The Lions were beaten 2-1 in their second match of Group D in the Premier Sports Cup. Livingston took the lead on 63 minutes through Bruce Anderson, but late goals from Scott Taggart and Alan Trouten from the penalty spot saw The Wasps claim all three points.
Manager David Martindale made two alterations to the side that defeated Brechin 3-0 at Glebe Park last weekend. Jaze Kabia made way for a return to the side for Craig Sibbald, whilst the scorer of Livi’s second last Saturday, Ayo Obileye, took a place on the bench as Martindale handed a start to new loan signing Ben Williamson.
The match started on the referee’s whistle as the players took the knee, uniting against all forms of racism. This was met by an applause from all four corners of the ground from both sets of supporters which was fantastic to see. The Lions travelled in good numbers, making the most of their first opportunity to watch their side in the flesh for the first time since March 2020.
Livingston controlled the early spells of possession, but the hosts weren’t making it easy for them with their relentless pressing – keen to make amends from Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat against Cowdenbeath.
The first real chance of the game fell to Alloa’s target man Conor Sammon on 17 minutes. Some tremendous trickery on the left wing by Cameron O’Donnell beat Jack McMillan as the winger put a cross into the box. Sammon rose highest but his header flew over the bar.
The hosts then had what looked like a great opportunity from the left corner of the box after Stefan Scougall was brought down, winning a free-kick. But, Scott Taggart’s delivery flew straight into the gloves of Max Stryjek.
Despite dominating the ball for large spells, the Lions were restricted to chances and it was The Wasps who fashioned the next chance after some confusion at the back saw Conor Sammon latch on to a forward ball. The striker got his shot off on his weaker left foot, but it stung the palms of Stryjek.
Another long ball a few minutes later saw Sammon presented with yet another golden opportunity. The Lions backline were looking for offside, but the linesman’s flag remained down as the forward got in behind. With just Stryjek to beat, Sammon fired the ball through the legs of the Polish goalkeeper but the ball smashed off the post.
Eight minutes before the break, Barry Ferguson’s side really should’ve taken the lead when Alloa skipper Andy Graham saw his looping header hit the cross bar. The back-pedalling Max Stryjek may have got fingertips though – and if so, it was a wonderful stop. Nevertheless, Alloa were scratching their heads as to how they weren’t in front at the break as the first half ended goalless.
Half Time: Alloa 0-0 Livingston
Just four minutes into the second half, you could see The Lions had a spring in their step after a poor first 45 as they created the first chance of the half. Jack McMillan’s cross was met at the front post by Bruce Anderson, but the striker put his effort too high.
Alloa had a couple of half chances of their own a few moments later. Daniel Church put a tame effort wide of the post before Stefan Scougall was gifted possession by Tom Parkes. Luckily the defender wouldn’t rue his mistake as the former Livi man’s strike was comfortably held from Stryjek.
With 63 minutes on the clock, the deadline was broken. Ben Williamson found Jackson Longridge down the left wing, and the full back fired a delightful ball across the box which was met by Bruce Anderson on the volley. The striker made no mistake in bursting the back of the net to put the Lions 1-0 in front.
The Lions looked comfortable, and it seemed as though they had gotten away with their below-par performance to sneak a 1-0 win. But the hosts had something to say about that as with seven minutes to play they levelled through Scott Taggart. The right back was afforded too much time as he cut in from the right wing, and was allowed to pick his spot from just inside the box, firing into the bottom corner.
The goal gave The Wasps some belief that they could go on to win the game, and when Ayo Obileye was adjudge to have brought down Cameron O’Donnell inside the box, Barry Ferguson’s men had just the chance to do that. The clinical Alan Trouten stepped up, and slotted into the bottom left corner to make it 2-1.
Despite Livi trying to find a late equaliser, that’s how the game would finish – an afternoon to forget for David Martindale and his side, and a deserved win for the hosts.
That sets up an extremely important match on Wednesday night in Group D as Livingston host Raith Rovers.
Match Report: Calum Brown
Alloa Athletic: McDowall, Taggart, Church, Howie ▊, Graham ▊, Robertson, Boyd, King (Trouten 62), Scougall, O’Donnell (Armstrong 90), Sammon (Armour 70)
Subs not used: Parry
Goals: Taggart (82), Trouten (86 pen)
Livingston: Stryjek, McMillan (Reilly 84), Parkes, Fitzwater, Longridge, Williamson (Obileye 65), Pittman, Lewis, Sibbald (Montaño 55 (Holt 84)), Penrice, Anderson
Subs not used: Barden
Goals: Anderson (63)
Referee: Craig Napier