With the season coming to an end, The Lions’ final game saw them travel to Coatbridge to take on Albion Rovers.
Their opponents had nothing to really play for after avoiding relegation and failing to sneak into the play-offs. Livi fielded a very strong side despite having Byrne, Crighton, Halkett and Longridge suspended, plus Nicky Cadden out with an injury. There was a relaxed party atmosphere in the crowd, with a fantastic away support; some of whom turned up in fancy dress costumes.
Both sides created a few early chances. Danny Mullen had a header comfortably saved by Stewart, and up the other end Ryan Wallace came close with an effort. But Liam Buchanan came closest in the 15th minute. After some brilliant play on the left, the ball found Livi’s top scorer inside the area, but he poked his effort wide.
The striker was very unlucky not to extend his incredible record this season. Just 5 minutes later, The Champions took the lead. With the home defence claiming for offside, Danny Mullen found himself clean through on goal and one on one with Stewart. His shot was saved well by the Rovers keeper, but on the end of the rebound was Scott Pittman who put the loose ball home to give Livi a 1-0 advantage.
The party continued for the fans because, with a minute left to play of the half, The Lions made it 2-0. Raffa De Vita cut inside onto his right foot, and saw his shot deflected in off a Rovers player. The Italian’s strike was Livi’s 98th goal of the season.
HT: Albion Rovers 0-2 Livingston
Just five minutes into the second half it was nearly a third for the visitors. Buchanan found himself free, around 6 yards out, but headed over the bar. It just wasn’t his day in front of goal, although he was still having a fine game working tirelessly for the team.
Livi were dominating the game, and looked the more likely side to find further goals. Millar and Buchanan went close, and Danny Mullen’s header rebounded off the post. Ross Gilmour replaced Kyle Turnbull for the hosts, and Raffa De Vita received a standing ovation from the travelling support as he left the field for Matthew Knox. The young substitute came close with an effort from the left hand side of the box but it was held comfortably by Stewart.
Kyle Sampson came on for Danny Mullen for The Lions, and Shields replaced McBride for the hosts. Teenager Sampson’s made an immediate impact and had a header that hit the post, nearly scoring with his first touch. Mark Millar was replaced by his namesake Mikey Miller, who was welcomed back to action by the Livi fans with warm applause, making his first appearance in just under 6 months due to injury.
With a few minutes to go, Sampson nearly scored with his second attempt, this time it was the underside of the crossbar that denied him. It was agonisingly close to his first senior goal. Livi’s clean sheet was nearly taken away when Rovers created two chances in the last minute. Two phenomenal stops by Gary Maley, one with his hand and the other with his leg, kept the score at 2-0. It was an incredible double save after having nothing to do for much of the game.
FT: Albion Rovers 0-2 Livingston
It was a wonderful end to a fantastic season for Livi. The victory sees The Lions win their ninth consecutive game, extending the record of consecutive wins and also completing a 100% winning record in the final quarter of the season. The players and staff have been tremendous this season, ensuring the club makes an immediate return to the Championship.
Albion Rovers: Stewart, McCann, Reid (Munro 89), Lightbody, R. Dunlop, M. Dunlop, Ferry, Turnbull (Gilmour 63), Wallace, Willis, McBride (Shields 72)
Subs not used: Potts, Archibald, Guthrie
Livingston: Maley, Lithgow, Todorov, Gallagher, Jacobs, Mullin, Miller (Millar 80), Pittman, De Vita (Knox 68), Mullen (Sampson 77), Buchanan
Subs not used: Kelly, Ogilvie, Sinclair
Goals: Pittman (19), De Vita (44)
Referee: Steven Kirkland
Match Report: Calum Brown