Livingston finally gained their first away win of the season amid wild conditions at Queen of the South’s Palmerston Park. A 2-0 victory with goals from Marc McNulty and Mark Fotheringham gave the Lions their first victory in Dumfries since 2000.
A much changed Livi side saw Iain Russell dropped to the bench in favour of a Kenny Deuchar/Marc McNulty pairing, and the gamble paid off immediately for Gary Bollan’s side. McNulty opened the scoring with just 6mins on the clock, a hard low effort by the Livi youngster was just reached by keeper Lee Robinson, but his attempts to save it only deflected the effort onto the post and in.
The initial Livingston dominance continued, but chances were few and far between for either team. Queen of the South showed their intentions with a header from a corner, but McNeil was equal to the attack.
Livingston were quick to respond, Bobby Barr getting through on goal but saw his rather poor effort from close range go wide. Queen’s powered forward shortly afterwards culminating in an excellent 20yard strike from Allan Johnston going agonisingly wide.
Fotheringham had the next significant effort of the game, latching onto a neat lay off by Kenny Deuchar but his well played strike was held by Robinson in goals.
As the weather turned from bad to worse, the football stayed remarkably good. Kenny Deuchar had a penalty claim turned down as he was shoved down in the box by Queen’s central defenders. Ex-Lion Scott McLaughlin then messed up a shot in the box, miscontrolling a volley which was cleared by the combined efforts of Jason Talbot and Craig Barr.
The Lions finished the first half with two quick efforts from Keaghan Jacobs and McNulty, the former going wide from a goalmouth scramble and the latter ending in the keepers hands from a neat Bobby Barr lay off.
The travelling side continued the second half where they had left it in the first with waves of attacks. Bobby Barr putting in two excellent crosses to Kenny Deuchar but the big striker failed to make enough contact on either to trouble the keeper. McNulty then followed up with two quick efforts of his own, putting one well over the bar, but the other was soundly knocked over by Robinson.
It was the home side that were to get the best chance to score, as Bobby Barr shoved Kevin Smith over in the box for which Brian Winter had no choice but to point to the spot. Smith took the effort himself, putting it straight down the middle but the feet of the diving Andy McNeil saved the penalty. Stephen Simmons then had an effort to bring the scores equal minutes later, but his effort went wide.
It wasn’t long afterwards when Mark Fotheringham doubled the score for Livi (64mins). McNulty’s shot was cleared by Robinson only as far as Fotheringham who made no mistake in powerfully putting it into the back of the net.
Queens desperately tried to find a way back into the game with Smith sending an effort over the cross bar, and Scott McLaughlin having an excellent effort touched wide by McNeil in the Livi goals. McLaughlin continued to try and score against his former side, but his efforts were in vain as McNeil remained equal.
The Lions had the last two significant efforts of the game, Marc McNulty shooting wide from an excellent pass by Bobby Barr and Mark Fotheringham shooting over from a Keaghan Jacobs pass.
It was a massive weight lifted from the Lions to get the third win of the season and the first on the road. In abysmal weather Livingston adapted the better of the two sides and played some nice football. Some surprising changes by Gary Bollan to the starting line up led to a great result, and the Livi players, manager and support will be hoping it continues.
QotS: Robinson, C.Reid (Holt 70), Campbell, McGuffie, Higgins (McKenna 56), Johnston, Simmons, McLaughlin, A.Reid, Smith, Brighton (McCusker 55)
Subs not used: Atkinson, Smylie
Livingston: McNeil, Ross, Talbot, Fotheringham, C.Barr, Watson, Ky.Jacobs, Kn.Jacobs, Deuchar, McNulty (Russell 80), B.Barr
Subs not used: Russell, Boulding, Brown, Beaumont, Jamieson
Ref: B Winter
Match report by Chris Naismith