A crazy final ten minutes saw Livi snatch defeat from the jaws of victory as Dumbarton left West Lothian with all three points for the third consecutive visit.
This fixture has been dominated by the visiting team in the last couple of years, with Livi taking ten points from four visits to the Bet Butler Stadium and Dumbarton having now won three out of their four trips to Livingston. Dumbarton came to the Energy Assets Arena on the back of consecutive defeats to Dundee and Falkirk while Livi were chasing a third straight victory having seen off Raith Rovers and Alloa.
Dumbarton got the game underway and took the game to Livi without ever looking too threatening. Colin Nish was played in by Chris Turner but couldn't bring the ball under control and the chance was gone. Livi went up the other end and Danny Mullen swung in a tremendous cross but unfortunately for the Lions there was no one in the box to get on the end of it. Dumbarton then came close when Turner fired high and wide after Livi keeper Darren Jamieson had punched the ball clear to the edge of the box.
After a short delay following a clash of heads which saw Nish come off worst and have to change shirts, Livi took the lead against the run of play. Keaghan Jacobs swung in a fine corner and Nejc Mevlja was left unmarked to head into the corner of the net. Dumbarton seemed unfazed by going a goal down and came close to levelling when Chris Kane took a leaf out of Bryan Prunty's book and unleashed an overhead kick which flew just over the crossbar.
Livi should have taken advantage of more poor Sons marking but Danny Mullen could only head Jacobs' free kick straight at Jamie Ewings before Jacobs fired in a long range effort which Ewings had to backpedal to save. Dumbarton then passed up a good chance to level when Jordan Kirkpatrick's free kick found Nish at the back post but he fired a low shot wide before the former Livi trialist's long range effort flew wide of the other post as Livi went in at the break in front.
Dumbarton came out for the second half with the bit between their teeth and Kirkpatrick fired in a terrific strike which Jamieson did well to tip wide of the post, much to the home fans relief. Livi counter-attacked from the resulting corner but Mullen could only head over the bar at the back post. Marc McNulty and Kyle Jacobs both came close to doubling Livi's lead but were denied by Ewings, the Sons keeper making a particularly good double save to deny the Livi pair. Nish then fired a low shot from the left hand side which flew wide before Kane had an attempted lob blocked from Mark McLaughlin knock down.
The match began to unravel for Livi on 81 minutes when Jason Talbot was shown a straight red card when his head-high clearance followed through and caught Paul McGinn in the face. Few could argue with Greg Aitken's decision but there were considerable complaints a few minutes when the referee inexplicably awarded Dumbarton a penalty for a foul by Craig Sives when both teams had turned to chase the Livi defender's clearance leaving the Livi players were livid and even the visitors bemused. Jamieson was unable to make it three penalty saves in a row as Chris Turner stepped up to slam the penalty high into the net.
Dumbarton suddenly had all the momentum and incredibly they found themselves in front less than two minutes later as Garry Fleming's shot was saved but fell perfectly to Kane who was left with a simple task to knock the ball into the empty net.
Livi were stunned and threw everything, including keeper Jamieson, forward in an attempt to rescue a point but their charge was to no avail as the Sons left West Lothian with all three points for the third consecutive visit. The result saw Dumbarton leapfrog Livi into fifth place in a considerable dent to the Lions play-off ambitions. Next up for the Lions is a trip to a Greenock Morton side clinging desperately to their Championship status.
Livingston: Jamieson, Talbot, Fordyce, Sives, Mevlja, Kn.Jacobs, O'Brien, Denholm (Wilkie 69), Ky.Jacobs, McNulty, Mullen (Burchill 77)
Subs not used: Mampuya, Scott, Walker, Praprotnik, Lander
Dumbarton: Ewings, McGinn, Graham, McLaughlin, Turner, Megginson (Prunty 80), McDougall (Gilhaney 60), Kirkpatrick, Miller, Nish (Fleming 69), Kane
Subs not used: Grindlay, Smith, Agnew, Thomson
Referee: Greg Aitken
Match report: Andrew Crawford