Ten-man Livi showed their never-say-die attitude yet again as Jackson Longridge struck with the last kick of the game to rescue a vital point against playoff rivals Morton at the Tony Macaroni Arena.
After Shaun Byrne had been sent off for two bookings, Gary Oliver looked to have clinched all three points for Jim Duffy’s side but Longridge had other ideas and his 20-yard strike sealed an unlikely draw for David Hopkin’s side in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
With his side having been out of action since the sides last met in Greenock two weeks ago, the Lions boss made two changes from the 1-0 win as goalscorer Nicky Cadden and Scott Robinson dropped out to be replaced by Josh Mullin and Jordan Thompson. Robinson dropped to the bench with Cadden missing out altogether through injury.
It was a very quiet start to the match with the visitors, chasing their first win over the Lions this season, having the first sight of goal on 17 minutes when Michael Tidser’s inswinging free kick was met by Gary Harkins but he could only send his header wide of the left hand post. They came close again three minutes later when Oliver received the ball from Jack Iredale and jinked away from a defender before firing in a fierce effort that was straight at Neil Alexander.
Livi had the ball in the net a minute later when Lee Miller tapped home after Thompson’s effort had been well saved by Derek Gaston but the linesman’s flag was correctly raised for offside before the visitors claimed for a penalty when Scott Tiffoney went down under pressure from Declan Gallagher but referee Greg Aitken was unmoved by their appeals.
The Lions came close to breaking the deadlock on 29 minutes when Pittman did well to avoid Ricki Lamie’s challenge before releasing Mullin but his effort fizzed narrowly wide from the edge of the box. The visitors claimed for a penalty once more four minutes later when Oliver claimed he was tugged back but both the referee and nearside linesman were uninterested.
Morton had Gaston to thank for keeping them on level terms on 33 minutes when Mullin and Ryan Hardie linked up well and the former fired in a low strike from just inside the box Gaston saved well with his feet before he then diverted Raffaele De Vita’s follow-up wide at the near post. The Ton keeper then had to be alert to tip Mullin’s swerving corner over the bar as it looked set to drop into the net.
Alan Lithgow picked up a soft yellow card on 40 minutes for apparently obstructing Andy Murdoch on the wing before Mullin fired over the bar from long range four minutes as the sides went in at the break all-square.
Half-time: Livingston 0-0 Greenock Morton
The Lions were far brighter at the start of the second half than they had been in the first and had the first sniff of a chance on 48 minutes when Thompson’s cross from the left was met by Hardie but his glancing header was well wide and Mullin couldn’t keep the ball in play. Craig Halkett then went into the book for a foul on Tiffoney before Hardie fired a snapshot over the bar from close range.
Livi made their first change on 58 minutes as Longridge replaced De Vita before Byrne picked up his first booking a minute later for another foul on Tiffoney. Hardie went closer on 62 minutes when he wriggled into space before shooting straight at Gaston before the Lions found themselves right up against it four minutes as Byrne was shown his second yellow card for a lazy foul on Harkins in midfield. Harkins then picked up a booking soon after for a blatant dive in the box as he tried to con a penalty out of the referee.
Perhaps intending to settle for a point, Livi sent on Keaghan Jacobs for Miller on 69 minutes before the visitors came close to taking the lead two minutes later when Tidser’s low effort was well saved by Alexander. A final Livi change saw Mullin replaced by Jack McMillan on 72 minutes as Livi boss Hopkin set his side up for a late onslaught from the visitors.
The visitors came close on 78 minutes when Harkins barged his way into the box and the ball fell for Ross but he fired his effort high over the bar. That was Ross’ final involvement as he was replaced by Gary Fraser a minute later. Livi had defended stoutly since going down to ten men but it looked like they had suffered late heartache as Morton took the lead on 88 minutes when the ball fell kindly for Oliver and he fired home through a crowd from close range.
Livi’s cushion in second place looked set to be cut to five points but there was more drama to come and, after being teed up by Pittman, Longridge let fly from 25 yards and saw his effort fly past Gaston to salvage a potentially huge point for the Lions and extend their unbeaten run in the Ladbrokes Championship to eight games.
Full-time: Livingston 1-1 Greenock Morton
Livingston: Alexander, Lithgow, Halkett, Gallagher, Mullin (McMillan 72), Pittman, Byrne, Thompson, De Vita (Longridge 58), Miller (Jacobs 69), Hardie
Subs not used: Maley, Buchanan, Robinson, Boyd
Goals: Longridge (90)
Morton: Gaston, Murdoch (Baird 90), O’Ware, Lamie, Oliver, Tidser, Harkins, Tiffoney, Russell, Ross (Fraser 79), Iredale
Subs not used: McHugh, Strapp, Gasparotto, Langan, Brennan
Goals: Oliver (88)
Referee: Greg Aitken
Match Report: Andy Crawford
Photos: Rae Irvine