Livingston see off Kilmarnock with 2-1 victory in second pre-season friendly.
Livingston made the trip to Ayrshire this afternoon to take on Kilmarnock in their second pre-season friendly of the summer.
Gary Holt made three changes from Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Dundee United, with Ciaron Brown, Nicky Devlin and Alan Forrest replacing Jack McMillan, Aaron Taylor-Sinclair and Aymen Souda.
As the rain lashed down at Rugby Park, the hosts had a chance in the opening minute. A free kick from deep was sent in by Greg Kiltie, but Mohamed El Makrini’s headed effort didn’t trouble Robby McCrorie.
On 17 minutes, Livi had their first chance of the match through defender Jon Guthrie. An Alan Forrest free kick was met by the head of Efe Ambrose, who nodded the ball into the path of Guthrie but his flick was blocked by Kilmarnock’s trialist goalkeeper.
Alan Forrest then opted to shoot from the next free kick from the corner of the box. His powerful effort was on target, but was fairly comfortably tipped wide.
Then, Killie threatened again with Aaron McGowan on the right wing. The full back cut inside his man and tried a shot from the edge of the box on his weaker left foot which was well held by McCrorie.
As the weather improved, so did Livingston as they took the lead on the 24th minute through new boy Alan Forrest. After a dangerous long-throw by Brown, Stuart Findlay’s headed clearance fell to Forrest just inside the box. He met the ball sweetly with his left foot on the volley and smashed home to put the Lions in front.
There was a chance for both sides before the break. Firstly, after some lovely control and hold-up play by Lyndon Dykes, Scott Pittman saw an effort tipped wide. Then, Kilmarnock came forward trying to level proceedings. McGowan’s cross was met by Whitehall, but his tame header was held by McCrorie.
Livingston made three changes for the second half, with Scott Pittman, Craig Sibbald and Robby McCrorie making way for Robbie Crawford, Scott Robinson and new signing Max Stryje, as the hosts made no fewer than nine substitutions.
Livingston were first to threaten after the break, with some more neat work by Dykes. The striker knocked the ball past Kirk Broadfoot to create space for the shot before firing an effort across goal which just flashed wide of the post.
On 51 minutes Kilmarnock were level. Chris Burke’s free kick from wide deflected off Scott Robinson and fell to the feet of Rory McKenzie on the left-hand side of the box. The winger smashed a low effort to Stryjek’s front post, but the goalkeeper couldn’t hold the strike which squirmed past him and narrowly over the line.
The hosts immediately pushed on looking to go in front. Eamonn Brophy had a go from the edge of the box after cutting in from the left wing, but his drive was straight at Stryjek.
The Lions did the same looking to restore their lead. After a nice flick-on by Dykes, Forrest found himself through on goal, but his tame finish was held by the goalkeeper.
On the hour mark, Livingston went in front again through an unlikely goalscorer. A short free-kick from Forrest to Crawford was deflected to Efe Ambrose on the right-hand side of the box. The defender cut inside and with the outside of his right boot put the ball into the far corner to make it 2-1.
Livi freshened things up a few minutes later, making five changes. Ciaron Brown, Lyndon Dykes, Jon Guthrie, Marvin Bartley and Efe Ambrose were replaced by Aaron Taylor-Sinclair, Jack Hamilton, Salim Kouider-Aissa, Carlo Pignatiello and Jack McMillan.
Looking comfortable and content to see out the lead, there weren’t many clear-cut chances for either side as the game went on.
Jack Hamilton had a tame effort held before Alan Forrest flashed an effort wide from the edge of the box before, but Livingston held on under no real threat towards the end from the hosts as they ran out 2-1 winners.
Kilmarnock Starting XI: Trialist; McGowan, Findlay, Rossi, Trialist, Brindley, El Makrini, Kiltie, Pinnock, Whitehall, Trialist
Subs: Trialist, Millen, Broadfoot, Rossi, Waters, Power, Taylor, Burke, McKenzie, Brophy, Kabamba, Cameron
Goals: McKenzie (51)
Livingston Starting XI: McCrorie, Devlin, Ambrose, Fitzwater, Guthrie, Brown, Bartley, Sibbald, Pittman, Forrest, Dykes
Subs: Stryjek, McMillan, Aaron Taylor-Sinclair, Crawford, Robinson Pignatiello, Hamilton, Souda, Kouider-Aissa
Goals: Forrest (24), Ambrose (60)
Match Report: Calum Brown