A first-half goal glut ensured Livingston picked up the three points this weekend, although unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to reclaim the top spot from Brechin City.
It only took 14 minutes before Livi found themselves in the lead. Some nice passing play allowed Iain Russell to get to the by-line and cut the ball back to Liam Fox. The skipper took a touch before squaring the ball to Robbie Winters who checked inside, sending two Stenny defenders the wrong way, before firing low into the corner.
Ten minutes later, and a brilliant show of counter-attacking football meant the lead was doubled. Aaron Conway’s headed clearance found Winters on the left wing. He slipped the ball inside to Bobby Barr, who continued the switch in play, finding Russell on the right. He drove forward and returned the ball to Barr, who had continued his run through the middle. The midfielder, still hunting for his first competitive Livi goal, took a touch and fired a shot which was parried by the ‘keeper who could only watch in horror as the ball ricocheted off Stenny defender Pat Scullion and into the net. Barr lead the celebrations but it’s unlikely he’ll be able to claim this one.
The Livi fans had barely sat down before they were celebrating a third goal – another fantastic counter-attack. Chris Malone’s hooked clearance fell to the lively Russell who drove down the line before passing inside to Winters. Winters then rolled the ball down the right to Conway who beat his man and rolled the ball into the bottom corner with the outside of his right foot.
You could have forgiven the Stenhousemuir players for completely caving in at this point, but they gave themselves a lifeline on 28 minutes. The ball found it’s way out to the left wing and what seemed to be a cross from Willie Lyle, deceived everyone and nestled in Bullock’s net.
The three-goal lead was however restored before half time. A superb free kick from Conway, met the head of Russell on the edge of the 6 yard box, giving the ‘keeper no chance. It was nothing less than Russell deserved after being involved in all three goals before this and generally being a menace all afternoon.
The second half was a much less eventful affair, although both teams did have great opportunities to score. A low drive into the box from Conway was met by Russell but his effort crashed off the post and wide. Stenhousemuir had two chances in quick succession. A long ball over the top, allowed the striker to get in behind the defence and just as he prepared to pull the trigger, Malone nicked the ball off his toes and out for a corner. From the resultant corner, Paul Watson headed the ball off the line after a powerful attacking header from Stenny.
A brilliant first-half display from the Lions who had the game wrapped up by half time. Peterhead are the next opponents at the Braidwood Motor Company Stadium as Livi look to get back to the top of the Irn-Bru Second Division.
Livingston: Bullock, C.Barr, Malone, Sinclair, O'Byrne, Watson, Fox (Ky.Jacobs 85), Conway (Scougall 72), Russell, Winters (McNulty 80), B.Barr
Subs Not Used: McDowall, MacDonald
Stenhousemuir: McCluskey, Lyle, Thom, Gibb, Smith, Motion, Anderson, Thomson, Quinn (Stirling 75), Scullion (Clark 61), Murray (Plenderleith 61)
Subs Not Used: Love, Brown
Report by Dave Black