Leitch and O’Donnell stood down for this encounter. With the CIS cup final on the horizon their omission was understandable. What was not so clear to the traveling ‘Well fans was why there was a change in the goalkeeping position. As it happened Barry John Corr was a spectator for the bulk of the game and blameless for the goal we conceded.
Corrigan and Fitzpatrick filled the midfield and it was out number two who was first out of the blocks with the goal threat. He had a couple of efforts from twenty five yards and MacKenzie had to make the first of many saves as a result.
McDonald latched on to a loose ball ten minutes into the game and fired home from deep inside the area. It was just what we needed to settle us down. We took control of the half and had several attempts. McDonald forced another save from the Livi keeper and
Strong almost scored an own goal when his attempted clearance of a McBride cross forced McKenzie to touch the ball onto the post. Then McDonald forced another great effort from the keeper with a shot following a corner.
The best chance of the match came with twenty minutes remaining. Both McDonald and McBride found the ball at their feet on the six yard line. They had their backs to goal and were unable to turn and shoot. Foran appeared a couple of yards in front of the duo an the ball was prodded out to him but he sclaffed the attempt and the ball trundled to the keeper. McKenzie was rewarded with the home team’s man of the match award and there could be no argument that his efforts had kept Livi in the game.
We knew that there would be a price to pay for our lack of a cutting edge up front and it came ten minutes from the end. We failed to clear a cross from the left and McMenamin’s effort was deflected into the net off of Craigan.
A special mention has to be made about the performance of referee Dougie McDonald. He was awful. Time after time he refused to use the caution reckless Livi fouls. Yet he managed to book Foran, Hammell and Hamilton for soft offences inside the last half hour.
Any point away from home is normally a satisfactory outcome in the SPL but on this occasion there is no doubt that we dropped two rather than won one.
We will not have to concern ourselves with the league for a fortnight. Let’s win a cup next week!