A goal from substitute Rory Boulding well into stoppage time was enough to salvage a draw for Livingston against 9 man Hamilton Academical. Red cards for Accies’ Mark McLaughlin and Simon Mensing put the home side on a back foot before taking the lead on 78 minutes through Ali Crawford.
A close first half saw the sides exchange chances. James Chambers had the first opportunity of the game, but Livi defenders Paul Watson and Craig Barr combined to clear. Bobby Barr tried to respond quickly but saw his 18 yard effort comfortably held by Tomas Cerny. The chances continued to be exchanged with Grant Gillespie having an effort deflected wide.
It was 18 minutes in when Livi keeper Andy McNeil made his first significant save of the game, holding a first time strike by Chambers.
Bobby Barr again came close to opening the scoring, successfully dodging by most of the defence before unleashing a powerful shot which soared inches over the bar from 20 yards. Hamilton responded with their own effort minutes later, McNeil called into action to save a 20 yard effort from Dougie Imrie. Derek Lyle shot wide moments later from close range.
Russell should have opened the scoring with minutes to go till half time, with a good opportunity to score but managed to put the ball behind. The final effort of the half fell to Chambers who saw his effort go well over.
The second half began eventfully with Mark McLaughlin managing to get two bookings and the resultant red card within the first seven minutes of the half. The resultant free kick taken by captain Liam Fox was comfortably held by the home keeper. This was quickly followed up by another Bobby Barr effort which ended in the keepers hands after a neat lay off by Iain Russell.
The Lions continued to pressure with Keaghan Jacobs seeing an excellent volleyed shot from a Bobby Barr cross only just saved by Cerny who dived to put the ball out for a corner.
The Accies saw their second red card of the day 63 minutes into the game, Mensing earning his second yellow of the game and given his marching orders.
With the home side down to 9 men, the Lions began pushing for the first goal, with two quick McNulty efforts being saved by the keeper. Bobby Barr followed this up 8 minutes later with a 20 yard effort flying over after a good team passing move around the box.
Substitute Kyle Jacobs almost opened the scoring, the keeper only able to clear the ball to McNulty who’s resultant shot was well over. As the Lions continued to pressure, Bollan made the tactical substitution to take off defender Jonathon Brown for striker Rory Boulding as the visitors went 3 up front.
Despite the obvious handicap, it was the home side who took the lead, catching the Lions on the break. Hamilton surged up the pitch after a failed Livingston move ending in a neat pass across the box for Ali Crawford to strike skilfully past the Livi keeper.
The Lions began to really push for a goal, Kyle Jacobs, Boulding and Russell all having efforts saved in the dying minutes. Eventually the Lions made their breakthrough, a superb strike from the edge of the box by substitute Boulding. Bobby Barr’s cross found the Englishman on the edge of the box who headed back out to Keaghan Jacobs. His pass found Fox, who put a neat first time pass to the feet of Boulding who turned on the spot and unleashed a perfect shot into the top right hand corner of the goal much to the delight of the travelling support.
In a tough match it can be said that it was a point earned for both teams, for any team to get a draw when down to 9 men is good but most Livi fans would have been happy with a draw before the game. The team lacked a certain presence up front, with some neat crosses coming in from Keaghan Jacobs and Bobby Barr but they eventually managed to get the vital goal from substitute Rory Boulding.
Hamilton: Cerny, Canning, McLaughlin, Hendrie (Fraser 34), McAllister, Mensing, Gillespie (Hopkirk 52), Crawford, Chambers, Imrie, Lyle (Spence 52)
Subs not used: Hutton, Kilday
Livingston: McNeil, Brown (Boulding 76), C.Barr (Ky.Jacobs 45), Watson, Talbot, Kn.Jacobs, Fox, Scougall, B.Barr, McNulty, Russell
Subs not used: Jamieson, Sinclair, MacDonald
Ref: C Charleston
Match report by Chris Naismith