Saturday 28 February 2015

0 - 2
HT 0-2
Raith Rovers


  Callachan (15)
Vaughan (21)

Livi are now without a win in 11 home league games after a tame display allowed Raith Rovers to leave West Lothian with all three points.

Manager Mark Burchill made three changes from the loss at Falkirk, with Jason Talbot, Kyle Jacobs and Nejc Praprotnik all returning from suspension to replace of Callum Fordyce, Shaun Rutherford and Gary Glen.

The Lions started brightly and were gifted an early chance when Rory McKeown’s clearance fell for Ibra Sekajja but his shot was straight at David McGurn. Good pressing from Jordan White forced McGurn into a couple of poor kick outs as Livi kept up the pressure but they were hit with a sucker punch on 15 minutes as Rovers went in front. Ross Callachan cut in from the left and unleashed a fine drive into the far corner of the net past a helpless Darren Jamieson.

Rovers were lifted by the goal and started to exert some pressure, a mazy run from Grant Anderson ending with a low cross into the box that Declan Gallagher did well to clear. Anderson then tried his luck from long range but Jamieson was on hand to save comfortably. Unfortunately for Livi, it was only a brief stay of execution as Rovers doubled their lead with their next attack through Lewis Vaughan, who made a late run into the box to sweep a low cut back beyond Jamieson.

Livi were reeling after that quick double salvo but to their credit they kept pressing forward. There was an old-fashioned stramash in the box which ended with Danny Mullen curling an effort wide. White then tried his luck with an effort from distance but could only drag it harmlessly wide. Rovers then passed up a golden chance to well and truly kill the game when Vaughan raced clear but could only fire his shot across goal and wide.

Livi went up the other end and Sekajja wriggled into space but could only send his effort high over the bar. Talbot then drove forward and played a smart one-two with Mullen but his shot was too high and the Lions headed in at the interval 2-0 down.

Burchill responded to his side’s predicament with a half-time double change, sending Michael McKenna and Myles Hippolyte on in place of Sekajja and Burton O’Brien to try and spark a revival from his side but their cause was hindered by heavy rain that made it tough for either side to play any kind of football.

McKenna was quickly involved for the Lions as he unleashed a thumping volley that fizzed just over the bar.
Rovers were settling in to a counter-attacking game in the second half and almost executed it to perfection with a sweeping move that ended with Mark Stewart thundering a left foot strike against the crossbar. Up the other end Keaghan Jacobs tried his luck from 25 yards but McGurn was equal to it and palmed the shot away to safety. The Lions then passed up a golden chance to get a foothold in the game as McKenna picked out Hippolyte with a great cross but the young Englishman somehow headed wide.

Despite looking the hungrier side, Livi were lacking any creativity in the final third and boss Burchill responded with his final change, sending Glen on for White. The Lions were forced to finish the game with ten men as captain Talbot suffered an arm injury which saw him taken off in a wheelchair.

As Livi pressed forward with more urgency, Rovers looked to take advantage on the break and Anderson showed smart skill to create an opening but Jamieson got down well to save. Livi thought they had pulled one back when Gallagher headed home Keaghan’s corner but the linesman ruled that the ball had gone out of play on its way into the box. That summed up a frustrating afternoon for the Lions as Rovers closed out the game to keep their faint play-off hopes alive.

The only crumb of consolation for Livi is that no further damage was done to their situation at the foot of the Championship, with Alloa beaten 1-0 at home by Hibernian and Cowdenbeath suffering an extraordinary 10-0 defeat at champions-elect Hearts. The Lions remain six points adrift of both sides with just ten games to go, starting with a daunting double header away to both Hibs and Rangers.

Livingston: 1 Jamieson, 2 Sives, 3 Talbot, 6 Ky.Jacobs, 7 Kn.Jacobs, 8 O'Brien (McKenna 46), 14 Gallagher, 15 Praprotnik, 18 White (Glen 74), 20 Mullen,  22 Sekajja (Hippolyte 46)
Subs not used: 12 Walker, 16 Beaumont, 25 Pittman, 31 Rutherford

Raith Rovers: 2 Thomson, 4 Watson, 6 Fox, 7 Anderson, 9 Stewart, 12 Callachan, 16 Vaughan (Scott 86), 19 McKay (Conroy 74), 20 McGurn, 23 McKeown, 55 Barr
Subs not used: 1 Cuthbert, 5 Hill, 8 Moon, 30 Robertson, 31 Matthews

Referee: Don Robertson

Attendance: 972

Half Time Draw: 1st 130903, 2nd 130901, 3rd 130944

Match report: James Lothian