Stenhousemuir 0-4 Livingston

Gary Holt’s side took all three points on Tuesday night against League Two outfit Stenhousemuir, keeping their 100% record at the top of Group H.

An Alan Forrest brace and goals from Matej Poplatnik and Aaron Taylor-Sinclair ensured the comfortable victory.

The Lions made seven changes from Friday’s 1-1 draw in Dingwall, as their attention turned to Betfred Cup action.

After six points from a possible six in the group, maximum points was the target, starting with another three against Stenhousemuir.

Things couldn’t have started any better for Livi at Ochilview Park, as after just 42 seconds they took the lead.

Some nice play ended with a flick by Matej Poplatnik into the path of Alan Forrest who slotted beyond Warriors keeper Paddy Martin from close range.

It was a scintillating start by the Premiership club, and Forrest was quick to add a second after 8 minutes.

He found himself in a similar position after Jay Emmanuel-Thomas had won his flick on, and the winger cut in from the left to bend one into the far corner for his, and the Lions’, second of the evening.

Emmanuel-Thomas, still in search of his first goal for the club, had a couple of efforts from around the edge of the box as he tried to add a third but both didn’t trouble the Stenny stopper.

On the half hour mark, Emmanuel-Thomas was involved again. After some lovely build up play from Livi, the big striker played a fantastic through ball for Poplatnik. The Slovenian got on the end of the perfectly-timed pass to slot beyond the onrushing keeper, netting his second goal for the club!

Half Time – Stenhousemuir 0-3 Livingston

It had been a professional display by the visitors so far, and Gary Holt’s side came out with the same mentality as they did the first, immediately going on the search of a fourth goal.

A ball down the line by Nicky Devlin was picked up by Josh Mullin who fired into the box. It was controlled by Emmanuel-Thomas, but the Englishman’s effort hit the wrong side of the net from close range.

Quickly after Livingston made two changes, which saw Aaron Taylor-Sinclair and Craig Sibbald replace Nicky Devlin and Scott Pittman, Stenny had a chance to get themselves back into the game.

The ball fell to Mark McGuigan at the edge of the box. The striker tried a left footed strike but it went narrowly over.

Just four minutes later, on 64 minutes, McGuigan and Stenny were made to pay as the Lions made it 4-0 through substitute Aaron Taylor-Sinclair.

A fantastic delivery by Josh Mullin from a corner was met at the back post by the defender who headed past Martin for his first of the season and Livi’s fourth of the night.

Livi kept controlling and dominating proceedings, looking to add goal number five. Some lovely interchanges between McMillan, Emmanuel-Thomas and Mullin down the right resulted in the latter in on goal, but Martin made a decent save at his front post to deny the Livi winger.

Jason Holt fired just wide from 25 yards before Alan Forrest tried his luck from the edge of the box, looking for his hat trick. Poplatnik was also on the hunt for another goal, but his shot from just outside the area flew over.

With 15 minutes to go, the Lions gave youngster Carlo Pignatiello a run out, as he replaced Jack McMillan at right back. He was involved immediately and looked dangerous down the right wing, beating the Stenny full back on a couple of occasions.

With nine minutes to play, Gary Maley, who was making his first appearance for the club since April 2018, was called into action for the first time.

Warriors striker Tommy Muir was slipped in and bared down on goal. But, out came the 38-year-old stopper to narrow the angle and make a brilliant one-on-one save at the feet of Muir, ensuring a clean sheet on the night.

Full Time – Stenhousemuir 0-4 Livingston

That was the final action of the game, as Livingston ran out comfortable 4-0 winners and made it nine points from a possible nine in Group H of the Betfred Cup.

The focus now turns to Saturday as we welcome Airdrieonians to the Tony Macaroni Arena, looking to make it maximum points at the top of the group, which would mean a place as a seeded side in the last 16 of the competition.

Stenhousemuir: Martin, Tiffoney, Munro , McQueen, Yeats, Blair, Tapping, Fairley (Hodge 62), Brown ( Muir 54), Graham (Biabi 74), McGuigan
Subs not used: Watters, Halleran, Spence, Grigor, Erskine

Livingston: Maley, Devlin (Taylor-Sinclair 60), Fitzwater, Ambrose, McMillan (Pignatiello 77), Mullin, Holt, Pittman (Sibbald 60), Forrest, Poplatnik, Emmnuel-Thomas
Subs not used: Brown, Serrano, Guthrie, Bartley, Robinson
Goals: Forrest (1 & 8), Poplatnik (30), Taylor-Sinclair (65)

Referee: Colin Steven
HT: 3-0
Att: BCD
Match Report: Calum Brown

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