Livi’s survival hopes were dealt a hammer blow as Dumbarton staged a third smash-and-grab raid on the Lions this season to leave West Lothian with all three points.
Livi went into the match on the back of their highly creditable 1-1 draw at Rangers last weekend but saw their deficit at the bottom of the table restored to six points when Alloa left Ibrox with a point of their own in midweek. Unsurprisingly Mark Burchill went with the same starting 11 that had come agonisingly close to a famous win seven days earlier.
The first chance of the game fell to the visitors as Garry Fleming shrugged off the challenge of Craig Sives but blasted his shot high over the bar. Straight up the other end Ibrox goal hero Ibra Sekajja burst through on goal but, under pressure from the Dumbarton defence, he could only poke a shot wide of the target. Mark Gilhaney then sent a cross in for Fleming but his header was tame and rolled harmlessly wide.
Chris Turner picked up the game’s first yellow card on 12 minutes for a reckless challenge on Jason Talbot and it proved doubly costly as Livi took a deserved lead from the resulting free kick. Keaghan Jacobs whipped a perfect cross into the box and Sives rose highest to glance a header into the corner to make it 1-0. The visitors were forced into a change soon after when Darren Petrie came off worst in a 50-50 with Sekajja and had to be replaced by former Livi youngster Dylan Easton.
Dumbarton forced another half-chance when a free kick was launched into the box but Andy Graham could only head high over the bar. Livi headed up the other end and passed up a golden chance to double their lead as Keaghan whipped in a perfect cross from the right hand side but Sekajja was too far in front of the near post and could only direct his header a few yards wide.
Easton then tried to come back and haunt the club who released him back in 2012, citing his questionable attitude, as he twisted and turned in the box and fired in a low shot which Darren Jamieson had to palm away to safety. The visitors then picked up a couple of quickfire bookings as Gilhaney and ex-Scotland international Mark Wilson found their way into ref John McKendrick’s book. That was the last action of the first half as Livi headed in for the interval with a vital lead.
Livi were forced into a half-time substitution as Keaghan was replaced by Michael McKenna. The second half started very scrappily with Darren Cole picking up an early yellow card for a lunge on Scott Agnew before Dumbarton made their second change when Christopher Duggan replaced Scott Taggart. Agnew then tried his luck from distance but his effort flew wide. Sekajja then came close to a second for Livi when he lobbed an effort goalwards but the ball didn’t drop in time and landed on the roof of the net.
Cole then sparked a counter-attack and released sub McKenna but his cross was gathered by Danny Rogers. Dumbarton made their final change as Archie Campbell replaced the ineffective Mitch Megginson before Livi brought on Myles Hippolyte for Scott Pittman.
As the half wore on and a second goal remained elusive, Livi had appeared more inclined to hold on to what they had and it was to prove costly as Dumbarton donned their masks and striped jumpers to claim an unthinkable result in the final ten minutes. The raid started on 80 minutes when a soft free kick was awarded on the edge of the box and Agnew stepped to slam the ball past Jamieson to level the scores. Knowing the importance of a win, Livi boss Burchill responded by sending on top scorer Jordan White in place of Danny Mullen.
It had no effect though as Dumbarton completed their extraordinary turnaround when the ball broke to Fleming at the edge of the box and he slammed a first-time effort high into the roof of the net to break Livi hearts.
This sickening defeat leaves Livi marooned at the foot of the table, six points adrift of Alloa and Cowdenbeath ahead of next week’s crucial trip to the Indodrill Stadium for the Petrofac Cup Final dress rehearsal against the Wasps.