Livingston opened their 2019/20 preseason campaign with a draw in a very hot Budapest on Sunday afternoon.
The warm weather training was ramped up a notch in the searing heat of the Hungarian capital as they took to the field against Slovak Super Liga side ŠKF Sereď for the first friendly encounter of the trip.
As is the norm with preseason games, Manager Gary Holt mixed and matched his charges as he experimented with personnel and various formations to size-up his new squad in action.
Lyndon Dykes, making his first appearance in a Livi shirt since moving from Queen of the South, came close to setting up the Lions’ opener in the early stages as he neatly fed Scott Pittman, only for hitman to be denied by a fine block from the keeper. The rebound fell kindly to Steve Lawless but he watched in agony as his quick fire shot somehow hit both posts before being cleared to safety.
The famous Trialist family featured heavily throughout the game, and it was Trialist B who was next to test the keeper, but the stopper was equal to the task. The same duo combined again shortly after as the Trialist’s 25 yard free kick forced the stopper into another superb save to keep the scoresheet blank.
After a much-needed water break, Trialist B was in action once more as Lawless sent him through on goal, only to be denied once again by the Slovaks’ last line of defence.
But just before the interval Livi finally bagged the goal their near constant pressure deserved. Dykes picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box before slamming it home to give the Lions the lead.
HT: ŠKF Sereď 0-1 Livingston
The interval brought a flurry of changes with Gary Holt fielding almost an entirely new 11 for the second half.
Scott Tiffoney was quick to show a clean pair of heels down the wing before sliding the ball through to Nicky Devlin, however the new recruit was denied by the impressive Sereď No 1.
More changes followed, seeing Miller, McMillan, Trialist C, Van Schaik and Sibbald on in place of Dykes, Devlin, Pittman, Lamie and Trialist A as the experimentation continued in earnest.
Then out of the blue a very soft penalty saw Sereď draw level from the spot against the run of play, though nobody really seemed to know what it was for or why it was given.
But shortly after it was Livi’s turn to try their luck from 12 yards when the keeper felled Trialist C in the box. The player picked himself up to take the spot-kick, but his effort was well saved to keep the scores level.
Still upbeat though Livi pressed on, and a good ball from Sibbald found Dolly Menga in space, only for his headed effort to give the keeper little to worry about.
There was no further scoring, so the draw was a fair result, if not somewhat flattering to the Slovaks given the Lions’ early dominance.
It’s back to the action on Wednesday afternoon when Livi play their second and last friendly of their trip as they take on Hungarian Nemzeti Bajnokság I side Paksi FC.
Livi XI First Half: Stewart, Devlin, Lamie, Lithgow, Trialist A, Bartley, Robinson, Pittman, Lawless, Trialist B, Dykes
Livi XI Second Half: Sarkic, Devlin, Cece, Lamie, Trialist A, Jacobs, Crawford, Pittman, Menga, Tiffoney, Dykes