Saturday July 14, 2018
Betfred Cup Group F
Darryl Duffy 53
Scott Pittman 24
Lee Miller 25
Two goals in as many first half minutes provided new Livingston player/manager Kenny Miller with a win in the Betfred Cup opener, despite a decent second half from the Diamonds.
A free kick for Airdrie after just three minutes saw Ryan Conroy’s delivery pick out Sean Crighton who headed the ball wide of Liam Kelly’s goal.
Fomer Diamond Ricki Lamie’s good work on the left in 11 minutes was followed up by a well-placed cross to the far post, and striker Lee Miller’s header hit the underside of Scott Gallacher’s crossbar and bounce out as Airdrie breathed a sigh of relief.
Four minutes later a decent piece of build-up play saw Kieran Millar find Scott Stewart, and the wide midfielder played a quick ball in for Dale Carrick who looked likely to test the visiting keeper only for Scott Pittman’s timely block clearing the danger.
Livingston struck the woodwork for the second time after 18 minutes when Alan Lithgow’s header from Nicky Cadden’s cross was touched on to his bar by Gallacher.
Livingston broke the deadlock on 24 minutes after Scott Pittman took advantage of the retreating home defence to run into the box and place the ball into the left hand side of Gallacher’s net.
A minute later Gallacher failed to hold Kenny Miller’s cross and Lee Miller was there to double his side’s advantage, passing the loose ball into the net.
Lee Miller netted after following up on a 25-yard shot from Cadden in 31 minutes which was pushed out by Gallacher. This time the offside flag saw it disallowed.
Conroy tested keeper Kelly eight minutes from the break with a 25-yard free kick which was pushed over the bar.
Gallacher reacted well with six minutes of the half left diving to block Kenny Miller’s shot on goal, his feet sending the ball away for a corner.
The two goal margin remained at the interval, but Gallacher had to be alert within a minute of the restart, collecting a well struck volley from Scott Robinson after being put through by Pittman.
A poor challenge on Darryl Duffy in 48 minutes led to another free kick and Conroy’s delivery sent the ball over keeper Kelly’s bar.
The home support were appreciative of the second half effort and in 53 minutes were on their feet to acknowledge the goal of the match after Carrick robbed Halkett then picked a pass for Duffy who raced forward before sliding the ball past the advancing Kelly into the Livingston net.
Crighton headed wide after rising to meet a corner a minute later as Airdrie pressed their visitors.
As the play swung from end to end Robinson’s header from another Lamie cross struck Gallacher’s right post and was cleared.
Carrick looked as if he had levelled in 62 minutes after making space then powering a 30-yard volley off the crossbar with Kelly well beaten.
Lions captain Halkett missed a great chance to restore the two goal cushion after getting on the end of Lamie’s header inside the box but sent his own header over Gallacher’s goal with 64 minutes gone.
Lee Miller’s speculative overhead kick effort was wide of the target in 67 minutes, with substitute Josh Edwards’ excellent curling delivery with 17 minutes to play was set up for Leighton McIntosh until Halkett’s block.
The final 10 minutes saw chances come and go for both sides. Kyle Wilkie went close to weaving his way through the visitor’s back line until a late interception, while Gallacher stopped Kenny Miller’s drilled shot, turning his 82nd minute effort away for a corner.
Wilkie’s pass wide left in 85 minutes provided Conroy with an opportunity which he blasted wide of the goal.
Craig Sibbald and Robinson had chances but failed to take them, while in the final minutes Stewart went close after making headway to inside the Livingston penalty area but was unable to make good contact on his final shot to see the visitors take all three points.
In the other tie in the group Annan Athletic defeated Hamilton Academical by a goal to nil.
John O'Brien at The Penny Cars Stadium.
Photographs © John Steven. Click to view full size.