Saturday 28 December 2013

3 - 0
Raith Rovers
Thomson OG (8)
Scott (45)
Scougall (62)
HT 2-0

Livi signed off for 2013 in style as they extended their unbeaten run to five games with an easy win over Raith Rovers at a rain-soaked Energy Assets Arena.

Raith came into the match in third place but offered little in the way of resistance and contributed heavily to their own downfall as Livi produced one of their best displays of the season to seal a comprehensive win.

The Lions got off to a flying start as they took the lead inside eight minutes when Marc McNulty was played in down the right hand side and he fired in a low cross which Rovers defender could only knock into his own net from close range. Livi continued to press and came close again soon after when Scougall's cross was cushioned back by McNulty to Barrowman who fired in a half-volley which was well held by Greig Laidlaw.

There was a huge let off for Livi soon after, and a very satisfying one it was too for the Livi supporters as Calum Elliot was left unmarked six yards out with the goal at his mercy but he could only head the ball down into the ground and watch in horror as it bounced up over the bar. Buoyed by their escape, Livi took the game to Raith once more and McNulty came close again as he latched on to a misplaced pass from ex-Livi skipper Liam Fox and ran into the box only to fire the ball over the bar.

There was another escape for Livi as Kevin Moon picked up a scuffed clearance from Keaghan Jacobs and fired in a long range strike which Darren Jamieson fumbled, but he reacted brilliantly to deny Elliot a tap in. Livi knew a second goal before the interval would break Raith's spirit and they got it in injury time as Raith shot themselves in the foot once again, with another ex-Lion at fault.

Callum Booth misjudged a back pass and McNulty was onto it in a flash and, after his scuffed shot was parried and Andy Barrowman couldn't get onto the loose ball, Martin Scott charged in to slam the ball into the corner of the net and send the Lions in at the break 2-0 up. Barrowman suffered a hamstring injury in the build up to the goal and was substituted at the break, Mark Burchill coming on in his place.

With the comfort of a two goal cushion, Livi came out strongly after the interval and should have made it 3-0 early in the second half as McNulty was played in down the left by Scougall and he stood up a perfect cross to the near post for Burchill who bulleted a header over the bar. It wasn't long before Livi's dominance was rewarded as Scougall intercepted a clearance and drove into the box before his low strike was deflected into the net by Dougie Hill.

The shot may have been going wide but Scougall performance certainly merited a goal. Raith did threaten on occasion but most of their efforts came from long distance, Ross Callachan the first to try his luck with a low shot which Jamieson saved easily.

Livi continued to do most of the pressing and came close again as Scougall and Scott combined to win back possession before Scougall played in McNulty but he could only fire over the bar. Raith then came agonisingly close to a consolation as a free kick broke to Callachan and his low, first-time shot was brilliantly tipped wide by Jamieson, although ref Euan Norris denied him his moment of glory by signalling for a goal kick.

Livi ended the strongest and had two decent chances to add a fourth goal. First, Jason a Talbot made a run down the left and squared for McNulty who took a touch before firing in a low shot from the edge of the box which Laidlaw did well to parry. Then, Scott took a short corner to Scougall who wriggled his way into the box and cut the ball back for Coll Donaldson whose shot on the turn was straight at Laidlaw.

A very satisfying afternoon for the Lions then as they moved to within four points of the playoffs ahead of another crunch match at home to Falkirk in their first match of 2014.

Livingston: Jamieson, Talbot, Fordyce (Mampuya 82), Donaldson, Mensing, Jacobs, O'Brien, Scougall, Scott, McNulty (Denholm 72), Barrowman (Burchill 46)
Subs not used:
Docherty, Walker, Wilkie, Twardzik

Raith Rovers: Laidlaw, Thomson, Ellis, Hall, Booth, Moon, Callachan, Fox, Vaughan (McCann 72), Smith, Elliot (Matthews 83)
Subs not used:
Stewart, Murray, Watson, Bates

Referee: Euan Norris

Attendance: 1322

Match report: Andrew Crawford