MATCH REPORT: Livingston 1-1 Ross County – Obileye delivers a Christmas cracker

Ayo Obileye was to be a late hero as his 89th-minute equaliser secured Livingston a crucial draw at the Toni Macaroni Arena.

David Cancola’s first-half stunner was not to be enough as the Livingston centre-back was on hand to snatch a point from the hands of the Highlanders.

Saturday’s fixture brought a special occasion to the Toni Macaroni Arena as a bumper crowd was in attendance for Livingston’s last home fixture before Christmas. 3,675 free tickets were donated to the local community in midweek.

Four points off the top six, David Martindale’s men were eager to continue their hot run of form after impressive wins against Hibernian and Dundee United.

Joint bottom, The Staggies looked to bounce back after conceding a 97th-minute winner at the hands of Celtic in midweek.

Much to the delight of the raucous home support, it was Livingston who took the front foot, creating several chances after the first quarter to put the fans on the edge of their seats.

Unable to capitalise this would come back to bite the Lions as the visitors took the lead on the stroke of halftime. Collecting James Penrice’s clearance all of 30 yards out, David Cancola unleashed a remarkable curling effort into the top right corner for his first goal in County colours.

LIVINGSTON, SCOTLAND – DECEMBER 05: Ross County’s David Cancola (right) gives thm a 1-0 lead during a cinch Premiership match between Livingston and Ross County at the Tony Macaroni Arena, on December 18, 2021, in Livingston, Scotland. (Photo by Roddy Scott / SNS Group)

In the second half, it was all Livingston as the Lions pressed, this time in the hope of an equaliser. However, Malky MacKay’s men held strong, limiting the home side to any clear-cut chances.

The first real chance of the second 45 came from a corner, fifteen minutes from time. Obileye rose above everyone else only to see his glancing header drift wide of the post.

In the 80th minute, County had the chance to double their lead against the run of play. Substitute Ross Callachan capitalised on Stryek misjudgement only to see his effort crash off the upright.

It was to be a frantic finale as Livingston finally got their deserved equaliser.

On the cusp of full time, James Penrice’s looping cross was met by Obileye at the back post to powerfully head home, sending the stands into raptures.  

Obileye celebrates his last minute equaliser with Omeonga . Credit – SNS Group

Minutes later, the Lions were inches from snatching it in added time. Jason Holt unleashed a powerful effort from the edge of the box only to see it cannon off the top of the bar.

This was to be the final action of the match as both teams headed home with a share of the spoils.

Next up for the Lions, it’s a trip to Fir Park on Boxing Day as they face Motherwell. County travel to Perth on Wednesday night as they take on last season’s Double Cup winners St Johnstone.

Man of the match – Ayo Obileye

A threat in attack all game paired by solidarity at the back, the 27-year-old was sent upfront in the hope of grabbing an equaliser with his aerial threat, eventually paying dividends with a last-minute goal.

Livingston: Stryjek, Devlin, Fitzwater, Obileye ▊, Penrice ▊, Holt, Omeonga, McMillan (Bailey 57), Sibbald (Pittman 70), Forrest, Shinnie (Anderson 74)
Subs not used: Maley, Kelly, Longridge, Panayiotou
Goals: Obileye (89)

Ross County: Maynard-Brewer, Randall ▊, Vokins, Cancola ▊, Baldwin ▊ Spittal (Burroughs 82), D.Samuel (Callachan 66), Charles-Cook ▊ (Watson 85), Clarke, Tillson, White
Subs not used: A.Samuel, Hungbo, Paton, Laidlaw
Goals: Cancola (45)

Referee: Grant Irvine
HT: 0-1
Att: 2,554

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