Livingston 4 - 2 STJWFC
20th November 2023
St Johnstone Women made their first trip to the Tony Macaroni Arena on Sunday to take on Livingston with the home side running out 4-2 winners.
For the first time this season, Jamie Reynolds named an unchanged starting eleven for the second game in a row to the side that narrowly lost out midweek to Boroughmuir Thistle. The sides have already met twice this season, once in the Sky Sports Cup and once in the league, with a win a piece
Livingston had the first chance of the match when Raewyn Murphy curled a shot over from a corner after five minutes. They would open the scoring in spectacular fashion. A ball was played in to Anna Dickov who chested the ball up, turned and hit an exquisite volley which left Ellie Mitchell a spectator as it flew high into the net.
Alix Moodie played an inviting through ball for Jodie Ovens, but former Saints goalkeeper Molly Reeve was quick off her line to gather it. Back at the other end, Shannon Mulligan headed over from a corner before Livingston doubled their lead after half an hour. Neat play led to Lucy Watt finding herself in space to turn and fire a shot high into the net past the outstretched left hand of Mitchell.
A few minutes later Saints nearly halved the arrears when Jodie Ovens picked up the ball on the left and struck from distance which forced Reeve to dive low to her left and tip the ball out for a corner. That corner was put behind at the near post, and the second delivery from Alix Moodie caught out Reeve who failed to make contact with the ball when coming to punch clear. There was a scramble and before Livingston got the ball clear to counter before being stopped before getting into the Saints half
Into the final five minutes of the half and Livingston again went close. A Beth McKay shot skiffed off the head of Nicole Carter and behind for a corner, which was headed over by Courtney McAvoy at the back post. There was time for once last Saints chance, but Eilidh Begg couldn’t keep her effort down and cleared the crossbar.
Early into the second half Saints made their first change as Steffi Simson came on in place of Morgan Steedman.
With ten minutes of the half gone, Livingston got their third. Beth McKay crossed in from the right and substitute Lauren Graham was able to get on the end of it to head past Mitchell. A double change for Saints saw Elvie MacLean come on in place of Ellie MacIver in midfield, with Jodie Malcolm replacing Jodie Ovens up front.
Saints continued to try and get back into the match and did so after an hour when Steffi Simson was played through by Megan Burns and, as the ball dropped, with a deft touch fired past Reeve. Following the goal there was a frantic nature to the game as Saints pushed for a second, and Livingston, having made three changes of their own at this point, showed slight signs of panic and play from both sides became rushed.
Saints hopes of mounting a comeback that could see them take something from the match were given a blow when Livingston scored their fourth in the sixty-seventh minute. Having got lucky when the outstretched foot of Emma McFadyen, unmarked, only just missed connecting with a cross as it flashed across the six-yard box, Saints weren’t as lucky next time. In a similar manner, Shannon Todd found herself unmarked six yards out to head past Mitchell who couldn’t keep the powerful header out.
Saints final changes of the afternoon saw Niamh Irvine and Scarlett Brady introduced for Eilidh Begg and Nicole Carter. It would be Irvine that set up Saints second of the afternoon. Doing well to retain the ball under pressure at the edge of the box from a posse of defenders, she laid the ball back to Alix Moodie who struck a ferocious effort from at least twenty-five yards which flew into the top right corner.
Once again, the game became frantic as Saints started to push forward more and were enjoying better play with diagonal balls getting in behind the Livingston back line. However, the West Lothian side saw the game out to retain their place in third while Saints remain in sixth place.
Next up for Saints, bottom side Gartcairn come to Riverside next Sunday. Kick off is at 1pm and St Johnstone season ticket holders gain free entry.
St Johnstone: Mitchell, MacIver (McLean), Carter (Brady), M.Steedman (Simson), Moodie, Begg (Irvine), Burns, McCafferty, L.Steedman, Ovens (Malcolm), Robertson.
Subs not used: Paterson, Cochran
Livingston: Reeve, Walker (Frew), McAvoy, McKay (Todd), Murphy, Ross, Elizabeth (Evans), Watt, Dickov (McFadyen), Murphy, Mulligan (Mason)
Subs: Hughes-Lee, Murray, , Dodds, Calder
Livingston 4: Dickov 11’, Watt 30’, Evans 56’, Todd 67’
Saints 2: Simson 62’ , Moodie 80’
Match Report by Stuart Cowper