Livingston 1 -2 Aberdeen
8th August 2021
Tony Macaroni Arena
By Robbie Hanratty
Jack McKenzie’s goal deep into stoppage-time handed Aberdeen a dramatic 2-1 victory away to Livingston.
Livi goalkeeper Max Stryjek failed to deal with MacKenzie’s shot which sparked a large pitch invasion from the travelling supporters. Teddy Jenks’ second-half strike cancelled out former Aberdeen striker Bruce Anderson’s third goal in six games as the away side retained their 100% record.
Scott Pittman came very close to breaking the deadlock after just three minutes but his chance from a lovely ball from James Penrice flew by the post. The hosts with the best of the opening exchanges.
Aberdeen’s full-backs Jack Gurr and MacKenzie looked lively, constantly hugging the touchline. They were the ones seeing a lot of the ball in the build-up to any attack for the visitors.
Ryan Hedges cut inside and struck narrowly over the bar with 13 minutes played before Jay Emmanuel-Thomas won a free kick around 35 yards out. The resulting free-kick was almost genius from Dylan McGeough to catch the Livingston defenders out but Jonny Hayes just wasn’t on the same wavelength.
Jackson Longridge forced Lewis into a fine save with 10 minutes ‘til the break before ex Don Anderson put the West Lothian side in front immediately after flicking his header over the Aberdeen stopper and into the net.
Livingston took some momentum from their opener and threatened to double their lead with Anderson’s square ball to Scott Pittman landing in Lewis’ arms.
Scott Brown replaced Hayes, who had picked up a knock, with halftime approaching.
Stephen Glass’ side had to do something after having zero shots on target in the opening 45 minutes. Niall McGinn was deployed to play off of JET upfront and they were fairly ineffective in giving the Dons supporters something to cheer about.
Jenks equalised for the Dons almost immediately after. Landing at the Brighton loanee’s feet, he produced a lovely half volley from around 25 yards out for his first senior goal.
Livingston started to lose their discipline and picked up a few needless bookings as the match began to get heated.
Hedges made a crucial goal-line clearance when Ayo Obilye’s header looked goal bound.
The visitors were shooting towards the 900 strong Red Army and seemed to have a bit more bite about them with Gurr and McGinn having half chances to put their side in front.
In-form striker Christian Ramirez replaced McGinn just after the hour mark. While Jack Hamilton replaced Sibbald and almost made an immediate impact, firing inches wide after neat link-up play with Anderson.
It was hard to separate the sides as David Martindale’s side showed that they were not holding on for a point and pressed the Dons high at every opportunity.
Lewis made a superb save to deny Jason Holt a winner with minutes left on the clock but instead, it was MacKenzie who cut inside and unleashed an ambitious effort on target which went straight through Stryjek and into the net to send the visiting supports into raptures (and onto the Tony Macaroni turf).
Livingston return to League Cup action at home to St Mirren, the team they defeated in last year’s Semi-Final.
Next up for the Dons, they welcome the challenge of Breidablik in the Europa Conference League on Thursday.
Man of The Match – Jack McKenzie
A solid shift up and down the left-hand side topped with his first senior goal to win his side the match in the dying embers.
Referee – Kevin Clancy
Attendance – 2000
LIVINGSTON: Stryjek, Devlin, Obileye, Fitzwater, Longridge, Holy, Pittman, Sibbald (Hamilton 59), Forrest (Kelly 66), Anderson (Reilly 72), Penrice.
Subs not used: Barden, Parkes.
GOAL: Anderson (35)
BOOKED: Sibbald, Penrice, Devlin, Pittman
ABERDEEN: Lewis, Gurr (Ramsay 87), Gallagher, Considine, MacKenzie, McGeouch, McGinn (Ramirez 63), Jenks, Hedges, Hayes (Brown 44), Emmanuel-Thomas.
Subs not used: Woods, McCrorie, Campbell, Ruth.
GOAL: Jenks (47), MacKenzie (90+5)