Livi earned their first home victory over The Dons since 2004 thanks to goals from Ayo Obileye and Alan Forrest as they bounced back from Tuesday’s defeat to St Johnstone.
It took Livingston just eight minutes to go in front. Alan Forrest was fouled by Ross McCrorie out wide, and from the resultant free kick the winger’s delivery was cleared to the edge of the box. Former Aberdeen man Bruce Anderson was first to react as he fired towards goal, and his shot found the feet of Ayo Obileye who exquisitely flicked beyond Gary Woods from close range to give The Lions an early lead.
The Dons came forward in the attempt of finding an equaliser before half time, and felt aggrieved when they were denied a penalty. Calvin Ramsay’s corner was floated in and, as he battled with Nicky Devlin, Lewis Ferguson fell to the ground under contact from the Livi captain but Kevin Clancy waved away the claims. It wouldn’t be the referee’s last involvement in a heated match.
Cristian Montano tried his luck from the edge of the box as the rain lashed down in West Lothian, but Gary Woods was equal to the effort. The Colombian was then booked for a trip on Jonny Hayes.
Some slack Aberdeen passing allowed Livingston to break forward again as Alan Forrest drove down the left wing, but his strike flew over the bar.
For all their possession, Aberdeen hadn’t created anything of note and they were to be punished four minutes after the break when Alan Forrest doubled Livingston’s lead. The winger beat the offside trap and latched onto a through ball from Montano before beautifully dinking over the onrushing Woods. It was a lovely finish as the former Ayr United man made it two goals in a week after his winner at Easter Road.
Despite their two goal cushion, Livi knew the game wasn’t over and they pushed on for a third with Aberdeen all over the place. Jason Holt curled a left-footed effort at goal, but a fingertip save from Gary Woods pushed the strike onto the post.
On 66 minutes, Aberdeen pulled one back through top goal scorer Christian Ramirez. The American reacted brilliantly when McCrorie’s cross wasn’t fully cleared, swinging his boot at the ball and connecting perfectly to dispatch into the top corner.
Lewis Ferguson was denied a leveller moments later when he connected with Jonny Hayes’ cross. Max Stryjek stunningly stopped the midfielder’s powerful header.
Livi felt the pressure and it was backs to the wall for the remainder of the match, with Aberdeen pushing for an equaliser. The tough task of holding on to their lead was made even more difficult for the hosts when Cristian Montano received a second yellow card for a tussle with Vicente Besuijen.
Aberdeen would create one last chance at the death; and it was former Livi man Jay Emmanuel-Thomas with the chance to snatch a point. Besuijen’s cut back was met on the volley by the forward, but on the line to clear was Jack Fitzwater who brilliantly positioned himself to put his body in the way before Stryjek eliminated the danger as he punched away.
The Lions held on to claim all three points which saw fans, staff and players alike erupt into celebrations. You could see how much the win had meant to the players who had put in an enormous shift in what was an absolutely intense, high emotion battle with a total of 13 yellow cards and one red shown by referee Kevin Clancy
But, it was a battle which Livingston won as they earned a vital victory over a side they’ve struggled against since promotion.
Match Report: Calum Brown
Livingston: Stryjek ▊, Devlin, Fitzwater ▊, Obileye, Penrice, Holt ▊, Omeonga ▊, Lewis ▊ (Pittman 45 ▊), Montaño ▊, Forrest ▊ (Boyes 84), Anderson (Chukwuemeka 84 (Bailey 90))
Subs not used: Maley, Longridge, McMillan, Kelly, Sibbald
Goals: Obileye (8), Forrest (49)
Aberdeen: Woods, McCrorie, Ramirez, Besuijen ▊, Montgomery (Emmanuel-Thomas 84), Ojo ▊, Hayes ▊, Ferguson, Jenks, Ramsay (Kennedy 64), Bates
Subs not used: Ritchie, MacKenzie, Gallagher, Brown, McGeouch, Ruth, Milne
Goals: Ramirez (66)
Referee: Kevin Clancy