Second half goals from Jon Guthrie and Alan Forrest saw the Lions come from behind to record a first away win of the season and make it back to back league victories after last week’s success against St Johnstone.
For the first time this season, there were no changes to the starting line-up as the same team who picked up all 3 points against the Saints took to the park for this one too. The bench remained the same too which meant no place for new signing Jay Emmanuel-Thomas as he continues to work on his fitness having signed earlier this week.
United back-up goalkeeper Deniz Mehmet was drafted in for his first appearance in more than a year after injury ruled out regular stopper Benjamin Siegrist. Veteran defender Mark Reynolds dropped to the bench to be replaced by Mark Connolly.
Despite a bright start from the Lions, it was the home side who would take the lead. They edged ahead with an exquisite strike as forward Nicky Clark bent a low free-kick from 25 yards around the wall and inside Robby McCrorie’s left-hand post, leaving the stopper with no chance.
The Livi players and staff felt somewhat aggrieved, pointing to a perceived foul on Julien Serrano seconds before United’s free-kick in which the French defender required treatment on his ankle from physio Andrew Mackenzie. The replay would show a clear foul but nonetheless, the hosts were a goal to the good.
The Lions continued to press though and Scott Robinson passed up two good chances to equalise, with Mehmet tipping the first over the bar and parrying the second behind for a corner. A fantastic ball from Efe Ambrose would also send Scott Tiffoney through on goal from a tight angle but his shot was saved by the ‘keeper – with a cut back perhaps the better option.
The heads didn’t drop though and instead, the visitors battered away at the creaking hosts and perseverance paid off early in the second half. Serrano nodded the ball wide to Marvin Bartley who checked on to his right foot and fired a low cross into the box where Jon Guthrie swept home to draw the sides level.
Despite the goal and continued pressure from the Lions, a point looked like being the sum of Livingston’s efforts when Efe Ambrose was picked out unmarked late on only to horribly miscue his header.
However, the winner did arrive – much to the delight of the players and those on the bench. Nicky Devlin’s ball forward was misjudged by Edwards and when United defender Mark Connolly was caught dithering in possession, Matej Poplatnik nicked the ball from him allowing Robinson to play in Scott Pittman. The midfield man elected to feed the ball right to Poplatnik who, in turn, squared across the face of goal from Alan Forrest to roll into the empty net and secure all three points!
It was no less than the men in black shirts and amber shorts and socks deserved having dominated the match for long spells – anything other than a win would have stuck in the throat.
Attention now turns to our Betfred Cup campaign which kicks off on Tuesday night away to Edinburgh City before we welcome Alloa Athletic to the Tony Macaroni Arena on Saturday.
Dundee Utd: Deniz, Sporle (⇔ Appere 75), Connolly, Clark, Edwards, Chalmers (⇔ Pawlett 75), Robson, Butcher, Bolton, Harkes, Shankland
Subs not used: Newman, Powers, Reynolds, McMullan, Smith, Mochrie, Neilson
Goals: Clark (18)
Livingston: McCrorie, Devlin, Ambrose, Guthrie, Serrano, Bartley, Holt, Pittman, Forrest (⇔ McMillan 90), Robinson, Tiffoney (⇔ Poplatnik 76)
Subs not used: Stryjek, Taylor-Sinclair, Brown, Fitzwater, , Lawson, Sibbald, Lokotsch
Goals: Guthrie (53), Forrest (90)
Referee: David Munro
Match Report: Dave Black