With 858 in attendance at the Tony Macaroni Arena, Livi looked to continue their 100% winning start at home against Brechin, who topped the league coming in to today’s fixture.
It was the visitors who started the brighter with a few glimpses of goal from long range, most notably Andy Jackson’s effort. The striker found himself with a few yards of space but couldn’t hit the target. It was a sleepy start by the hosts.
Only 13 minutes in, Brechin found themselves a man down due to injury, when Chris O’Neill was forced to leave the field, and he replaced by Elliot Ford. Straight after the substitution, the Lions took a throw in close to their opponents’ corner flag. Long throw specialist Alan Lithgow launched the ball into the box to find fellow defender Sean Crighton who rose above his man but, unfortunately for Livi, his header hit the post. Just three minutes later, the hosts hit the woodwork for a second time.
A corner found Lithgow and his header fell to Buchanan, who stabbed the ball towards goal, but the post denied the Lions again. Livi were in complete control at this stage in the game, while Brechin just looked to sit back and hope for success on the counter attack. However Livi kept up their domination and continued to probe for an opening. Liam Buchanan skipped past his man and appeared to be felled in the box. The Livi faithful assumed it was a penalty but the striker was booked for simulation.
Livingston came close again to opening the scoring, this time through Nicky Cadden’s shot, which was saved by Smith in the Brechin goal. Moments later, Livi’s persistence paid off as they were rewarded for their hard work. Crighton’s long clearance found Liam Buchanan who controlled the ball superbly with a sublime first touch. His driven shot was saved by Smith, but Livi’s top scorer Danny Mullen was on cue to poke home the rebound to put the Lions deservedly 1-0 ahead.
Brechin started to come into the game more towards the end of the half. Andy Jackson saw another effort missed, this time he hit the target but Liam Kelly was down to make a fantastic save at full stretch.
Half Time: Livingston 1-0 Brechin City
The second half began slowly for Livi, with Brechin taking the early initiative. However, it wasn’t long before the hosts began their domination again, with some great passing football, looking for their second to extend their lead. Two chances came within 10 minutes of the re-start.
Firstly, Buchanan was through on goal but opted to cut it back instead of shooting, but his pass was blocked. Then, more tireless work from Buchanan allowed him to pick out Mullen with a cross, but the young forward’s header was saved. The game opened up and the visitors almost equalised against the run of play. A long ball was flicked on to Ross Caldwell who found himself in on goal. The striker coolly took it past Kelly but the angle was too wide and it looked as though he’d lost the chance to score. But somehow he managed to fire towards goal but his shot was cleared off the line by the Alan Lithgow.
Livi created another chance from another fantastic corner, flicked down by Crighton, but Buchanan’s smashed his volley over the bar. The striker couldn’t seem to find the back of the net despite a few golden opportunities although his link up play was impressive.
Two minutes later though, Livi were 2-0 in front. Scott Pittman was allowed far too much room to dribble in midfield and he let rip from 20 yards with a wonderful striker found that found the top corner.
Both sides made changes, with Josh Mullin making way for Liam Watt for Livi, and Alan Trouten replacing Fraser Graham for Brechin. Within seconds of coming on, Trouten put the ball in the back of the net and reduced Livi’s lead to a single goal. A good cross from the left was fired into the hosts’ six yard box and the midfielder found himself completely unmarked to volley into the roof of the net with a great finish.
The home fans began to feel anxious, fearing a comeback despite Livi controlling the match for long spells. With the game slowly coming to an end, Livi made two further substitutons, with Buchanan and Cadden making way for Lewis Allan and Jordan Sinclair to see out the remainder of the game.
The match finished 2-1 to Livi and The Lions claimed another important 3 points, ending Brechin’s unbeaten start to the season in the process. David Hopkin’s side moved into joint top spot with Alloa, both sides having identical records with the same points, goals scored and goals conceded.
The exciting start to the season continues next week, with Livi travelling to Methil to face 4th place East Fife while Alloa visit bottom-of-the-table Stenhousemuir.
Livingston: Kelly, Crighton, Halkett, Lithgow, Miller, Byrne, Mullin (Watt 70), Pittman, Cadden (Sinclair 84), Buchanan (Allan 90), Mullen
Subs not used: Maley, Knox, Currie, Carrick
Goals: Mullen (34), Pittman (65)
Brechin City: G.Smith, McLean, Dyer, E.Smith, Hill (McCormack 90), C.O’Neil (Ford 15), Dale, Graham (Trouten 71), Love, Jackson, Caldwell
Subs not used: Rodger, Lynas, Fusco, P.O’Neil
Goals: Trouten (72)
Referee: Alan Newlands
Match Report: Calum Brown