Saturday 29 January 2011

Livingston 4 - 3 East Fife
HT (2 - 1)

Livingston managed to retain their grasp on top spot in the Second Division on Saturday, after two goals in the last eight minutes gave them a 4-3 win in a pulsating encounter with East Fife at the Braidwood Motor Company Stadium.

Livi raced into an early 2-0 lead after goals from Keaghan Jacobs and Liam Fox, but East Fife mounted a stirring comeback to lead 3-2 with quarter of an hour remaining.

Bobby Barr and Jacobs again came to the Lions rescue, however, as Gary Bollan’s side maintained their one point lead over second placed Ayr United.

Livi edged ahead in what was to become a seven-goal thriller after only 43 seconds. Iain Russell evaded challenges down the right flank, before drilling a low cross into the box.

Kenny Deuchar, making his home debut, could get on the end of the delivery, but Jacobs was on hand at the back post to sweep the ball high into the net.

Livi kept up the pressure in the opening stages, and doubled their lead after only twelve minutes. After a superb long clearance from keeper Tony Bullock Russell again turned provider to square the ball to Fox, who, from fully 25 yards, rifled a half-volley into the top corner.

And the Lions could have extended that lead further before the half hour. Jacobs chose to shoot when he could have played in Deuchar, before Iain Russell twice found himself bearing down on Micheal Brown in the away goal, only for the keeper to twice thwart the striker.

Despite the early home pressure, East Fife, managed by ex-Livi player and manager John Robertson, managed to find a way back into the match. Bobby Linn took a free kick over thirty yards from goal, and although the effort was straight at Livi keeper Bullock, the big keeper fumbled the effort over the line.

The visitors seemed buoyed from the goal, and after the break started to dominate proceedings. Bullock was called into action as he atoned for his earlier blunder, doing superbly to tip a deflected long-range effort round the post.

The pressure paid off after 72 minutes, with Jim Hamilton and Stevie Crawford combining superbly on the edge of the box, the latter lashing the ball past Bullock to level the scores.

Almost immediately, East Fife came within inches of taking the lead. A low Jim Hamilton effort produced a stunning reflex save from Bullock, and in the ensuing melee, David Muir contrived to scoop the ball off the bar and post from only a couple of yards out.

The visitors would not be denied the lead, however, and from the resulting corner Muir pounced on a lacklustre clearance to volley East Fife ahead with 15 minutes to go.

A potentially damaging result on the cards, Livi rallied – and Bobby Barr, after collecting the ball at the corner flag, went on a mazy run before unleashing a low shot which beat Brown at his near post to level the scores once more.

Just as a point looked likely for both teams, Jacobs latched on to a wonderful reverse pass from Robbie Winters in the last minute, before managing to squeeze the ball home from a tight angle and send the home crowd into delirium.

Livi boss Gary Bollan was pleased with the comeback, but disappointed with his side’s defending. He said, “It was a game and a half but we can't afford to be defending like that and expect to win games."

Livingston: Bullock, C.Barr, MacDonald (Malone 63), Watson, Hamill,, Fox, Kn.Jacobs, Deuchar (Winters 76), Russell, Conway (B.Barr 45).
Subs Not Used: McDowall, Ky.Jacobs

East Fife : Brown, Durie, Ovenstone, McGowan, Smart (Fagan 83), Muir, Linn, Hamilton, Hislop (Crawford 70), Sloan, Johnstone (Young 65)
Subs Not Used: Lyness, Weir

Att: 1340

Ref: G.Salmond

Report: Calum Leslie