Livingston were denied the chance to move off the foot of the Championship after being held to a 0-0 stalemate with nearest rivals Alloa at a bitterly cold Energy Assets Arena last night.
The hosts were hoping for the first league victory at home since September, but were unable to cash in on the superior opportunities they carved out in front of goal.
It was a frustrating evening for boss Mark Burchill. He said: “We didn’t play anywhere near the standard I am expecting. I gave them a bit of a roasting at half-time.”
A minute’s applause took place prior to kick-off in memory of West Lothian teenager and aspiring goalkeeper Jak Trueman, who lost his battle with cancer two days ago. A match is scheduled for this Sunday at the Energy Assets Arena in honour of the courageous 15-year-old who managed to raise over £33,000 for a cancer charity.
After a fairly tentative opening 15 minutes, Jordan White spun his marker midway inside the Alloa half and threaded a neat ball through to strike partner Danny Mullen, and the 20-year-old, who has scored three goals in his last two games, took one touch before forcing the Wasps’ No.1 Craig McDowall into a low save.
The visitors then broke and Michael Doyle charged into the Livi penalty box before crossing for Greig Spence, who was a toe away from prodding past Darren Jamieson at the far post.
Mullen again called the Alloa keeper into action after collecting a pass from Keaghan Jacobs but his powerful drive from the edge of the area was tipped over by the stretching McDowall.
Alloa threatened five minutes before the interval when a Kyle Benedictus header looked destined for the bottom corner before Jamieson saved. But it was the post that came to the visitors’ rescue right on the stroke of halft-ime when Burton O’Brien’s half volley took a nick of Benedictus and the ball rebounded back off McDowall’s left-hand post with the keeper well beaten.
The hosts continued to press their opponents within minutes of emerging from the tunnel for the second half as White’s cutback flashed right across the six-yard box and there were no takers in a yellow shirt.
But as the surface became increasingly hazardous, Mullen lost his footing which allowed Mark Docherty to collect the ball and his shot from 25 yards was deflected off captain Jason Talbot for a corner – Alloa defender Ben Gordon subsequently heading over the crossbar from the resulting kick.
With the visitors beginning to see more of the possession, Ibra Sekajja was introduced for what was the striker’s home debut and he certainly supplied some extra pace to the Livi frontline – Myles Hippolyte also coming off the subs’ bench just moments later.
But it was the Livi defence who were required to stick to their duties with just under 20 minutes to play, none other than Callum Fordyce who headed a netbound cross from Docherty off the line. Sekajja was then denied by a point-blank save from McDowall which left the Livi management team with their hands on heads.
Livingston: Jamieson, Sives, Talbot, Fordyce, Kyle Jacobs, Keaghan Jacobs (Hippolyte 76), O’Brien, Gallagher, Praprotnik (Sekajja 62), White, Mullen. Subs: Walker, Beaumont, McKenna, Pittman, Shaun Rutherford.
Alloa: McDowall, Gordon, Benedictus, Meggatt, Doyle, Simmons (Docherty 50), McCord, Holmes, Cawley, Spence (Layne 69), Buchanan (Greg Rutherford 90). Subs: Gibson, Mark, Martin, Tiffoney.
Referee: Euan Anderson.