Livingston sealed the 2nd Division championship with a confident and comfortable victory over second bottom Stenhousemuir at Ochilview.
The game was filled with few chances but the Lions were clinical at putting away theirs and were rarely troubled by the home side. Goals from midfielders Kyle Jacobs, Liam Fox and David Sinclair were enough to ensure the three points and the title returned to the Braidwood Motor Company Stadium.
Things opened slowly with nerves showing for both sides, Stenny keen to move away from the relegation zone and Livi with a chance to wrap up the league. It wasn’t until the game was in its 11th minute that the Lions got their first sight at goal: Keaghan Jacobs sidestepping several of the home defence before choosing to pass rather than shoot.
Liam Fox followed up the chance a minute later, releasing a shot that was marginally wide of the post.
Rafa De Vita managed to send a powerful shot goalwards in the 21st minute, but found it was straight at the keeper.
The biggest chance of the game so far fell to Russell, but he failed to capitalise. Seconds later there were calls for a penalty for a foul in the box, but these were quickly waved away by the referee.
Craig Barr had the next opportunity for Livi, heading just over after a corner by Joe Hamill. Fox followed this up minutes later with a volleyed shot going wide.
The sizeable Lions support was only made to wait a few moments for the first goal of the game. After a failed Liam Fox shot, the ball found Joe Hamill who sent it to Rafa De Vita The striker then sent in a low powerful cross, and Kyle Jacobs knocked the ball easily into the back of the net with 35minutes on the clock to the delight of the Livi support. This ended a double celebration as they’d just heard of East Fife’s lead over title rivals Brechin City.
Stenny’s first opportunity of the match came 9 minutes from the interval. A series of corners saw Tony Bullock making a weak parry, but was fortunately cleared for another corner.
The game was only minutes into the second half when the referee made a highly contentious decision, only booking goalkeeper Chris McLuskey for bringing down Rafaelle De Vita just outside the box, with many in the ground calling for a red card.
Hamill had the first opportunity of the second half, a free kick parried wide by the Warriors’ keeper.
Stenhousemuir had their first shot on target with 58 minutes on the clock, Ross Clark finding the hands of Tony Bullock.
It was seconds after this chance that Liam Fox found the back of the net with a volley into the centre of the goal.
Stenny had a chance to claw one back, but Sean Dickson’s shot wasn’t enough to rile the Lions backline.
Livi had a chance to add to their lead in the 80th minute, after a corner, Fox and De Vita played a quick 1-2, before the former sent his shot just over.
With news filtering through of East Fife’s 3-1 lead over Livi’s nearest challengers, the noise from the crowd began to grow, and this found its way onto the pitch as substitute David Sinclair got on the end of a move by Robbie Winters, and his strike found the back of the net to complete the Lions scoring just moments before the final whistle.
With a late kick-off at Glebe Park, the celebrations were somewhat subdued at the final whistle, but when the news finally came through of Brechin’s defeat, the players and fans’ celebrations began.
The Lions comfortably beat their opposition on the day and completed a successful challenge for the second division title. After great work by the players throughout the entire season, they got their just rewards.
Congratulations to the Players, Management and Directors.
Stenhousemuir: McCluskey, Lyle, Paton (Sloane 63), Gibb, I.Thomson, Dickson, Anderson, Gilmuir, Clark (Lynch 68), Murray, Quinn (Stirling 61)
Subs not used: McLennan, S.Thomson, Lynch
Livingston: Bullock, C.Barr, Cowan, Talbot, Watson, Hamill, Fox, Ky.Jacobs (Sinclair 84), Kn.Jacobs, Russell (Winters 86), De Vita (Deuchar 86)
Subs not used: McDowall, D.Jacobs
Report: Chris Naismith