livi in what could only be described as their most comfortable performance of the season. Stephen Kelly had a free kick whistle just over the bar which could have added further insult to injury.
Motherwell would have a chance on 72 minutes, with a beautiful through ball playing in sub Oli Shaw. He attempted to lift his shot over the onrushing George, however the Livi number one kept himself big and made the block despite the offside flag going up.
Two minutes later and Don Robertson was pointing to the spot again. Captain Jason Holt burst into the box from the right wing and was tripped from behind. A VAR check would follow and downgrade the penalty to a freekick on the right-hand side, with the VAR team deeming the initial foul to be outside the box.
Livi made a couple of subs themselves and they had an almost instant impact. Breaking from his own half, Kurtis Guthrie galloped into the box with five minutes to play, and his low cross to Steven Bradley was cheekily backheeled, with his effort falling wide of the near post, much to the relief of the flat-footed Kelly in the Motherwell goal.
The Steelmen thought they had a penalty for themselves deep into stoppage time as Conor Wilkinson was felled in the box, however the Irish defender was deemed to have dived and found his way into the referee’s book, as Livi held on to the clean sheet.
Match Report: David Hastie
George, Obileye, Pittman, Anderson (Guthrie 82), St.Kelly (Shinnie 72), MacKay (Bradley 86), Holt ©️ ▊, Nouble, de Lucas, Sn.Kelly, Penrice
Subs not used:
Kelly ©️, O’Donnell (Gent 67), Mugabi (Shaw 67), Spittal, Slattery, Paton (Zdravkovski 85), Bair (Wilkinson ▊ 67), Casey ▊, McGinn, Spencer ▊, Miller ▊
Subs not used:
|Referee: Don Robertson | HT: 0-0 | Att: 2,039|