Livi ended their three game winless run as they came from behind to claim an emphatic win over Dumbarton at the Your Radio 103 FM Stadium and move back into third place in the Ladbrokes Championship.
After Craig Halkett had quickly cancelled out Ally Roy’s opener for the home side, Scott Pittman gave the Lions a half-time lead before Dylan Mackin and Scott Robinson sealed the victory. Livi could even afford the luxury of a missed penalty as Matthew Knox’s late effort was brilliantly saved by Sons keeper Scott Gallacher.
David Hopkin rang the changes from the 3-0 defeat at Dundee United three days previously, making five alterations as Neil Alexander returned from illness to take his place between the sticks. Keaghan Jacobs, Nicky Cadden, Raffa De Vita and Dylan Mackin also came in for James Penrice, Josh Mullin, Steven Boyd and Nikolay Todorov.
Livi made a blistering start and almost broke the deadlock inside ten seconds when Jackson Longridge burst through on goal but saw his shot blocked by Scott Gallacher. Confusion in the Dumbarton box two minutes later almost presented Livi with another chance but De Vita couldn’t react quickly enough to pounce on the loose ball.
The Lions had the ball in the net on eight minutes when Declan Gallagher fired home but the flag was raised to disallow the goal for offside – a decision that looked harsh on second viewing. The home side had their first effort of note on 12 minutes when Tom Walsh tried his luck from just outside the box but Alexander saved well. Cadden then came close when he gathered a clearance and curled his effort just wide.
Despite Livi having dominated the early stages, it was the home side who broke the deadlock on 25 minutes when a ball over the top released Roy and he cut inside before firing a shot high past Alexander into the roof of the net. The lead was short-lived though as the Lions drew level two minutes later when Gallacher made a hash of coming to collect a high ball and when the ball ran loose, Halkett was on hand to fire into the unguarded net.
Walsh had a great chance to restore Dumbarton’s lead on 30 minutes when he was found unmarked at the back post but he fired high over the bar before Livi came close to taking the lead ten minutes later when De Vita’s cross was met by Mackin but he planted his header inches wide.
That was only a temporary reprieve for the home side as Livi took the lead two minutes before the break with a fine team goal as a quick break upfield ended with Mackin slipping the ball through for Pittman and he coolly slotted the ball under Gallacher to send the Lions in at the interval with a 2-1 lead.
Half-time: Dumbarton 1-2 Livingston
Sons boss Stevie Aitken made two changes at the interval as Calum Gallagher and Chris Johnston were replaced by Dimitris Froxylias and Christian Nade but it was Livi who started the stronger, Cadden driving forward and firing in a low drive that Gallacher got down well to save, although the home side almost grabbed a fluke equaliser as Froxylias’ overhit cross dropped onto the roof of the net.
Livi almost grabbed a fine third goal on 55 minutes as Pittman’s header on was flicked on by Cadden to Mackin and he took a touch before unleashing a volley that flew inches wide. Half-time sub Nade then picked up the first yellow card of the game as he talked his way into Nick Walsh’s book after not being awarded a free kick.
The third goal eventually arrived on the hour mark as De Vita did well down the right and his low cross found Mackin who was left with the simple task of firing home from two yards out. With a two-goal cushion, David Hopkin made his first change as he sent on Scott Robinson for Cadden. Robinson was quickly involved as his corner fell to Halkett but his shot was deflected through to Gallacher. He then picked up a yellow card five minutes later for a foul on David Smith.
A second Livi change saw Keaghan Jacobs replaced by Penrice after coming off worse in a challenge with Nade before Dumbarton made their final switch, replacing Roy with Danny Handling. Pittman sent an effort over the bar from the edge of the box on 77 minutes before the Lions grabbed their fourth of the afternoon three minutes later when De Vita’s free kick fell for Robinson and his low shot was deflected in off the post.
Livi made their final change when Matthew Knox replaced De Vita before they were handed the chance to make it five on 86 minutes when Craig Barr brought down Penrice in the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Knox was handed the chance to grab his first senior goal but Gallacher was equal to his spot kick, make a fine one-handed save down to his right to divert the ball out for a corner.
After Longridge saw a fierce drive held by Gallacher, Sons midfielder Kyle Hutton picked up two quick bookings in stoppage time as the home side finished with ten men and the Lions ran out emphatic winners to return to the Championship’s top three.
Full-time: Dumbarton 1-4 Livingston
Dumbarton: Gallacher, Dowie, Barr, Smith, Gallagher (Nadé 45), Hutton, Carswell, Johnston (Froxylias 45), Walsh, Roy (Handling 76)
Subs not used: Wilson, Hill, Prior, Ewings
Goals: Roy (25)
Livingston: Alexander, Halkett, Gallagher, Lithgow, Longridge, Byrne, Pittman, Jacobs (Penrice 74), Cadden (Robinson 65), De Vita (Knox 82), Mackin
Subs not used: Mullin, Todorov, Carrick, Maley
Goals: Halkett (27), Pittman (43), Mackin (58), Robinson (80)
Referee: Nick Walsh
Match Report: Andy Crawford
Photos: Rae Irvine