Tuesday 25 March 2014

2 - 0
Alloa Athletic
McNulty (21 pen)
Kn.Jacobs (86)
HT 0-1

Livi made it back-to-back wins as Darren Jamieson pulled off yet more penalty heroics to help the Lions to a comfortable victory over Alloa on a cold night at the Energy Assets Arena.

‘DJ’ had developed a knack of saving spot-kicks this season and pulled off his third in four matches, and fifth overall, to deny Alloa an early lead and give Livi a platform upon which to secure an eventually comfortable win. It was Livi who threatened first though as Danny Denholm made a driving run down the left and fired in a low cross but a deflection carried the ball agonisingly in front of the advancing Danny Mullen and he couldn’t quite reach it to divert it home.

 Jamieson then took centre stage when the Wasps were awarded a penalty as a cross from the left was headed down to Ryan McCord and he was brought down by Denholm, continuing his eventful start to the match. McCord stepped up to take the kick himself but Jamieson produced a fine save, diving low to his right to tip the ball wide of the post and preserve the 0-0 scoreline. Alloa came close again when Daryll Meggatt’s cross was knocked down to McCord by Stephen Simmons and, after cutting inside Mampuya, McCord curled in a shot which Craig Sives did well to deflect over the bar.

Livi made the most of those early let-offs when they took the lead from a penalty kick of their own. Jamieson fired an inch-perfect kick upfield to Mullen who drove on and crossed for Marc McNulty and the Lions’ top scorer was brought down. Referee Crawford Allan initially seemed set to book ‘Sparky’ for diving but, after consulting his linesman, pointed to the spot. McNulty stepped up to send Scott Bain the wrong way and put the Lions into the lead. Livi were boosted by that goal and upped the pressure on the visitors, McNulty coming close again when he was played in by Keaghan Jacobs but saw his low shot parried by Bain.

Mullen then passed up a golden chance to double Livi’s lead when Burton O’Brien’s through ball found its way to him but his low shot was tame and Bain saved with ease. Jacobs and Mullen then combined brilliantly to release Denholm down the left but his attempt to square to McNulty was well cleared by the Alloa defence as Livi ended the half on top.

Livi kept up the pressure in the second half and came close when Mike Mampuya drove down the right and clipped a ball to the far post for McNulty but the Livi hitman couldn’t get the right contact and his shot flew harmlessly wide. Alloa served a warning to the Lions soon after as McCord knocked the ball down to Eddie Fearns but he tugged a first time shot wide when he ought to have done much better.

There was controversy soon after as Livi were denied what seemed an even more certain penalty than the one they got in the first half as O’Brien played a fine ball over the top to Mullen who seemed to be clearly clipped from behind by Liam Lindsay but referee Allan pointed only for a goal kick. Livi made sure they didn’t rue that decision as they sealed the three points soon after. Callum Fordyce’s cross was cleared only to Jacobs and he played a one-two with McNulty, made some space for himself and swept a fine low finish past the keeper into the far corner of the net to give the Lions some much needed breathing space.

The final chance fell to Alloa as Meggatt’s cross was headed down to Simmons but he could only shank his shot harmlessly wide as Livi ran out comfortable winners. Next up for the Lions is a potentially crucial encounter with play-off rivals Dumbarton at the Energy Assets Arena.

Livingston: Jamieson, Denholm (Burchill 88), Fordyce, Ky.Jacobs, Kn.Jacobs, Mampuya (Talbot 77), McNulty, Mevlja, Mullen (Scott 74), O'Brien, Sives
Subs not used: Walker, Lander, Praprotnik, Wilkie

Alloa: Bain, Doyle, Meggat, Gordon, Lindsay, Simmons (Kirk 79), Cawley, McCord, Ferns, Tiffoney (Caddis 74), Young (Holmes 46)
Subs not used:
McDowall, Flannigan, Robertson, Caldwell

Referee: Crawford Allan

Attendance: 709

Match report: Andrew Crawford