Livingston 0, Brechin City 0
BRECHIN City brought Livingston’s long winning run to an end with a dogged performance in West Lothian on Saturday.
Livingston had been handing out sound thrashings to all before them and hadn’t dropped points until City defeated them one-nil at Glebe Park.
There may have been a few raised eyebrows when Jim Weir’s team selection was announced.
David McKenna, who had netted a hat-trick the week before against Dumbarton, found himself on the bench, as did Kevin Byers and Jamie Redman was ruled out through injury.
Into the line-up came Jordan Kirkpatrick and Mitchel Megginson and Gary Fusco.
Brechin had the first real opportunity when Megginson was fouled by Barr, but Janczyk’s free-kick was headed clear by Watson.
Livingston gained the upper hand possession-wise and forced a couple of corners.
After 12 minutes, Kenny Deuchar got above Gerry McLauchlan for practically the only time in the game, but headed wide of the target.
Nelson then wasn’t troubled by Jacobs’ effort from outside the box, dealing with it comfortably.
Referee Brian Winters seemed to struggle to keep up with the pace of the game throughout and Iain Russell, the former City striker, was regularly to be found in the thick of the action - more often than not flat out on the turf.
Russell conceded a couple of free-kicks for fouls on Molloy and Janczyk delivered an in-swinging free-kick, but McLauchlan was just narrowly caught offside at the near post.
Russell then went down like he had been caught by a bit of gunsmoke from John Wayne. Roy McBain was penalised for the challenge and Ewan Moyes rose above Deuchar to head clear from Joe Hamill’s free-kick.
Both sides continued to battle away in the first half without creating little in the way of goal scoring opportunities.
The game was more of a tactical midfield battle than an entertaining spectacle, but Brechin had once again looked solid at the back.
A minute after the restart, Craig Barr got on the end of a Hamil corner, but headed well over the bar.
City had an opportunity to get their noses in front on 58 minutes. Megginson went past Hamill on the right flank and was brought down, but once again the reds failed to trouble the Livingston back four from Janczyk’s free-kick.
Craig Nelson was called into action to collect a deep cross from Deveon Jacobs, which the goalkeeper dealt with comfortably.
McLauchlan continued to impose himself on Kenny Deuchar and that was about to prompt a response from the Livingston bench.
In 62 minutes, McKenna and McKay replaced Kirkpatrick and Megginson, the two youngsters having worked hard in the roles given them by manager Weir.
Four minutes later, Deuchar was substituted to be replaced by Raffaele De Vita.
City carved out an opening in the 70th minute. Gary Fusco crossed from the right and Ewan Moyes stole in front of his marker, but his header was just the wrong side of the upright for City.
Roy McBain was booked for a challenge on Jacobs.
The game opened up a little and De Vita was denied by Nelson’s low save.
In the 73rd minute, City fans were livid. Rory McAllister side-stepped Paul Watson and appeared to go down under a tackle from the Livingston centre-half.
However, referee Winters, who had been, once again 20 to 30 yards behind the play, booked McAllister for diving, a strange decision, given that the striker would have been left with a clear run at an open goal had he remained on his feet.
The closest City came to losing a goal was in the 74th minute, Iain Russell found space in the Brechin penalty area. However, he hit his low drive against the foot of Craig Nelson’s post.
Russell was diving about like a salmon again after he was challenged by Neil Janczyk.
Janczyk questioned the ref as to why he wasn’t taking action against the former Motherwell striker. All the City skipper got for his trouble however was a yellow card from Mr Winter.
Winter then infuriated City once again, by turning a second penalty claim down and again booking a striker, this time David McKenna being the recipient.
With nine minutes left, McAllister escaped Watson’s clutches and drove to Bullock’s far post, only for the goalkeeper to pull off an important block.
Then Daniel McKay latched on to a loose ball just on the edge of the Livingston box. His well struck drive beat the goalkeeper, but rolled the wrong side of the upright for City.
Having endured a frustrating afternoon. City almost won it at the death with a goal out of nothing. Neil Janczyk was fully 30 yards from goal when he let fly a swerving drive, which beat Bullock, but bounced off the top of the bar and to safety.
A good point for Brechin. Best for City was Gerry McLauchlan who once again starred in the heart of the Brechin back four.
Hopefully the Brechin gaffer can get him tied up on a long term contract asap.
Livingston - Bullock, Devon Jacobs, Talbot, Craig Barr, Watson, Hamill, Fox, Kyle Jacobs, Keaghan Jacobs, Deuchar (De Vita) and Russell.
Brechin - Nelson, Cook, McBain, McLauchlan, Moyes, Janczyk, Fusco, Molloy, McAllister, Megginson (McKenna) and Kirkpatrick (McKay).