Livingston manager David Martindale insisted ‘we are not winding down’ after ending their winless streak with a 2-1 victory over Dundee United, writes David Hastie.
Goals from Bruce Anderson and James Penrice either side of an Ian Harkes strike for the visitors was enough to keep the Tannadice side bottom of the Premiership table with two games remaining.
Despite the poor run of form – which had seen them pick up just seven points from their previous 11 games – Martindale said he had no concerns heading into the clash. He said: “Our home form has been very good this year. I need to brush up on what we are doing away from home.
“I thought in the first half we were a wee bit passive, we didn’t get enough pressure on the ball in the final third. They seemed to play round us and I don’t think we dealt with that very well. We got to half-time, made some changes and a few tweaks and I thought that really helped us.”
It was a lively start from both teams, with the visitors getting a corner in the opening seconds – only for the ball to be cleared into the path of Anderson who held the ball up well and teed up Joel Nouble, but the chance came to nothing.
Despite early pressure from United, it was the hosts who took the lead. A long ball played over the top caused confusion between keeper Mark Birighitti and centre-back Loick Ayina which allowed Anderson to nip in between them. His first touch took him out left but he managed to loop the ball into the empty net.
The Livi fans were on their feet once again just four minutes later when Stephen Kelly’s whipped free-kick found Cristian Montano. His knockdown fell to the feet of Luiyi de Lucas with the Dominican lashing the ball into the back of the net – only for a VAR check to confirm Montano had handled.
Livi took the lead once again just shy of the hour mark when a sliced clearance from Charlie Mulgrew was nodded to Stephen Kelly by Montano. The midfielder duly flicked the ball into the path of Penrice who made no mistake with his left boot as his angled drive restored the home side’s advantage.
Shamal George pulled off a point-blank wonder save in stoppage time to prevent them having to settle for a share of the spoils while United’s afternoon went from bad to worse as Aziz Behich saw a late red for dissent as Livi picked up the points.
Match Report: Callum Carson (Daily Record)
Livingston: George, Devlin, de Lucas, Boyes (Parkes 58), Montaño (Pittman 70), Sn.Kelly ©️ (Brandon 77), Shinnie (Omeonga 45 ▊), St.Kelly, Penrice, Nouble Anderson (Bradley 78 ▊)
Subs not used: Hamilton, Holt
Goals: Anderson (11), Penrice (59)
Dundee Utd: Birighitti, McMann, Mulgrew ©️ (Cudjoe 88), Niskanen ▊, Sibbald (Levitt 76), Middleton (Thomson 65), Behich ▊, McGrath, Harkes (Fotheringham 88), Ayina, MacLeod (Pawlett 65)
Subs not used: Newman, Djoum, Edward, Freeman
Goals: Harkes (21)
Referee: Don Robertson