An absurd own goal from Simon Mensing and a saved Jordan White penalty denied Livi a first win in five games and prevented them moving to within four points of safety at the foot of the Scottish Championship.
With Livi leading through Danny Mullen’s early goal, captain Mensing inexplicably turned the ball into his own net to hand Cowdenbeath a point and further dent the Lions’ survival hopes.
The match was delayed by ten minutes after a sudden snowstorm barely an hour from kick off dumped a blanket of the white stuff on the pitch with only a sterling effort from a hardy band of volunteers, including Livi chairman Gordon McDougall, to clear the lines ensuring the match would go ahead.
When the match finally got going, Livi blasted out of the traps and came close inside a minute when Kyle Jacobs unleashed an effort from long range which was straight at visiting keeper Robbie Thomson. The fired-up Lions had to wait only a few minutes more to break the deadlock as Keaghan Jacobs, in his first appearance since before Christmas, swung in a great cross from the right and Danny Mullen outjumped Thomson to bundle a header into the net. The Cowden no.1 claimed for a foul but it was a flimsy attempt to gather the cross that allowed Mullen to force the ball home rather than foul play on the Livi striker’s part.
As the snow started to fall again, Livi continued to press for a second and White rose highest to meet Callum Fordyce’s cross but his looping header was saved by Thomson. Fordyce then set up Myles Hippolyte at the edge of the box but Thomson was equal to his low effort. Hippolyte came even closer as he twisted and turned into space and let fly with a great strike which bounced only inches wide.
The Lions would come to rue passing up these chances as Cowdenbeath drew level out of nowhere on 25 minutes. Livi keeper Darren Jamieson came out to collect a hopeful ball over the top but didn’t shout as he did so and Mensing, ignoring the first rule of last-ditch defending “when in doubt, kick it out”, knocked the ball back to where he expected Jamieson to be, only to watch in horror as the ball trundled into the unguarded net to level the scores.
Livi were stung by the loss of that dreadful equaliser and failed to regain their momentum as the game became bogged down in the midfield area. Keaghan tried his best to spark Livi into life but his shot was blocked and cleared after a driving run forward. Mullen and Keaghan then broke forward quickly to set up Hippolyte but he could only send his shot wide.
Having been handed their unlikely route back into the game, Cowdenbeath should have gone in at the break in front when a cross from the right found Sean Higgins totally unmarked but he could only glance his header wide of the far post, sending the sides in at half-time all-square.
Livi knew how vital a win was in this game and came out for the second half with all guns blazing. They should have gone in front on 52 minutes as great link up play between White and Kyle Jacobs left the latter with a clear sight of goal just inside the box but he could only place his agonisingly wide of the near post. It was a huge miss and became all the more costly as the match wore on. Mullen had Livi’s next opportunity when he drove forward and fired in a strike which Thomson saved with ease.
The Lions were handed an even better chance to go back in front on 57 minutes when Kyle was fouled by Darren Brownlie inside the box and referee George Salmond pointed to the spot. White stepped and fired his effort powerfully towards the left hand corner but Thomson sprung to his right to get two strong hands to the kick and push it wide, leaving White, his team-mates and the home fans crestfallen.
Livi had to rebuild after the blow of the penalty save and came close again when Mullen swung in a fine cross which White met but could only head over the bar. On the other hand, the penalty let-off galvanised Cowdenbeath and they came within inches of taking the lead when Kyle Miller cut in from the right and fired a low shot across goal which cannoned back off the base of the post. They came close again soon after when Kudus Oyenuga ambled forward and fired an effort just wide of the far post.
The Lions were still creating chances of their own and Hippolyte drove down the left and curled in a fine ball which White was again the first to reach but his header flew wide this time. That would prove to be Hippolyte’s last involvement as Mark Burchill made his first change, bringing himself on for the young Englishman. Mullen tried his luck from distance soon after and Thomson had to scramble to tip his deflected effort over the bar for a corner. The resulting corner flew across goal and Kyle came within inches of connecting.
Burchill made his second change with three minutes to go as he replaced Burton O’Brien with Nejc Praprotnik but it failed to spark a late rally as the match petered out to an agonising draw. The result cut the gap to second-bottom Alloa to five points ahead of next week’s crunch clash at home to the Wasps, where nothing less than a win will do.
Livingston: 1 Jamieson, 3 Talbot, 4 Mensing, 5 Fordyce, 6 Ky.Jacobs, 7 Kn.Jacobs, 8 O'Brien (Praprotnik 87), 11 Hippolyte (Burchill 81), 14 Gallagher, 18 White, 20 Mullen
Subs not used: 12 Walker, 2 Sives, 10 Robertson, 16 Beaumont, 31 Rutherford
Cowdenbeath: 4 O'Brien, 6 Wedderburn, 7 Robertson, 10 Higgins (Milne 72), 17 Thomson, 18 Brownlie, 19 Oyenuga, 20 Miller, 26 Marshall, 28 Hughes, 32 Halsman
Subs not used: 2 Campbell, 12 Kane, 14 Brett, 24 Callaghan, 25 Sneddon, 30 Scullion
Referee: George Salmond
Match Sponsor: Energy Assets
Sponsor's MOM: Jason Talbot
Half Time Draw: click here
Match report: James Lothian