Livingston rounded of a great season with a comfortable victory at Recreation Park which condemned opponents Alloa to the Third Division play-off.
A young team saw off the opposition with goals from Keaghan Jacobs, Rafaelle De Vita and Iain Russell ensuring Mick Dunlop’s goal was nothing more than a consolation.
Livingston lined up with an unfamiliar team, with Darren Jamieson getting his first appearance in goals for the season, and Ross Docherty making his debut. The team also found a place for Callum Fordyce, with several other U19 players made their way onto the bench.
Both sides opened brightly, with pressure on the defences, but neither wanted to concede and the goalkeepers saw little action.
It was Alloa who were the first to finally threaten seriously, striker Kurtis Byrne seeing two fantastic chances saved by young keeper Jamieson. De Vita attempted to put the Lions ahead a minute later, but after great footwork the popular Italian sent his shot high above the crossbar.
Brown Ferguson saw a free-kick go marginally wide of the post to the relief of the Lions defence.
The linesman came to the Lions rescue with 18 mins on the clock. Jim Lister sent a cross fantastically across the box, but Byrne was adjudged to have handled and the ball was pulled back for a free-kick.
Bobby Barr, on his first start back from injury, had the Lions first major chance with a fantastic shot just tipped over by Wasps’ stopper Jamie Ewings. Lister followed this up moments later, but saw his shot comfortably held by the Lions keeper.
It was the home side that were looking the more threatening, Jamieson coming to the rescue on 29 mins to save a low shot.
Kevin Motion was unlucky not to score with a fantastic volley from 20 yards, but saw his effort go over the cross bar.
De Vita had yet another chance to put the Lions ahead. Bobby Barr sent in a great cross, finding Russell who passed to De Vita, but the resultant shot went too high.
Jamieson yet again came to the Lions rescue. Lister shrugged off the pressure from Paul Watson and sent in a great shot, only to find the confident hands of Jamieson.
It was the visitors who were to open the scoring, Keaghan Jacobs getting on the end of a great team move. Bobby Barr passed to De Vita who sent a low powerful pass across goal, and Jacobs slotted in at the back post from a tight angle.
De Vita had a chance moments before the half time whistle to double the lead, but his 25 yard shot was held by the Alloa keeper.
It was the home side that were to get the first goal of the second half, defender Mick Dunlop getting on the end of a corner and putting the ball past Jamieson.
The Livi side huffed and puffed, but couldn’t find a way through the resolute Alloa defence, and when they did they simply couldn’t find their shooting boots. And it was the home side that looked like scoring, Paul Watson called into action to clear off the line after a great header by substitute James Bloom.
The Lions came close an hour into the game, debutant Ross Docherty sent in a great cross to the head of De Vita, whose header looked bound for the top corner, but Ewings did brilliantly to tip over. Bobby Barr had a number of opportunities to score, but couldn’t find his way past the on-form |Ewings.
With 13 mins left to play, Rafaelle De Vita finally found the back of the net, taking possession of the ball, he turned on the spot and released a powerful shot into the bottom corner.
Alloa continued to pressure as they attempted to get back into the game, Dunlop coming closest, and Jamieson having a number of saves to make, but it was the Lions who were to get the final goal of the game, that condemned their opponents to a play off place. Substitute Stefan Scougall, sent a pass to Iain Russell who charged into space and sent a powerful, low shot straight through the keepers legs.
The game closed off with minor opportunities for both sides, but it was Livi who came out on top.
Livingston played a young and inexperienced side, with 11 of the 16 players either former or current Livi Youth players. For that reason, the quality of the win was all the greater. It was a fond farewell to popular Italian striker Rafaelle de Vita who has been confirmed as leaving, and he played extremely well in his final game. However, its now time to take a break from football, and the Lions will return with a series of home friendlies this summer, with a new look squad. Check out the fixture section for more details.
A special thanks to all the players who will be leaving the team this summer, they have served us well over the last two years.
Alloa Athletic: Ewings, Ferguson, Dunlop, Gibson, Walker, Motion, McGowan, O'Brien (Bloom 46), Lister, Byrne (Noble 74), Scott (Prunty 81)
Subs not used: Robertson, Pitman
Livingston: Jamieson, Docherty, Hamill, Fordyce, Watson, Sinclair (McNulty 74), Kn.Jacobs, Ky.Jacobs, De Vita (Gray 87), Russell, B.Barr (Scougall 67)
Subs not used: Murphy, MacDonald
Report: Chris Naismith