Livi slumped to the bottom of the Championship after a dire defeat at previous bottom-dogs Cowdenbeath.
The Lions failed to score for the eighth time during a winless run which has now stretched to ten league games, the club’s worst run since 2006, as Cowdenbeath claimed their first win in five matches to climb off the bottom and into ninth place.
Embattled Livi boss John McGlynn made just two changes that threw away the lead to lose at home to Dumbarton, as Declan Gallagher returned from suspension in place of the injured Burton O’Brien and Craig Sives started in place of Shaun Rutherford, who had been one of the few bright sparks in last week’s defeat.
Knowing the importance of the match, Livi started well and won a free kick inside five minutes for a rash foul on Kyle Jacobs which saw Cowden’s Sean Higgins booked. It was Kyle who got on the end of the set piece at the far post but he could only head into the side netting. Cowdenbeath then won a free kick of their own in a dangerous position when Callum Fordyce fouled Kudus Oyenuga but Kyle Miller fired wide. Strong hold-up play from Myles Hippolyte helped create a decent Livi chance as he teed up Gary Glen but his low effort fizzed wide.
It was proving to be an end-to-end affair and Higgins soon got in behind for the hosts and his lobbed effort beat Darren Jamieson but went high over the crossbar. Kyle then sent Jason Talbot, still in possession of the captain’s armband despite his indiscretions at Annan, free down the left and his driven cross was parried away by Robbie Thomson. Danny Mullen, a rare shining light for Livi in recent weeks, then went on another one of his mazy runs to fashion a chance but this time his aim was out and the shot flew over the bar.
Cowdenbeath continued to pose a threat and, after another dangerous free kick went to waste, Lewis Milne found himself in space out on the right and he fired in a decent effort which was deflected wide. Up the other end, Hippolyte fashioned a chance for himself but his effort was well blocked by man-mountain Nat Wedderburn as the two sides went in at the break all-square.
Livi made a change at the break as Hippolyte was replaced by top scorer Jordan White but it was the home side who had the first chance of the second half and should really have made it count as Jon Robertson’s ball found Oyenuga but he could only slam a powerful shot wide. It proved only the briefest of let-offs for the Lions, though, as the bottom side hit the front on 54 minutes. The ball was slipped in behind the Livi defence and Calum Gallagher was on to it quickest to coolly slot the ball under Jamieson and give his side a priceless lead.
Livi tried to mount a response but were visibly shaken by the loss of such a vital goal, though they did fashion a chance soon after as David Robertson played in White but his shot was straight at Thomson. McGlynn then made his last rolls of the dice as he sent Rob Ogleby and Michael McKenna on in place of Glen and Robertson. McKenna was straight into the action and came so close to an equaliser with a low drive which Thomson did well to parry.
Thomson was having a fine game and produced another decent save to deny Gallagher after he’d met Talbot’s corner with a fine header. Livi then appealed for a penalty as Mullen went down under pressure from Marcus Fraser but referee Alan Muir was unmoved. Cowdenbeath could have put the game to bed with 15 minutes left as Higgins was played through one-on-one with Jamieson but the Livi keeper stayed big and saved well. Kyle should have punished Higgins for that miss as he latched on to Ogleby’s flick-on but he could only fire high over the bar.
Desperation set in as time ticked down and Jamieson went up for a late corner but after the ball was flicked wide, Cowdenbeath saw out the final seconds to claim a hugely-important win and condemn the Lions to bottom spot with a difficult month ahead. With games against Hearts and Rangers coming up before Christmas, it’s difficult to see where the next win is going to come from but perhaps sliding to the foot of the table could prove a watershed moment for the club as a whole.
Cowdenbeath: 17 Thomson, 4 O'Brien (Scullion 87), 6 Wedderburn, 7 Robertson, 8 Milne (Brownlie 71), 10 Higgins (Johnstone 81), 11 Gallagher, 19 Oyenuga, 20 Miller, 26 Marshall, 27 Fraser
Subs not used: 2 Campbell, 12 Kane, 25 Sneddon, 28 Hughes
Livingston: 1 Jamieson, 2 Sives, 3 Talbot, 5 Fordyce, 6 Ky.Jacobs, 7 Kn.Jacobs, 10 Robertson (Ogleby 66), 11 Hippolyte (White 46), 14 Gallagher, 19 Glen (McKenna 66), 20 Mullen
Subs not used: 4 Mensing, 16 Beaumont, 21 Grant, 31 Rutherford
Referee: Alan Muir
Match report: James Lothian