Livi suffered back-to-back league defeats for just the second time in almost two years as a late goal gave ten-man Hamilton all three points at a rain-lashed Hope CBD Stadium.
Mason Bloomfield fired home the only goal three minutes from time, barely two minutes after a Accies had been reduced to ten men, as the Lions lost on the road for the first time since the opening day of the season to slip to eighth in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
After naming the same side for seven successive matches, Lions boss Gary Holt took the opportunity to freshen up his side after the narrow defeat to St Johnstone as he made three changes, Jack McMillan, Steve Lawson and Craig Sibbald replaced Stevie Lawless, Keaghan Jacobs and Scott Robinson.
The weather was playing havoc in the early stages as the wind swirled around the pitch, with both sides struggling to find their range. Livi were the first to threaten on nine minutes as great work from Scott Pittman forced Delphin Tshiembe into an error before the midfielder found Ricki Lamie but his low cross couldn’t find Sibbald who was then penalised for a foul.
The Lions had a claim for a penalty two minutes later as Halkett appeared to be shoved but the referee was uninterested. Great work from Dolly Menga won Livi a corner on 13 minutes that was met by Halkett but Menga was penalised for a foul and Accies survived. Tom Taiwo then picked up the game’s first yellow card on 21 minutes for a heavy challenge on Halkett. Lawton’s resulting free kick was met by Alan Lithgow but no one could get on the end of his header across goal.
It was all Livi and Lamie had a chance for his first goal for the club on 23 minutes as he spun in the box but could only fire his effort high over the bar. For all their dominance, though, the Lions were almost caught on the break as Fredrik Brustad was sent clean through but Liam Kelly made a superb low save to deny the Norwegian.
Livi were quickly back on the front foot and a cross from Lawson on 27 minutes was met by Lamie whose header was blocked. The ball fell to Declan Gallagher but he didn’t get the contact he was looking for and his shot trundled wide. Ziggy Gordon then went into the book shortly after for a foul on Lawson.
Accies were struggling to impose themselves on the game but came close to an opener on 34 minutes when Aaron McGowan tried his luck from distance but Kelly saved comfortably. Up the other end, Sibbald then saw an effort deflected over after being teed up by Menga.
The Lions then passed up a big chance to take the lead on 41 minutes as Gallagher freed Lamie down the left. He hit the byline and cut the ball back for McMillan but his touch let him down and the Accies defence was able to clear. Shaun Byrne then played a neat one-two with Sibbald before curling an effort just wide as the two sides went in at the break level.
Hamilton Academical 0-0 Livingston
The second half was slow to get going and it was eight minutes before either side threatened, Brustad getting to the byline for Accies but seeing his cut back comfortably gathered by Kelly. Pittman then saw a shot well saved by Gary Woods before Livi were forced into a change a minute later as Lawless came on for the injured McMillan.
Lawless was quickly involved in the action as he fired in an effort that may have struck an Accies arm in the box but referee Alan Muir was once more unmoved. Accies then went close on the hour mark as Mickel Miller’s strike was blocked by Lithgow. That sparked a Livi counter attack that saw Menga run through on goal but he slid the ball just wide as Woods rushed out.
Miller picked up a yellow card on 62 minutes for another rash foul on Halkett before McGowan had another go from distance that was deflected into the arms of Kelly. Accies then made a change on 67 minutes as former Livi loanee Steven Boyd came on for Rakish Bingham before Livi followed suit a minute later, sending on Egli Kaja for Sibbald.
Tshiembe picked up a booking on 69 minutes after clattering Menga before Livi’s final change saw Bobby Burns come on for Lamie and he was quickly involved as he was shown a yellow card for a foul in the middle of the park. Accies then made a final change nine minutes from time as Bloomfield replaced Brustad.
As heavy rain started to fall, the home side were reduced to ten men five minutes from time when Miller picked up a second yellow card. Livi couldn’t take advantage, though, as Accies broke the deadlock two minutes from time when Bloomfield ran through on goal and, although Kelly got a touch on his effort, it had enough power to take it into the net.
Livi still had chances in injury time to rescue a point as Bobby Burns saw an effort cannon back off the crossbar before Lawson curled a free kick just wide as Livi slipped to a frustrating defeat.
Full-time: Hamilton Academical 1-0 Livingston
Hamilton Academical: Woods, Tshiembe, Kilgallon, Gordon, McGowan, Martin, Taiwo (Penny 73), Miller, Keatings, Brustad (Bloomfield 81), Bingham (Boyd 66)
Subs not used: Marsden, McMann, Smith, Sowah
Goals: Bloomfield (86)
Livingston: Kelly, Lamie (Burns 71), Gallagher, Halkett, Lithgow, McMillan (Lawless 53), Byrne, Pittman, Sibbald (Kaja 69), Lawson, Menga
Subs not used: Stewart, Robinson, Hamilton, Jacobs
Referee: Alan Muir
Match Report: Andy Crawford
Photos: Rae Irvine