Livingston made the trip to Angus for their first competitive match of the 2021/2022 campaign where Brechin City were the opponents in the opener of Group D in the Premier Sports Cup.
There was a welcome sight of supporters inside Glebe Park for the first time in just under 18 months, with around 250 fans welcomed back to the stadium. There were some welcome sights in the Lions line-up too, with new signings Tom Parkes, Ayo Obileye, Adam Lewis and Bruce Anderson making their first Livi starts, whilst James Penrice also made his debut in his second spell with the club.
With less than a minute played, the Lions netted the opener and it was a dream start for debutant Tom Parkes. Jaze Kabia’s corner broke for the central defender who struck the ball first time on his left foot beyond Brechin’s Jack Wills, opening his account very early on into his Livingston career after making the move from North from Exeter.
On 25 minutes, after dominant spells of possession and controlling the game, Livingston created another opportunity, which had been limited due to Brechin’s solid shape and structure. A well-worked corner saw Adam Lewis find Ayo Obileye in the box, but the former Queens man’s half volley flew over the bar.
David Martindale’s side were forced into an early change just after the half hour mark, with Josh Mullin replacing Jaze Kabia.
Despite dictating the tempo of the game and not coming under any real threat, Livi failed to create any further chances in the first half as the opening 45 minutes drew to a close.
Half Time – Brechin City 0-1 Livingston
The hosts came out for the second half raring to go and started the better side. Inside the first ten minutes, they put the pressure on the Livi backline without really creating anything of note, but the pressing forwards put Jack Fitzwater under pressure. His pass back to Max Stryjek was slightly short, but the goalkeeper managed to clear.
Quickly after the minor scare, Livi got back on the front foot and had their second on the hour mark. Mullin’s pinpoint delivery found Obileye at the back post, and the midfielder headed home from close range to double the Lions’s advantage and get off the mark at his new club in the process.
On 66 minutes Brechin created their first chance of the match, and it was a golden opportunity to say the least. David Cox’s free-kick from the left was whipped in wonderfully, and found Murray Mackintosh unmarked in the box. The midfielder had the goal gaping, but made a poor connection with the ball and put it wide of the post.
Just seconds later, Livi could’ve had a third. A nice move finished with a Josh Mullin header finding Anderson in behind Brechin’s defence. Bearing down on goal, the striker was one on one with Wills, but had his effort stopped by the goalkeeper. Danger wasn’t clear yet though as James Penrice tried to head home the rebound under pressure from the City defence, but he put too much on it and sent it over the bar.
David Martindale made two changes with 20 minutes to play as the visitors looked to add to their two goals. Goalscorer Ayo Obileye and Bruce Anderson were replaced by Jack Hamilton and Gavin Reilly. James Penrice made way for Alan Forrest shortly after.
With 7 minutes to go the Lions created a half chance through Alan Forrest on the left. The winger worked space for a cross which found Jack Hamilton in the box, but at a tight angle the striker couldn’t divert a header goalward.
A minute later, Brechin had another good opportunity. A very smartly orchestrated throw-in gave David Cox an opportunity to strike at goal from the edge of the box, but the forward dragged his effort wide.
Some good play from McMillan and Mullin on the right resulted in the latter pulling back for Hamilton, but he couldn’t adjust his feet and sent over the bar.
In stoppage time, Livi added a third. Following a corner, Alan Forrest weaved his way down the left and fired a low cross towards the front post for Jackson Longridge who diverted beyond Wills for his first goal since his return to West Lothian in January.
Livi pushed for a fourth but they’d have to settle for the 3-0 victory. It was comfortable for the Premiership side but Highland League Brechin showed they were no pushovers and gave a good account of themselves.
Three goals and a clean sheet for David Martindale’s side makes it a very strong start to Premier Sports Cup action. Up next is a trip to Alloa next weekend.
Brechin City: Wills, Bain, Bollan, Paton, Cox MacKintosh, Wood, Currie (Galasso 64), Inglis (Scott 77), Docherty, Jordan
Subs not used:
Livingston: Stryjek, McMillan, Fitzwater, Parkes, Longridge, Obileye (Reilly 69), Pittman, Lewis, Kabia (Mullin 35), Penrice (Forrest 77), Anderson (Hamilton 69)
Subs not used: Barden, Devlin, Bartley, Montaño
Goals: Parkes (1), Obileye (61), Longridge (90)
Referee: Kevin Clancy
Match Report: Calum Brown