Motherwell 1-1 Livingston

Livi battled back to secure a deserved point against ten-man Motherwell at Fir Park and extend their unbeaten run in the Ladbrokes Premiership to seven games.

After Ryan Bowman’s effort had been deflected in to give the home side a half-time lead, Keaghan Jacobs’ glorious free kick brought the Lions level before Carl McHugh was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Dolly Menga.

Gary Holt’s side were unchanged from the famous win over Rangers and came within a whisker of breaking the deadlock inside five minutes as Scott Pittman teed up Scott Robinson and his fierce strike took a deflection and whizzed inches past the post. Jacobs’ resulting corner was comfortably dealt with by the ‘Well defence.

More good play from the Lions three minutes later saw Robinson find Craig Halkett and, after his shot was blocked, Ricki Lamie’s cross found Menga at the back post but his header looped onto the roof of the net. The home side then tested Liam Kelly for the first time on 14 minutes as McHugh let fly from long distance but the Livi stopper was behind it all the way and held it well.

The home side broke the deadlock on 17 minutes as Declan Gallagher’s block only steered the ball into Curtis Main’s path and he slipped in Bowman who fired an effort past Kelly with the aid of a sizeable deflection from Halkett.

Livi thought they had drawn level on 24 minutes when, after a scramble in the box, the ball bounced into the net off a Motherwell leg, only for referee Willie Collum to controversially rule it out for an apparent foul on keeper Trevor Carson. Several seconds had passed between the ball hitting the net and the whistle sounding, leaving the Lions players furious.

The Lions were still doing most of the pressing and Stevie Lawless came close to a terrific goal against his former club on 26 minutes as he tried his luck from 25 yards and saw his effort dip just over the bar. ‘Well captain Peter Hartley then somehow escaped a yellow card twelve minutes later as he scythed down Menga after the Angolan striker had spun away from him.

Motherwell screamed for a penalty for handball on 40 minutes but the referee was unmoved before a frustrated Menga, having been the subject of some rough treatment from the home defence, picked up a yellow card for a foul on Tom Aldred as the two sides went at the break with the Lions unlucky to be behind.

Half-time: Motherwell 1-0 Livingston

Motherwell started the second half brightly and Lamie picked up a yellow card for a trip on Chris Cadden as he threatened to break clear down the right.

Livi were enjoying much of the possession but were struggling to break down the home defence until they were awarded a free kick for a foul on Menga 25 yards out, for which Hartley was shown a yellow card. Jacobs stepped up and curled a magnificent strike into the top left corner, with Carson well beaten.

McHugh picked up his first yellow card on 72 minutes after catching Gallagher with a stray elbow as they challenged for a high ball, leaving the Livi defender needing treatment for a cut to his head. The hosts then made a double change four minutes later as Gaël Bigirimana and Danny Johnson replaced Main and Andy Rose.

Livi made their first switch on 76 minutes and it was a memorable moment for the Cadden family as Nicky came on for Lawless to go up against twin brother Chris for the very first time. The hosts were then reduced to ten men a minute later as McHugh received a second booking for a clumsy tackle on Menga.

The Lions made their second change nine minutes from time as Steve Lawson came on for Robinson before Gallagher was booked for “taking one for the team” as he brought down Cadden to stop a ‘Well breakaway. Jack Hamilton then came on for Menga on 86 minutes before Johnson was cautioned for a high boot on Lamie.

The Lions almost won it in the dying seconds as Lithgow got on the end of Cadden’s corner but saw header scrambled off the line by a combination of Carson and a defender as Livi were forced to settle for a point that was the least they deserved.

Full-time: Motherwell 1-1 Livingston

Motherwell: Carson, Tait, McHugh, Aldred, Hartley, Cadden, Campbell, Main (Johnson 74), Bowman, Rose (Bigirimana 73), Donnelly
Subs not used: Gillerpie, Taylor-Sinclair, Grimshaw, Sammon, Turnbull
Goals: Bowman (17)

Livingston: Kelly, Lamie, Lithgow, Byrne, Jacobs, Pittman, Lawless (Cadden 76), Robinson (Lawson 81), Halkett, Gallagher, Menga (Hamilton 87)
Subs not used: Stewart, McMillan, Sibbald, Burns
Goals: Jacobs (64)

Referee: Willie Collum
Match Report: Andy Crawford
Photos: Rae Irvine
Att: 4,256

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