Livingston clings to victory in spirited affair at home to Aberdeen

Livingston emerged victorious in a battle with Aberdeen that saw 14 yellow cards, one red card, one last frantic defense from the hosts and a contest that sometimes resembled a schoolyard brawl more than a football game.

The Lions opened the scoring in the eighth minute when Ayo Obileye converted Bruce Anderson’s shot past Gary Woods before Alan Forrest’s wonderful finish just after the break doubled their lead.

At times, the hosts were tearing Aberdeen apart every time they got past the halfway line and Jason Holt could have wrapped up the game if his shot hadn’t bounced off the post.

But the last 25 minutes were against the wall when Christian Ramírez shot from 10 yards against the current of the game in 66 minutes.

Fight after fight ensued after the Dons cut the deficit with referee Kevin Clancy putting on a staggeringly poor performance with countless baffling calls as the game devolved into a farce.

On several occasions, players needed to part ways and it was no surprise when one was finally sent off with six minutes remaining.

Cristian Montano received a second yellow for his reaction after Aberdeen’s Vicente Besuijen tried to get Anderson out of the park after hitting the striker.

The Lions then defended superbly in the closing stages with Stryjek repelling everything while the back line simply refused to give in to the pressure – two hooks would equal goals from the line.

Livingston boss David Martindale chose to start Liverpool loanee Adam Lewis, who was making his first appearance since breaking his foot in September. He replaces Scott Pittman in midfield three with Odin Bailey ditching Montano in the only other line-up changes since Tuesday’s disappointing loss at home to St Johnstone.

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The Lions got the better of the game early, putting the Dons under pressure with a series of set pieces before taking the lead in the eighth minute.

Forrest’s free kick from the left was fired into the area and the ball eventually landed on the path of Bruce Anderson. The former Aberdeen man shot on target in a congested penalty area with Obileye deflecting the shot past Gary Woods and into the net for his sixth goal of the season.

The visitors were struggling to create anything remarkable, but they looked dangerous on their right side. Calvin Ramsay was a threat and saw his effort after cutting from the flank go wide, but it was the best they could muster in a poor first half.

LIVINGSTON, SCOTLAND – FEBRUARY 05: Alan Forrest of Livingston lifts the ball over Gary Wood to make it 2-0 during a cinch Premiership match between Livingston and Aberdeen at the Tony Macaroni Arena on February 05, 2022 in Livingston, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group)

At the other end, Gary Woods, in place of the absent Joe Lewis, wasn’t covering himself in glory and his fumble nearly led to a 20-yard Montano effort that found the net before he frantically claimed the rebound before the attack from Livi.

The Dons’ sloppy defense saw Livi pass up an opportunity to double her lead on two separate occasions just before the halftime break. Forrest intercepted the ball at the halfway line and chose to run towards the defense when trying to pass Anderson would have been the best option before Forrest himself made a thunderous effort inches from the crossbar moments later.

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Having wasted those chances, the winger would not fail four minutes into the second half. He ran behind the defense to catch Montano’s pass before delicately lobbing the ball over Woods for his second goal in three games.

Aberdeen’s day almost got even worse five minutes later when Jason Holt hit the woodwork from 20 meters after a wonderful attacking play by the hosts.

LIVINGSTON, SCOTLAND – FEBRUARY 05: Christian Montano of Livingston receives a second yellow after pushing Vicente Besuijen during a cinch Premiership match between Livingston and Aberdeen at the Tony Macaroni Arena, on February 05, 2022, in Livingston, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group)

Despite barely threatening throughout the game, the visitors were suddenly back in the game as the competition entered the fourth quarter when slack defense allowed Ramírez to smash unmarked from 10 yards.

And the comeback was almost complete in the 77th minute when Lewis Ferguson was parried by a great instinctive save from Stryjek as the midfielder appeared to have headed the Dons on even terms.

The game threatened to end with the referees having to separate the players numerous times, so it was no surprise when a red card was shown. Montano may have been naive in raising his hand to Besuijen, but the Dutchman’s attempt to drag Anderson out of the park sparked another confrontation between the two groups of players.

A valiant defensive effort in the closing minutes ensured the Lions won all three points.

Livingstone: Stryjek; Devlin, Obilee, Fitzwater, Penrice; Omeonga, Holt, Lewis (Pittman 45); Forrest (Boyes 83), Anderson (Chukwuemeka 83, Bailey 90), Montano. Unused Subs: Maley, Longridge, Sibbald, McMillan, Kelly.

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Goal: Obilee (8), Forrest (49).

Expelled: Montano (83)

Aberdeen: Forest; Ramsay (Kennedy 63), McCrorie, Bates, Montgomery (Emmanuel-Thomas 83); Ferguson, Eye; Besuijen, Jenks (MacKenzie 45), Hayes; Ramirez. Unused Subs: Ritchie, Gallagher, Brown, Emmanuel-Thomas, McGeouch, Ruth, Milne.

Goal: Ramirez (66)

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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