David Templeton was the star for Hamilton as his ferocious equaliser and elegant assist for Kyle Munro’s 85th minute winner saw Accies cancel out Scott Pittman’s early goal to leave Livingston with all three points. Seán McGill reports.
Livingston manager Gary Holt couldn’t have asked for a better start to the game, as his side took the lead with just 40 seconds on the clock. Some excellent link up play from summer signings Alan Forrest and Lars Lokotsch on the left-hand side saw the latter drive a low cross across the box, which was turned home by Scott Pittman (via a deflection off of Shaun Want) to give the Lions a lightning quick lead.
The game continued at a frantic pace for the opening 25 minutes. Accies’ first chance of the game came from a free kick just outside the box after David Templeton was brought down cynically by Livi skipper Marvin Bartley. The Hamilton number 10 stepped up to take the resulting set-piece, but dragged his shot wide of the opposition goal.
Livingston had a great chance to double their lead after some clever wing play from Nicky Devlin saw the right back with some space to deliver a wicked cross, but none of his teammates were able to get a touch as the ball fizzed past each of them.
Fresh off his first international call-up, it was a fairly quiet return to club action for Robby McCrorie in the Livi goal. His most notable moment came as Accies looked to counter from a promising Lions attack, which led Efe Ambrose to send a nervous looping ball in the direction of the Livi number one.
McCrorie brought the ball down on his chest and challenged for it with onrushing Hamilton striker David Moyo, but the richochet benefitted the hosts as the Livi keeper gathered.
Lokotsch and Forrest showed more signs that their partnership could be a fruitful one for Livingston this season. Their clever dovetailing on the edge of the box led Forrest to try a curling shot from the left, with the shot well parried by Hamilton keeper Ryan Fulton.
Unsurprisingly, considering how quickly the game started, the pace of the game dropped as the half wore on. Set pieces become the prime source of chances for the remainder of the opening 45 minutes – former Livi man Hakeem Odoffin rose above a crowd of bodies to head over, while Bartley couldn’t generate enough power in his header to steer the ball beyond Fulton from two yards out.
As if often the criticism of Hamilton, Brian Rice’s side looked devoid of creativity in the first half. The only shining light was the dynamic Templeton, and it only took ten second half minutes for the Accies talisman to bring his side level. Another corner saw Odoffin meet the ball again, his header crashing off the bar, but Templeton was there to slam home a Hamilton equaliser on the half volley.
Templeton continued to be at the heart of all things good for Accies. Some great short passing lead the former Hearts man to pick up the ball on the edge of the box once more. The veteran midfielder tricked Bartley with a quick dummy, before sending a powerful strike just wide of McCrorie’s goal.
The additions of Craig Sibbald and Scott Tiffoney gave Livingston more control of the game, with their defence less likely to send the ball long in the direction of the towering Lokotsch.
The Lions came agonisingly close to restoring their lead through the extremely busy Scott Pittman. The ball broke in the box and Scott Robinson had the wherewithal to nod the ball towards his midfield counterpart, but Pittman smashed his strike off the underside of the bar, with the ball cleared hastily by the Accies defence.
It was Accies who left Livingston will all three points however, with Templeton once again at the centre. It was his beautifully clipped free kick that found Kyle Munro as the back post, with the youngster’s header boasting a combination of precision and power to give Accies a huge win of the road on his full debut for the club.
The result sees Accies climb above Livingston in the table into 9th, while the Lions dropped to 11th, only above Motherwell on goal difference.
FULL TIME LIVINGSTON 1 HAMILTON 2