Livi were left to rue two defensive lapses as they followed up last weekend’s fine draw against Hibs with a disappointing defeat to Raith Rovers at Stark’s Park.
As has often been the case this season, David Hopkin’s side failed to build on the promise of the result a week earlier and remain cut adrift in the relegation play-off spot.
Livi boss David Hopkin made just one change to his side from the Hibs match as Jackson Longridge dropped onto the bench to be replaced by Sam Stanton, who had been ineligible to face his parent club last time out.
It was the Lions who made the brighter start and Liam Buchanan did well to get to the byline and cut the ball back but Rovers keeper Kevin Cuthbert was alert to gather the ball at the feet of Jordan White. Buchanan then wriggled free before being hauled down by Scott Robertson who collected the game’s first yellow card from ref Willie Collum. The resulting free kick came to nothing.
While Raith were enjoying most of the possession, and had a soft penalty claim after Aidan Connolly went down under pressure from Ben Gordon, it was the Lions who were creating the better chances and White did brilliantly to nod down a long ball from Josh Mullin but the Rovers defence were on hand once again to clear as Buchanan prepared to pull the trigger.
White then claimed for a penalty as he went down but ref Collum gave a free kick the other way after a Raith defender fell over his prone frame. Rovers then came close to breaking the deadlock as Haris Panayiotou, on loan from Leicester City, found space 30 yards out and unleashed a fine, dipping effort which cannoned back off the crossbar.
Livi continued to pose a threat on the counter attack and White curled in a decent cross from the right hand side which Cuthbert had to be smart to claim ahead of Buchanan.
Just as the match was in danger of petering out towards half-time, the deadlock was broken in farcical circumstances as a lack of communication between Darren Cole and Marc McCallum saw the Livi captain misjudge a back pass and allow Mark Stewart to tap home into an unguarded net.
Livi responded well to having lost such a poor goal and almost drew level immediately as neat build-up play saw White played clear but Cuthbert was out well to push away his lobbed effort and ensure Rovers went in at the break in front.
Half-time: Raith Rovers 1-0 Livingston
The second half was barely into its stride when Rovers doubled their lead and once again it was the result of Livi shooting themselves in the foot. Craig Halkett had done well initially to get the better of Stewart down the left but, instead of clearing the danger, he held on to the ball a fraction too long which allowed Stewart to ease him off the ball and send in a low cross for Connolly to tap home.
Once again Livi mounted a decent response to the loss of the goal and were unlucky not to make more of a scramble in the box and the ball cannoned around without a Livi player being able to get a telling touch. David Hopkin made his first change just after the hour as Danny Mullen replaced Scott Pittman and followed it up with a second soon after as Charlie Telfer came on for Buchanan.
Livi were doing most of the pressing now with Rovers content to sit on their lead and a loose ball fell to White just inside the box and he let fly with a decent low drive that fizzed across goal and just wide. The Lions then made their final change as Jordyn Sheerin came on for Mullin before Mark Fotheringham picked up his side’s first booking.
That yellow card was the final moment of note in the match as Rovers held on comfortably for victory.
Full-time: Raith Rovers 2-0 Livingston
So a disappointing afternoon ends with the Lions still firmly placed in the relegation play-off spot ahead of crucial fixtures against Alloa, Morton and Dumbarton. The first of those games sees us head over the Clackmannanshire Bridge to the Indodrill Stadium for a crunch clash with Jack Ross’ Wasps this Saturday.
Raith Rovers: Cuthbert, Thomson, Barr, Davidson, McKeown, Callachan, Graigen, Roberston, Connolly (Anderson 83), Panayiotou (Hardie 71), Stewart
Subs not used: Law, McCord, Matthews, Court, Mackie
Goals: Stewart (37), Connolly (48)
Livingston: McCallum, Halkett, Cole, Gordon, Kakay, Mullin (Sheerin 82), Pittman (Mullen 60), Fotheringham, Stanton, White, Buchanan (Telfer 69)
Subs not used: Quinn, Currie, Glen, Longridge:
Referee: Willie Collum
Match report: Andy Crawford