Saturday 12 April 2014

1 - 1
Ky.Jacobs (64)
HT 0-0
Scotland (86)

A late goal denied Livi all three points against league leaders Hamilton in a result which did neither side's promotion ambitions any good.

Accies came to West Lothian with a two-point lead over Dundee in the race for the Championship title while Livi were three points adrift of Queen of the South who occupied the final promotion play-off place.

Livi started the brighter and came close to taking the lead inside six minutes when Marc McNulty fired a low shot straight at keeper Kevin Cuthbert before seeing his rebound blocked by a despairing challenge from former Lions stopper Jesus Garcia Tena. Accies then created their first chance as Ali Crawford played in Mickael Antoine-Curier but the ex-Hibs and Dundee striker was forced wide and could only fire into the side netting.  Jason Scotland then set up Crawford but his 30-yard strike bounced just wide.

McNulty then came close again when he smashed in a free kick which flew just wide of the left hand post after Martin Scott had been fouled by Garcia Tena. He then passed up an even better chance to open the scoring after half an hour when Scott crossed into McNulty who was muscled off the ball but it broke to Mark Burchill and he was scythed down by Martin Canning, leaving referee Stephen Finnie little option but to point to the spot. McNulty stepped up but could only watch in horror as his penalty crashed back off the crossbar.

Accies had the final chance of the half as Scotland set up Louis Longridge who fired in a low shot which took a deflection and forced Darren Jamieson to make a smart reaction save, ensuring the two sides went in level at the break.

Livi started the second half bright and came close again when Nejc Mevlja played a fine long ball over the top to release McNulty but the Lions hitman couldn’t get the right connection on his shot and the ball bounced harmlessly wide. Livi were then handed a boost when Accies were reduced to ten men as Stephen Hendrie was shown a second yellow card for a foul on McNulty as the Livi striker tried to reach the byline. The chance was wasted though as Nejc Mevlja fouled Garcia Tena in trying to get on the end of Scott’s free kick.

Accies then passed up a decent opportunity as Scotland caught Mevlja in possession and fired in a low shot which was blocked before the rebound was claimed by Jamieson.  Livi continued to put pressure on the Accies goal and finally got their reward when Martin Scott swung in a corner which was knocked down by Craig Sives and Kyle Jacobs reacted fastest to sweep the ball home and put the Lions into a thoroughly-deserved lead.

Despite their one-man disadvantage, Accies piled forward in search of an equaliser, knowing the damage a defeat would do to their title hopes. They came close as Longridge and Darian McKinnon combined to set up Scotland and he fired in a shot on the turn which flew just over the bar. They weren’t to be denied though and grabbed a level with just two minutes left as McKinnon’s through ball slipped under the boot of Sives to release Scotland and the Trinidad & Tobago star slammed a shot high past Jamieson to rescue a scarcely-merited point.

Livi then passed up a golden opportunity to win it with virtually the last kick of the game as Jacobs and Mike Mampuya combined well down the right to allow Jacobs to float in a cross to the back post for the unmarked Nejc Praprotnik but he could only fire back across goal and wide when it seemed easier to score. The result leaves Livi five points behind Queen of the South in the race for the play-offs while Accies slid off the top and two points behind Dundee in the thrilling title race. The Lions are back in action next week with a trip to Cowdenbeath, where nothing less than victory will keep them in the promotion hunt.

Livingston: Jamieson, Mampuya, Fordyce, Sives, Mevlja, Scott (Praprotnik 87), O'Brien, Wilkie ( Kn.Jacobs 72), Ky.Jacobs, McNulty, Burchill (Mullen 79)
Subs not used:
Denholm, Beaumont, Walker, Black

Hamilton: Cuthbert, Gordon, Hendrie, Canning, Tena, Crawford, Longridge, MacKinnon, Andreu, Scotland, Antoine-Curier (Ryan 66)
Subs not used: Devlin, Neil, Currie, Docherty, Kilday, George

Referee: Stephen Finnie

Attendance: 1133

Match report: Andrew Crawford