Livi struggled once more against Queen’s Park, with the Spiders proving to be their bogey team this season.
However, unlike the other two occasions on which the sides have faced each other in this campaign, The Lions came away from the game with a point.
It was a poor display from the league leaders at the National Stadium. Both sides struggled to play any proper football with the entire match full of misplaced passes, mishits and sloppy attempts at retaining possession.
Having secured an excellent 4-0 victory away at Airdrie on their last outing a fortnight ago, with arguably their best performance of the season so far, Livi went into the match fresh and justifiably full of confidence. But having lost to their hosts twice already, there was little room for complacency.
After an uneventful opening ten minutes, Livi created their first chance and converted it. The ball fell to Jackson Longridge wide on the left and he whipped in a fierce low cross into the penalty area. Raffa De Vita dummied it, leaving the unmarked Scott Pittman with the simple task of knocking the ball into the net from the edge of the 6-yard area.
However, The Lions’ lead was short-lived. After another ten minutes that lacked any notable incidents, the home side equalised. Shaun Byrne was dispossessed in midfield, halfway inside Livi’s half. After a missed challenge near the edge of the penalty area, the ball fell to on-loan Hearts forward Dario Zanatta who fired a powerful shot beyond Kelly into the keeper’s left hand corner.
Despite attempts from Crighton and then De Vita, The Lions failed to threaten the home defence in the remainder of a very disappointing first half. Queen’s Park, equally lacking in serious efforts on goal, looked to play a counter-attacking game with fast breakaways whenever the opportunity arose.
Queen’s Park 1-1 Livingston
With an attendance of only 701 supporters, Hampden lacked any sense of atmosphere and the fans could have been forgiven for thinking that they were watching a pre-season friendly. However, with the hour mark fast approaching, Craig Halkett almost gave the visiting fans something to cheer about.
After starting a move deep in his own half, the defender continued his run into the box and was almost rewarded for his efforts when he headed powerfully towards goal from 10 yards. But Muir in the Queen’s Park goal made an excellent diving save at full stretch to turn the ball out for a corner.
Only one minute later, De Vita tried his luck from the edge of the penalty are but Muir made a comfortable save to deny the Italian. Shortly afterwards, De Vita was involved again, this time picking up a debatable yellow card for a challenge on Burns.
The home side looked to catch The Lions on the break, and Zanatta came close to scoring his second goal of the game but his effort from 6 yards went wide. With the match lacking any real pattern, David Hopkin made three substitutions in quick succession in an effort to secure better possession and claim all three points.
Mullin, Todorov and Cadden all come on, replacing Byrne, Buchanan and De Vita. With greater width, Livi looked to create more chances and both Mullin and Cadden made good crosses into the Spiders’ penalty area, although two attempts from Danny Mullen failed to find the net.
Deep into added time, Longridge fired a shot from 25 yards but it flew into the keeper’s gloves and the match ended with a share of the spoils.
The point means that Livi are now 7 points clear at the top of the league, with one game in hand over second placed Alloa. The Lions play three of their next four games at home, but will have to play much better than today if they are to stretch their lead in the race for the title.
Queen’s Park: Muir, Millen, Wharton, McKernon, McGeever, Cummins, Brady, McVey, Zanatta, Orsi (Galt 67), Burns
Subs not used: Docherty, McIllduff, Brown, Mitchell, Mortimer, Macpherson
Goals: Zanatta (20)
Livingston: Kelly, Crighton, Lithgow, Halkett, De Vita (Cadden 85), Longridge, Byrne (Mullin 72), Pittman, Millar, Buchanan (Todorov 75), Mullen
Subs not used: Maley, Gallagher, Knox, Sinclair
Goals: Pittman (11)
Referee: Alan Newlands
Match report: Calum Brown