Livi secured another valuable three points after a well-deserved victory over Alloa Athletic at the Indodrill Stadium.
The hosts were undefeated in all competitive games going into the match and were sitting proudly at the top of League One, having won all four matches in this season’s campaign.
Both sides would have had reason to feel confident of victory beforehand, scoring freely and basing their performances on attacking football. The Lions started positively but seemed to take a time to get used to the sticky artificial playing surface, with the ball frequently failing to reach its target and players losing their footing.
Alloa, clearly more comfortable with the underfoot conditions, were soon stroking the ball around and showed excellent movement that caused Livi some early difficulties. But it was the visitors who had the first serious effort of the match, with Josh Mullin’s cross-shot requiring the Alloa keeper – appropriately called Parry – to tip the ball over for a corner. Five minutes later, Buchanan capitalised on a fumble by Parry but hit the side netting when it seemed easier to score.
However The Lions only had to wait another three minutes before taking the lead. An excellent cross from Cadden found Mullin, whose header back across goal was tapped into the net by Scott Pittman. A minute later, with Alloa still reeling from going behind, Danny Mullen tried his luck from 25 yards with his left foot but his thunderbolt crashed off the bar with the goalkeeper watching helplessly.
The game continued in an open, entertaining fashion with both sides looking to keep up their high scoring exploits. But it was the visitors who took control, doubling their lead in the 34th minute. Nicky Cadden received the ball on the left touchline, close to half way. He knocked the ball past Alloa’s Taggart who, rather than play the ball, attempted to block his opponent but Cadden proved too strong. He crossed the ball to Buchanan who made no mistake from 6 yards and put Livi 2-0 ahead. The scoring wasn’t over.
The rampant Lions took a commanding 3-0 advantage in the 39th minute with a contender for goal of the season. Mikey Miller found space in the middle of the park, took a touch and hammered the ball high into the top corner from 25 yards, delighting the travelling fans. Livi went into the break with what appeared to be a comfortable lead, having taken the sting out of The Wasps.
Half Time: Alloa Athletic 0-3 Livingston
Alloa started the second half in determined fashion, playing the ball high to the menacing Spence at every opportunity. The hosts had plenty of possession but created very few clear cut chances, with Livi looking to catch Alloa on the counter attack.
The Lions limited Jack Ross’ side to long balls and speculative efforts until the 65th minute when a shot inside the penalty area struck Lithgow on the arm from point blank range and, taking advice from his assistant, the referee awarded a penalty. Greg Spence made no mistake from the spot, sending Kelly the wrong way to put doubt in the minds of the West Lothian fans. But the Livi players retained their composure and continued to look dangerous on the break. A strong claim for a penalty was waved away by Mr Charleston, much to the anger of Mullin and Cadden, who were both booked for their protests.
As the match entered the final 15 minutes, the visitors almost found a fourth goal when Crighton’s excellent cross was headed by Buchanan but the ball fell inches wide of Parry’s post.
So, The Lions left with all three points and into joint second place in the League with Alloa, one point behind Brechin City who visit the Tony Macaroni Arena next Saturday in a top-of-the-table clash.
Alloa Athletic: Parry, Taggart, Waters, Graham, Marr (Longworth 53), Goodwin, Robertson, Holmes (Donnelly 63), Cawley, Kirkpatrick, Spence
Subs not used: Wilson, Hoggan, Scullion, Martin, McDowall
Goals: Spence (65 pen)
Livingston: Kelly, Miller, Lithgow, Crighton, Halkett, Mullin, Pittman, Cadden, Sinclair (Byrne 63), Buchanan (Carrick 76), Mullen (Allan 88)
Subs not used: Knox, Currie, Maley, Smith
Goals: Pittman (24). Buchanan (34), Miller (39)
Referee: Craig Charleston
Match Report: Calum Brown