Livingston reached the fourth round of the Scottish Cup after their fighting comeback from 1-0 down to win 2-1 in extra-time against Raith Rovers.
A tremendous free kick from Lewis Vaughan fired the away side in front in the early moments of the match, frustrating Livi boss David Martindale, who thought his side should have prevented it from hitting the net.
Reghan Tumilty then looked to add a second only a minute later. The 24-year-old danced past Jack Fitzwater and Jon Guthrie with ease and fired a shot towards goal, but it was parried away by Robby McCrorie.
Livingston had their half chances as well, but there were no clear openings for them until late on in the match. Craig Sibbald’s corner managed to pick out Nicky Devlin on one occasion and the defender headed towards goal, only to be denied by Dylan Tait who cleared the ball off the line.
Livingston’s set-pieces looked to be their best outlet after already having a header blocked off the line and another couple of efforts narrowly missing the target. With 20 minutes to play, a corner swung in from Josh Mullin managed to reach Guthrie, who headed the ball to Fitzwater.
The defender smashed the ball into the net to give his side a much-needed equaliser. Momentum seemed to be with the home side and they were looking to add another before the final whistle to seal their place in the next round of the cup.
A few chances fell to them, but they couldn’t find their breakthrough and the match had to go to extra time. Neither side looked like clinching the match in extra time with the first half having little to offer in terms of chances.
It seemed as if the balloon had burst for the away side, looking to be drained of fitness and their opponents much the opposite. Livi did manage to take advantage and it came from the right flank once again. Nicky Devlin took on Frankie Musonda and beat him before crossing the ball in for Matej Poplatnik, who had an easy finish with Jamie Macdonald out of his goal.
Raith Rovers will perhaps feel that they have been hard done-by given how good they had been during the 90 minutes. Livingston showed character to progress and here are three things we learned.
Despite being the division below their opponents, Raith weren’t afraid to attack Livingston and fight for their place in the next round of the cup. They will be delighted that they were able to compete with a top six Premiership club and this should give them confidence going into the final five games of the Championship season.
Livingston go through the gears
Livingston looked off-pace at the start of the match, and it seemed a comfortable ride for Raith to begin with. It wasn’t until they got their first goal that they really took control. As manager Martindale said after the match, the main thing is getting your name in the hat for the next round in a cup game.
Livi are now in the hat for the last 16 of the tournament and will be aiming to replicate similar success to the League Cup when they reached the final. It would be a nice supplement to their top six league tilt.
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