Livingston kicked off their pre-season campaign today with a trip to Tannadice to take on Dundee United in preparation for the Premiership start date in two weeks’ time. The friendly ended goalless in a very even encounter with several chances for both sides.
New signing Jack Fitzwater, and returning loanee Robby McCrorie started for the Lions in a strong line-up, with fellow fresh faces Alan Forrest and Salim Kouider Aissa on the bench.
Livingston started on the front foot, looking dangerous. An early free kick from deep was only partially cleared to the edge of the box by the United defence. It was met by Aymen Souda on the volley but the Frenchman’s speculative effort sailed wide.
Lyndon Dykes was next to have an effort on goal on six minutes. Following a set-piece, Jack Fitzwater found himself out on the left wing and delivered a superb cross to the head of the Lions’ number nine, but his effort didn’t trouble Deniz Mehmet in the United goal.
After the much-needed drinks break in the Dundee heat, which saw Scott Pittman make way for Scott Robinson, Livingston threatened again on 31 minutes. Craig Sibbald’s corner was met by Jon Guthrie who knocked down for Dykes, but with his back to goal the Aussie couldn’t turn and get his shot off, with Mehmet pushing away to safety.
Jon Guthrie saw a headed effort fly wide of the target with three minutes left of the half, before Dundee United nearly took the lead through the clinical Lawrence Shankland. The highly-rated striker was picked out wonderfully on the left-hand side, taking the ball down on his chest beyond Efe Ambrose, but his effort from a tight angle hit the side netting of McCrorie’s goal.
The Lions made two half-time changes, with Aaron Taylor-Sinclair and Aymen Souda making way for Nicky Devlin and new signing Alan Forrest.
With just six minutes played of the second half, Dundee United should’ve gone in front with arguably the best chance of the afternoon. A gut-busting run through the middle of the park by Jamie Robson ended with Peter Pawlett one on one with McCrorie in the centre of the box. As the former Aberdeen man looked set to pull the trigger, he instead squared for Robson, but on the stretch the left back couldn’t divert the ball into the empty net on his weaker right foot.
Just three minutes later, Livingston were through on goal after some neat work by Lyndon Dykes to get in behind Connolly on the right. From a wider angle than Pawlett a couple of minutes earlier, Dykes opted to shoot instead of square to the marauding Alan Forrest, but his powerful strike flew over the bar.
The chances continued to come. Ian Harkes tried his luck from 20 yards before Ambrose and Dykes both headed over from a corner and throw-in respectively.
Shortly after the hour mark, a plethora of changes were made from both sides. The hosts brought on seven new faces, with only Mehmet surviving the whole 90 minutes after three earlier substitutions, while Livi made five changes which saw Marvin Bartley, Jack McMillan, Craig Sibbald, Lyndon Dykes and Robby McCrorie be replaced by Carlo Pignatielo, Robbie Crawford, Salim Kouider Aissa, Jack Hamilton and a trialist.
New boy Kouider Aissa headed wide from an Alan Forrest corner just moments after coming on, while United saw an effort from Cammy Smith go just wide shortly after.
Kouider Aissa had a few more opportunites before full-time, looking very dangerous and getting into good positions. Keen to impress, the 24-year-old teed himself up intelligently for a bicycle kick which went narrowly wide. Then, he took down Robbie Crawford’s pass on the chest, but Mehmet did well to shut him down and block his effort.
There were a couple more chances late on as both sides looked to get a winner in the very competitive clash. Nicky Clark slipped in Logan Chalmers for United, but his curling effort flew wide of the post. Then, Crawford’s corner for the Lions was played into a dangerous area and deflected off a Tangerine shirt, only to be cleared off the line.
Despite an array of chances for both sides on the day, they simply couldn’t be separated and shared the spoils. Livingston can take confidence from the performance. A good run-out and chance to get fit ahead of the upcoming campaign, with a clean sheet and plenty of chances created which bodes well for the future.
Dundee Utd Starting XI: Deniz, L.Smith, Connolly, Reynolds, Pawlett, Robson, Butcher, Glass, Harkes, Shankland, Appere
Subs: Davidson, Freeman, Graham, King, Chalmers, Fotheringham, Clark, Powers, Sporle, C.Smith
Livingston Starting XI: McCrorie, McMillan, Ambrose, Fitzwater, Guthrie, Taylor-Sinclair, Bartley, Pittman, Sibbald, Souda, Dykes.
Subs: Trialist, Devlin, Crawford, Pignatielo, Robinson, Forrest, Kouider Aissa, Hamilton
Match Report: Calum Brown