Saturday 6 August 2011

Livingston 2 - 2 Queen of the South
HT (0 - 2)

Queen of the South were our opponents as we opened our 2011/2012 league campaign with an eventful 2-2 draw, coming back from two goals down to snatch a point.

Rory Boulding, looking to add to his goal tally after his strike against Arbroath last week, was the creator of the first chance of the game. Boulding collected Bobby Barr's pass down the wing and tussled with Queens defender Ryan McGuffie. After checking outside, the frontman fired a cross-come-shot across the face of goal but ex-Lions 'keeper Roddy McKenzie parried the ball to safety.

This was to prove to be one of very few chances for Livi in the first-half and shortly after, Queens found themselves 1-0 up. Paul Watson's wayward clearance was pounced upon by Tom Brighton. His pass inside was only half-cleared by Jason Talbot and the ball made it's way to captain Stephen Simmons. He played the ball wide to Kevin Smith and his whipped cross was headed beyond Andy McNeil by another former Livi man, Scott McLaughlin.

Another defensive lapse in concentration allowed Smith a chance at goal but he shot over from 20 yards.

With just over half an hour on the clock, Queens found themselves two to the good. Daniel Carmichael's shot was deflected wide and from the resulting corner, Tom Brighton found the net. The corner was deep to the back post where Mark Campbell headed the ball back across goal. Boulding's flick nicked the ball away from Smith but only as far as Brighton and he had the simple task of nodding into the net from all of one yard.

It could have very easily have been three before half-time had Carmichael produced a better end product. After getting the better of both Craig Barr and Jonathan Brown, the pacey winger rifled the ball across goal and wide as three Queens players queued up for a lay-off.

Iain Russell was at the centre of the last two chances of the half as Livi desperately tried to find a way back into the game before the interval. His one-two with Boulding on the edge of the box gave him a chance to shoot at goal but he rolled the ball wide as the Queens defenders closed him down. Barr's cross soon after fell at Russell's feet and after holding off the defender, he laid the ball back for David Sinclair but his shot was palmed over by McKenzie.

Both teams started the second-half with decent chances. Carmichael's long-range strike was comfortably held by McNeill and at the other end, Sinky tested McKenzie again with a low strike to the 'keeper's right but he got down well to push the ball wide.

Ten minutes into the second-half and Livi got the lifeline they needed. Russell played the ball wide to Bobby Barr and his pass inside was dummied by Fox as the on-coming Sinclair slammed the ball towards goal. McKenzie got a hand to the shot but it wasn't enough as the ball ricocheted in off the bar hauling the Lions back into the game.

This spurred a flood of Livi attacks, helped with the presence of Kenny Deuchar who replaced Boulding upfront. His aerial ability was put to good use as he challenged the Queens back two, causing them major difficulties as the hunt for an equaliser continued. It was from a Deuchar flick on that we were given the chance to get that equaliser. A free-kick from 'keeper McNeill was glanced on by Deuchar sending Russell through on goal. As he took the ball into the box, McGuffie's poor tackle brought him crashing to the ground and left the referee with no option but to point to the spot. Queens right-back Craig Reid disagreed with the decision – so much so that his choice of words towards the referee earned a straight red-card for foul and abusive language, reducing the Dumfries outfit with 10-men and a penalty to deal with. Russell was to make no mistake from the spot and placed the ball into the bottom corner, despite McKenzie going the right way,

The one man advantage was evident as Livi pushed in search of a late winner. Young substitute Stefan Scougall was sent through on goal but despite dinking the ball past McKenzie, Chris Higgins cleared for a corner. Deuchar had the last opportunity to win the game and after Scougall's shot deflected his way, he could only volley wide from just outside the box.

Livingston: McNeil, Brown, Talbot, Sinclair, C.Barr, Watson, Fox, Kn.Jacobs, Boulding (Deuchar 59), Russell, B.Barr (Scougall 84)
Subs not used: Jamieson, Travis, McNulty

QoS: McKenzie, C.Reid, Higgins, Simmons, Campbell, McGuffie, Clark, McLaughlin, Smith (A.Reid 84), Brighton (Smillie 88), Carmichael
Subs not used: McShane, Black, Robinson

Att: 1,444

Ref: E Norris

Match report by Dave Black