Ross County left it late to peg back Livingston as both sides took home a point on a desperately snowy night in Dingwall.
Alan Forrest drew first blood with a brilliant left-footed effort before Ayo Obileye sent a poor penalty into the stand. County grabbed an equaliser in a scramble that seemed to reach a conclusion with Kayne Ramsay heading into the back of the net.
Livingston controlled the opening few minutes, but Ross County were nearly gifted a chance to break the deadlock in the Dingwall blizzard as Ayo Obileye missed a header from Ross Laidlaw’s goal kick. Max Stryjek had to be quick off his line to deny Joseph Hungbo a one-on-one opportunity. Not long after, Laidlaw was called into action to parry a moving strike from Forrest.
Jordan Tillson was next to try his luck after a period of scrappy play, side-footing an effort just too high from inside the D following a long throw from Blair Spittal. The Staggies clearly weren’t afraid of attempts to score from range, as Ross Callachan sent a rasping shot down the throat of Stryjek from 35 years.
There was a mixup in the Livingston backline when skipper Nicky Devlin played a harsh backpass to Stryjek. The Polish keeper slipped as he went to control it and the Livi pair were fortunate to see it go past the post, with the only punishment a corner.
After a significant amount of time where nothing happened apart from everyone in the ground peering through the snow to see the match, James Penrice swung a cross in towards Joel Nouble, but the towering forward could only nod wide of Laidlaw’s net.
A few minutes after the much-desired halftime break, Livingston had the lead. Alan Forrest broke through the middle past challenges from County’s midfield line and sent a low, curling effort with his weaker left foot past Laidlaw.
County slowly gained a hold in the game after being pegged back, and went close, again from range, when Jake Vokins found space down a channel and fired just high to the left of Stryjek’s post.
Livi almost doubled their lead with quality, when Nouble showed Staggies skipper Keith Watson a clean set of heels at the byline and chipped a ball into the area. After a goalmouth scramble, Forrest had his driven effort cleared off the line by County substitute Harry Paton.
Nouble got the chance to combine his quick feet and strength once more, shrugging off Paton and then evading the Canadian’s unbalanced challenge. His pass found Devlin, whose shot barely cleared the crossbar.
County made a pair of attacking changes, bringing on Matthew Wright and Kayne Ramsay for Tillson and Connor Randall. They were nearly immediately caught with numbers up the pitch, as Devlin broke and sent through Livi sub Bruce Anderson, but the number 9 saw his finish saved by the legs of Laidlaw.
Livingston looked to see it out, and Penrice burst into the box. The former Partick Thistle left-back was hauled down by man-on-fire Regan Charles-Cook, and the Lions had a chance to seal it from 12 yards. However, when Obileye stepped up to take it, he sent it high and slightly comically over the bar.
County were rejuvenated by this botched opportunity. Spittal and Charles-Cook combined down the right, which culminated in the former chipping a looping ball to the 6-yard line. A game of heading tennis ensued, and Ramsey was there to score a point for the Staggies, making it 1-1. Here are three things we learned.
Tough conditions create a cagey affair
In a match where the main challenge at points was to see through the falling snow, it’s unsurprising that this was no classic. Many chances were spurned, with the pick of the bunch from Ayo Obileye blasting his penalty over the bar. Ross County are the third-highest scorers in the league and did not create any clear cut chances until the very death.
Livi fail to fulfil their M.O.
It’s perhaps naive to generalise what they’re about, but it can be agreed that Livingston aim to get the job done in any way possible. Up until the very last minute, the narrative of this report would have been exactly this, but poor finishing and confused defending at the very end saw them take only a point back down the road.
County point to the clock
In two matches this season, the Staggies have conceded last-minute goals to the Livi lions. Tom Parkes and Obileye sent them reeling on those occasions, but tonight they provided the drama after offering very little across the 90 minutes. Their opportunity to go level on points with their opponents was missed but considering their performance they’ll go home reasonably pleased with the outcome.
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