Goals from Joel Nouble and Ayo Obileye sealed back to back Premiership victories for the Lions as they defeated Hibs 2-1 at the Tony Macaroni Arena.
David Martindale’s men got off to the best possible start, as Joel Nouble gave his side the lead on six minutes. Jason Holt did brilliantly to rob Noan Kenneh in the middle of the park, before finding Nouble. The striker did the rest. He left Paul Hanlon for dead before slotting beyond David Marshall into the bottom corner.
The striker had a chance to make it 2-0 shortly after, and again it was Hibs’ slack play that presented Livi with a chance. Nouble intercepted Chris Cadden’s poor pass before ghosting by Porteous, but this time his strike was stopped by Marshall.
It was a strong first half from Livingston, but they only led by one and Hibs would quickly cause problems in the second half. The half time arrival of Martin Boyle lifted the travelling fans.
On 51 minutes, Hibs levelled. A Joe Newell free-kick was headed across goal and initially saved by Shamal George, however after failing to clear their lines Livingston were punished with Kenneh getting the final touch to take the ball into the back of the net for the equaliser.
The match started to heat up both by way of chances and intensity. Both sets of players looked up for it, and there started to be a little bit of needle between some players. Cristian Montaño found himself booked, and subsequently fouled Boyle which saw Hibs players demand a second yellow for the Colombian to no avail.
Then, after being booked himself for his protests, Boyle went down unchallenged in the box to huge claims of a dive from the Livingston players and dugout, but the winger went unpunished.
Still on the pitch, Boyle was causing problems on the right as he searched for a winner for his side. The winger drove inside and flashed a strike at goal, but it smashed into the side netting.
It seemed as though Livi had weathered the storm and dealt with the momentum Hibs had got from their equaliser. The hosts went in search of a winner themselves. Stephane Omeonga’s cut back found Nouble just inside the box, the forward made space for a strike but his effort curled just over the bar.
Livi had a glorious chance on 76 minutes, with Nouble involved again. This time in a wide position, he shrugged off two Hibs players and breezed down the byline before picking out substitute Bruce Anderson in the box. The striker took a touch before smashing a strike destined for goal, but there was former Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall to make a brilliant stop from close range.
The Lions had another claim for a Hibs player to be sent off with Martin Cabraja scything down Nicky Devlin whilst already on a yellow card. No card was given, but Livi were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position and they took full advantage. Sean Kelly’s pinpoint delivery was met by the head of Ayo Obileye whose bullet header flew beyond Marshall to give Livingston a late winner just four minutes from time!
Elie Youan tried his best to get Hibs back on level terms in stoppage time. Cutting inside from the left, his powerful shot took a deflection however Shamal George made a quick adjustment to pull off a great stop.
It should have been 2-2 with one of the last kicks of the ball as Hibs pushed again. Boyle squared for substitute Mohamed Bojang, but the striker couldn’t find the target on the stretch as his effort flew over the bar from close range.
Livingston held on to earn a vital three points, and made it back to back Premiership victories. It’s also their fourth consecutive victory over Lothian rivals Hibs.
Match Report: Calum Brown
Match report to follow…
Livingston: George, Devlin©️ (Brandon 89), Fitzwater, Obileye, Montaño ▊ (Cancar 64), Holt, Omeonga, Kelly, Shinnie (Anderson 75), Pittman, Nouble
Subs not used: Konovalov, Longridge, Bitsindou, Bahamboula, Mullin, Gonçalves
Goals: Nouble (6), Obileye (86)
Hibernian: Marshall©️, Cadden, Porteous, Hanlon (McGregor 82), Cabraja ▊, Kenneh, Newell, Melkersen (Doidge 22), Tavares (Boyle 45 ▊), Henderson (Doyle-Hayes 82), Youan
Subs not used: Miller, Bojang, Dabrowski, McClelland, MacIntyre
Goals: Kenneh (51)
Referee: Craig Napier