Livi were made to pay for a host of missed chances as Aberdeen staged a smash-and-grab raid to take all three points on a frustrating afternoon at the Tony Macaroni Arena.
The Dons were in their traditional red shirts but a black-and-white striped jumper might have been more appropriate as goals from Andy Considine and a dubious Sam Cosgrove penalty, their only chances of more in the game, saw the Lions slump to a first home defeat of the season.
Gary Holt made just the one enforced change to his starting line-up from the 3-1 defeat at Ibrox as Scott Robinson came in for the suspended Lyndon Dykes.
The Lions made a lively start and great wing play from Nicky Devlin on 18 minutes saw him whip a dangerous cross into the Dons box that was just out of the reach of both Robinson and Chris Erskine. Visiting keeper Joe Lewis was then tested two minutes later when Keaghan Jacobs released Stevie Lawless who played in Robinson but the Dons stopper was out smartly to block his low effort.
Livi saw another missed chance on 24 minutes as Lawless played a fine ball through for Erskine but he could only curl his shot a yard over the crossbar from just inside the box. The visitors would punish the Lions for those missed opportunities six minutes later as they took the lead with their first attack when a corner from the left wasn’t dealt with and the ball seemed to cannon off Considine and trundled past the despairing dive of Ross Stewart.
Livi responded well to the loss of the goal and came close to equalising on 37 minutes when Jacobs’ floated free kick found Jon Guthrie at the far post but his header was deflected wide for a corner that the Dons were able to clear.
They then passed up a huge chance to draw level on the stroke of half-time as pressure from Marvin Bartley forced an error and the Englishman drove into the box. He could perhaps have taken the shot himself but chose to square for Erskine and the pass was fractionally behind the former Partick Thistle man, who may have been bundled over as he burst forward, and the chance was lost meaning the Lions went in at the break behind for the first time this season.
Half-time: Livingston 0-1 Aberdeen
Livi made a change at the interval as Erskine was replaced by Jack Stobbs and picked up where they left off before the break, Bartley finding Stobbs out wide with a fine pass but the on-loan Sheffield Wednesday man’s cross was gathered by Lewis before Robinson could get there.
The Lions were forced into a second change on the hour mark as Bartley suffered what looked like a finger injury and, after trying to play on, had to be replaced by Steve Lawson. Aberdeen then made their first change four minutes later, Connor McLennan replacing Ryan Hedges. Livi’s third and final change then saw Scott Tiffoney replace Robinson.
Livi continued to do most of the attacking and worked an opening from a free kick on 66 minutes that saw Jacobs fire in an effort that looked to have been deflected wide, although a goal kick was given. Aberdeen then sent on Cosgrove for Curtis Main shortly after, a change that seemed to be warmly received by the travelling support.
The Lions were pushing hard and Lawson and Robbie Crawford both went close before Stobbs then linked up with Tiffoney but could only shoot wide from distance. Livi then came within a whisker of an equaliser on 74 minutes when the ball fell to Guthrie in the box but his scrambled effort appeared to come off both the post and bar before he headed the rebound wide. Shay Logan then replaced Zak Vyner in the Dons’ final change moments later.
Jacobs picked up the game’s first yellow card for a foul on Dean Campbell eight minutes from time before a rare venture forward from the Dons on 88 minutes saw Lewis Ferguson fire over from the edge of the box.
The visitors were handed the chance to seal the points in added time when Jacobs was adjudged to have fouled Cosgrove in the box and a penalty was awarded. Whether it was even a foul is debatable but what was clear is that any contact had taken place outside the box, adding to the Lions’ frustrations. Cosgrove sent Stewart the wrong way from the spot to send the Dons up to third and condemn the Lions to a second straight defeat.
Full-time: Livingston 0-2 Aberdeen
Livingston: Stewart, Devlin, McMillan, Lamie, Guthrie, Bartley (Lawson 60), Jacobs, Crawford, Erskine (Stobbs 45), Lawless, Robinson (Tiffoney 66)
Subs Not Used: Sarkic, Pepe, Sibbald, Souda
Aberdeen: Lewis, Vyner (Logan 75), Devlin, Considine, Leigh, Ferguson, Campbell, Gallagher, McGinn, Hedges (McLennan 64), Main (Cosgrove 67)
Subs Not Used: Cerny, Barron, Wilson, Anderson
Goals: Considine (29), Cosgrove (90 pen)
Referee: Nick Walsh
Match Report: Andy Crawford
Photos: Rae Irvine