Livingston crashed out of the Ramsdens Cup at the penultimate stage as a Mark McLaughlin first half header provided the only goal of an eventful match.
The home side dominated the early stages with several good chances raining in on Andy McNeil’s goal. Ali Crawford latched onto an excellent pass across the box but saw his shot go just wide. McNeil held onto a perfect cross minutes later.
The Lions responded moments later with a free kick from David Sinclair which Craig Barr did well to knock back to Kenny Deuchar, whose attempt was deflected to Paul Watson, only to see his effort go wide.
McNeil was called into action again to save an attempt from a low shot by Derek Lyle. Minutes later Craig Barr came close to giving the travelling side the lead, but his leap marginally missed the ball in a dangerous area.
The Lions began to come into the game with Liam Fox connecting with a neat volley from David Sinclair’s Free Kick, but his effort was held by Tomas Cerny. Stefan Scougall came close minutes later, his surge forward ended in him holding onto the ball too long and shooting close to the keeper. Cerny was then lucky to recover his spill before the dangerous Bobby Barr got to it.
It was the superbly timed tackle of Paul Watson that prevented Ziggy Gordon from giving the Accies the lead after a well played counter attack. Minutes before half time McNeil made an excellent save. But it was from the resultant corner that the Accies took the lead, Mark McLaughlin meeting the cross to put the ball past Andy McNeil on 42mins.
Liam Fox came close to equalising just before half time, bringing down a Deuchar header and unleashing a powerful 25 yard shot which was unlucky to just fly wide.
Hamilton came out all guns blazing in the second half, gaining a series of corners with some excellent saves by McNeil and a clearance by Deuchar.
The Lions weren’t without their attempts, and a quick cross from Bobby Barr found the head of Deuchar who put over from the back post. The pressure continued as the visitors tried to find an equaliser, Sinclair passed to Russell who neatly headed onto Bobby Barr who was dispossessed by an excellent last ditch tackle.
Russell then had one of his many efforts, seeing his shot on the turn palmed away by the keeper for a quick series of corners. Sinclair followed up with his own close shot from a 25 yard free kick, but saw his effort go wide.
Russell came close with 15 minutes to go, shooting from a tight angle but his effort was held by Cerny.
Hamilton came close to doubling the lead a minute later, a surge forward on the left wing saw the referee give advantage for a foul, but the Livi defence came to the rescue at the last second.
Craig Barr almost found the equaliser but had his effort held by Cerny before Russell had his most agonising miss of the game with just a minute to go, shooting over from close range when it would have been easier to score. McNeil saved the Lions’ blushes in the final minute, getting a perfect diving save.
The Lions had plenty of efforts not just to equalise but to win the game, but need to re-find their scoring boots as the team just cannot seem to find the back of the net with their efforts. Focus returns to the league for the team where hopefully they can recapture their earlier form.
Hamilton Academical: Cerny, McLaughlin (Chambers 73), Canning, Hendrie,Gordon, McAlister, Mensing, Crawford, Imrie, Lyle (Spence 76), Ryan (Paterson 73)
Subs not used: Hutton, Anderson
Livingston: McNeil, C.Barr, Watson, Talbot, Sinclair, Ky.Jacobs (Docherty 18), Scougall, Fox (Boulding 82), B.Barr, Deuchar (McNulty 67), Russell
Subs not used: Jamieson, Brown
Ref: C Richmond
Match report by Chris Naismith