Livi suffered late anguish as Ryan Flynn’s last-minute winner gave St Mirren all three points in atrocious conditions at the Simple Digital Arena.
Flynn slotted home after Liam Kelly had parried Simeon Jackson’s curling effort to give the Buddies a crucial win in their fight against relegation as the Lions were unable to build on their win over Kilmarnock the previous week.
Gary Holt made one enforced change from the Killie success as Ciaron Brown made his first start in place of the injured Ricki Lamie and it was the Lions who made a bright start, Chris Erskine and Declan Gallagher linking up well inside two minutes before Craig Sibbald’s cross was claimed by Vaclav Hladky. Sibbald then saw a low shot blocked by a defender four minutes later after latching on to Erskine’s flick. That sparked a flurry of Livi corners but they failed to test the home defence.
Livi then passed up a huge chance to take the lead on 14 minutes when Keaghan Jacobs’ free kick was fumbled by Hladky and, with the goal at his mercy, Erskine could only fire high over the bar from close range. Jacobs then picked up a yellow card four minutes later for a foul on Ethan Erhahon before he then set up Sibbald for a low 20-yard strike that Hladky saved comfortably.
The Lions were bossing proceedings and went close again on 23 minutes when Liam Kelly’s goal kick was headed on by Erskine for Stevie Lawless but his half-volley flew wide of the target. The home side then offered their first threat five minutes later when Erhahon released Duckens Nazon but Kelly spread himself well to make a fine save.
The weather dominated things for the remainder of the half, although the Buddies came close to a fortuitous opener on 44 minutes when Kelly had to be alert to save after Jacobs’ attempted block spun goalwards. Livi then went close in added time when Jacobs’ corner was headed down by Gallagher but Sibbald could only fire wide as the teams went in level at the interval.
Half-time: St Mirren 0-0 Livingston
As conditions continued to deteriorate, Livi went close two minutes after the restart when Erskine found space but sent his effort just wide. Steve Lawson then picked up a yellow card a minute later for a rash challenge on Nazon. Cammy McPherson fired the resulting free kick wide.
The Lions made two quickfire changes soon after, first sending on Ryan Hardie for Sibbald before Scott Pittman picked up a knock a minute later and was replaced by Scott Robinson. A half-chance for the Lions three minutes later saw Erskine tee up Lawless but his shot was blocked.
Simeon Jackson came on for the home side on 62 minutes but it was Livi who went close again four minutes later when Stephen McGinn was booked for a foul on Lawson and Halkett curled the resulting free kick inches over the crossbar. Lawson wasn’t able to continue after picking up a knock in the tackle and was replaced by Hakeem Odoffin.
Robinson picked up a yellow card on 69 minutes before St Mirren went close a minute later when Flynn fired in a low drive that was well saved by Kelly before Jackson fired the rebound wide. Then came a rainstorm of apocalyptic proportions that left fans struggling to see what was happening at the other end of the field while pools of water appeared around the pitch.
It looked as though the weather would be the only winner until the final minute when Jackson curled in an effort from 20 yards that Kelly could only parry and Flynn was on hand to squeeze the rebound home at the near post.
Livi could have snatched a point in injury time when Hardie was played through but he perhaps took the shot too soon and Hladky saved comfortably as the Buddies held on for a big win in their fight to avoid an immediate return to the Championship.
Full-time: St Mirren 1-0 Livingston
St Mirren: Hladky, P,McGinn, Baird, Popescu, Muzek, Erhahon, S.McGinn, Flynn, MacPherson (Mullen 82), Dreyer (McAllister 57), Nazon (Jackson 62)
Subs Not Used: Holmes, MacKenzie, Ferdinand, Corbu
Goals: Flynn (89)
Livingston: Kelly, Gallagher, Halkett, Lithgow, Brown, Lawson (Odoffin 68), Pittman (Robinson 56), Sibbald (Hardie 54), Jacobs, Lawless, Erskine
Subs Not Used: Stewart, Wylde, De Vita, Tiffoney
Referee: Nick Walsh
Match Report: Andy Crawford
Photos: Rae Irvine