Livi provided a perfect riposte to the disappointing defeat to Albion Rovers as they easily beat promotion rivals Alloa to leapfrog the Wasps into second place in Ladbrokes League One.
After watching his side struggle to break down a well-drilled Rovers defence in the 2-1 reverse, Lions boss David Hopkin’s made two changes to his starting XI as Alan Lithgow returned from suspension in place of Shaun Byrne and returning hero Raffaele de Vita made his second Livi debut as he came in for Josh Mullin.
The first chance of the match went to the visitors inside the first minute and Livi were grateful to keeper Liam Kelly for a fine save as Adam Martin drove at the Lions defence and fired in a powerful effort that Kelly did brilliantly to push over the bar. Livi forced their first chance on six minutes as Nicky Cadden’s corner found Danny Mullen but the ball came off his shoulder and drifted harmlessly wide.
Another corner a minute later saw Lithgow head back across goal for Sean Crighton but his header was saved by Parry. The Lions passed up a golden chance to go in front on 10 minutes when Cadden’s drive was parried out to Mullen but the ball came at him too quickly and he could only turn the rebound wide.
Alloa wasted a decent chance to take the lead on 23 minutes when a corner fell kindly for Andy Graham in the box but he could only shoot straight at Kelly. The game hit a bit of a lull after that and the biggest cheer of the match came when the ball bounced out of play and landed perfectly in a rubbish bin in front of the main stand!
The football took over again and the final chance of the half fell to Livi as Pittman was brought down 25 yards from goal. Crighton took the free kick but his powerful strike was deflected wide by the wall. Crighton was then involved in a nasty clash of heads with Graham which saw the Alloa defender forced off with a nasty cut to his head – he was replaced by Pat Scullion.
Graham was furious at having been taken off as he thought it was only because of the blood on his shirt – it transpired that he had no recollection of having been knocked out at the time. The rest of the players followed him up the tunnel soon after as the teams went in at the interval all square.
Half-time: Livingston 0-0 Alloa Athletic
Alloa had the first chance of the second half as Greig Spence latched on to a short back pass but Kelly narrowed the angle and saved well. Mikey Miller picked up a yellow card for a foul on Kevin Cawley on 52 minutes but made up for it three minutes later when gave the Lions the lead. The ball fell to Miller 25 yards out and he fired in a low shot that took a slight deflection on its way past Parry into the bottom corner.
After Mullen picked up a yellow card, Livi doubled their lead on 62 minutes when De Vita played a sumptuous ball over the top for Buchanan and he ran clear before placing his shot perfectly into the far corner, leaving Parry with no chance. With the game all but over, Livi took the opportunity to make some changes as Josh Mullin, Liam Watt and Shaun Byrne came on for Cadden, Mullen and De Vita.
The seal was set on another fine win for the Lions right on 90 minutes when Buchanan picked the ball up on the left hand side of the box and showed terrific skill to turn inside his my before curling a glorious finish beyond Parry into the corner o the net for his 11th goal of the season.
There was still time for Liam Kelly’s hopes of a first league clean sheet of the season to be dashed as, deep in added time, a clumsy challenge from Craig Halkett left ref Stephen Finnie with little alternative than to point to the spot. Spence sent Kelly the wrong way from 12 yards but it proved to be little more than scant consolation for Jim Goodwin’s side.
As soon as the match restarted, the final whistle was blown and Livi were able to celebrate another fine win over a promotion rival ahead of the top-of-the-table showdown at Brechin in the next game.
Full-time: Livingston 3-1 Alloa Athletic
Livingston: Kelly, Miller, Longridge, Lithgow, Halkett, De Vita (Byrne 80), Cadden (Mullin 64), Pittman, Buchanan, Crighton, Mullen (Watt 69)
Subs not used: Sinclair, Neill, Carrick, Knox
Goals: Miller (55), Buchanan (62 & 90)
Alloa Athletic: Parry, Taggart, Waters, Graham (Scullion 45), Marr, Goodwin (Donnelly 78), Cawley, Robertson, Spence, Kirkpatrick, Martin (Longworth 63)
Subs not used: McDowall, Holmes, Hoggan, Wilson
Goals: Spence (90 pen)
Referee: Stephen Finnie
Match report: Andy Crawford