Livingston 2-2 Queen of the South

Dylan Mackin struck nine minutes from time to rescue a point for Livi as they continued their solid start to life back in the Championship against Queen of the South at the Tony Macaroni Arena.

Josh Mullin’s penalty had given the Lions the lead just before the break but quickfire goals from Andy Stirling and Derek Lyle looked to have given Gary Naysmith’s side all three points before Mackin’s late intervention.

Livi boss David Hopkin made two changes to the side that suffered penalty shootout agony against TNS the week before as Jackson Longridge and Nikolay Todorov came in for Scott Robinson and Nicky Cadden.

Before the match, there was a guard of honour for Lions midfielder Keaghan Jacobs to commemorate his achievement in becoming the club’s record appearance holder. The match also marked the first time he has come up against brother Kyle, who lined up in the Queens midfield.

The visitors had the first chance of the contest but prolific striker Stephen Dobbie could only head wide under pressure before Jacobs was on hand to clear the danger after a quick counter-attack by Queens.

Livi had to wait until the 17th minute until their first effort on goal and young keeper Jack Leighfield proved more than a match for Nikolay Todorov after the Bulgarian’s first touch in traffic presented him with a great opportunity to break the deadlock.

Danny Mullen then saw his deflected shot tipped wide of the post as the hosts grew into proceedings.

After a scrappy spell, with a few meaty challenges, Livi got themselves in front on 40 minutes when Craig Halkett’s surging run from defence resulted in the captain playing through Mullen.

The striker cut inside but his progress was impeded by Jason Kerr, with referee Steven McLean having no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

Up stepped Mullin to thunder home his first goal of the season and give his side a slender lead at the interval.

Half-time: Livingston 1-0 Queen of the South

Livi would have the better of the early stages of the second half but were unable to find a crucial second goal.

Gary Naysmith threw all of his eggs into the one basket with a triple substitution on the hour mark, with James McFadden making his debut while Stirling and Lyle were also brought on.

And the decision paid off handsomely as Stirling curled home a beauty 10 minutes after he was introduced, being given far too much room in the middle of the park, before Lyle pounced after Declan Gallagher let a long ball bounce on the edge of the penalty box to clip over Alexander and into the net six minutes later.

Naysmith wasn’t the only boss who made a crucial change, though, as Mackin rescued a share of the spoils on 81 minutes when Alan Lithgow passed the ball across the face of goal for the striker to prod home.

Try as they might, the hosts were unable to find a winner their play deserved as their search for a first home league win of the season continued.

Full-time: Livingston 2-2 Queen of the South

Livingston: Alexander, Gallagher, Halkett, Lithgow, Mullin, Byrne, Pittman, Jacobs (Carrick 78), Longridge, Mullen (De Vita 78), Todorov (Mackin 61)
Subs not used: McMillan, Cadden, Robinson, Penrice
Goals: Mullin (40 pen), Mackin (81)

QOTS: Leighfield, Marshall, Fordyce, Brownlie, Tapping, Rankin (Stirling 60), Kane (McFadden 61), Dobbie, Jacobs, Kerr, Dykes (Lyle 60)
Subs not used: Martin, Rooney, Murray, Mercer
Goals: Stirling (71), Lyle (77)

Referee: Steven McLean
Att: 1,113
Match Report: Andy Crawford
Photos: Rae Irvine

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