Saints 1-1 Livingston
First Team

Saints 1-1 Livingston

30th September 2023

Saints 1-1 Livingston

Saints search for their first league win of the season continues as Livingston came from behind to draw 1-1 with ten-man Saints in Perth this afternoon.

Saints took a deserved lead on 36 minutes as Dan Phillips played in Dara Costelloe who sent a clinical finish from the edge of the box into the far corner of the net.

However, the visitors were awarded a penalty on 55 minutes when Liam Gordon fouled Joel Nouble in the box and Stephen Kelly stepped up to roll the ball home from the spot, sending Dimitar Mitov the wrong way, to equalise for The Lions.

Saints were then reduced to ten men with 7 minutes remaining as Gordon was sent off following a VAR review for a high tackle on Nouble.

Next up for Saints is a trip to the North East next Sunday as they take on Aberdeen at Pittodrie, kick off 3pm.


Saints welcomed Livingston to McDiarmid Park this afternoon as they looked to bounce back from consecutive 2-0 defeats to Rangers and then Hibs last weekend. Manager Steven MacLean made four changes to his starting eleven this afternoon as Liam Gordon, Max Kucheriavyi, Luke Jephcott and Dara Costelloe came in to replace Sam McClelland, Cammy MacPherson and Stevie May who all dropped to the bench, whilst James Brown missed out completely. Livingston were eliminated from the Viaplay Cup on Wednesday evening as they lost 4-0 to Rangers at Ibrox and manager David Martindale made also made four changes to his starting eleven. Tom Parkes, Mo Sangare, Andrew Shinnie and Bruce Anderson came in to replace Luiyi de Lucas, Daniel MacKay, Stephen Kelly and Kurtis Guthrie who all dropped to the bench.

Before the match got underway there was a minute’s applause for former club employee and lifelong Saintee Donald Farquhar who sadly passed away last weekend.

Max Kucheriavyi got the match underway for Saints and the Perth side got the first sight of goal on 13 minutes as Graham Carey’s cross was only half cleared by Mo Sangare as the ball broke to Dara Costelloe however, his effort trundled wide of the target. Then 2 minutes later Luke Jephcott unleashed a curling effort from 25 yards which didn’t trouble Shamal George in the Livi goal.  

PHOTO: A minutes’ applause was held in memory of former club staff member Donald Farquhar

Saints continued to look the more dangerous side going forward and on 20 minutes Carey gathered a loose ball on the left and drove to the bye-line before cutting the ball back to Jephcott whose effort was cleared off the line.

The chances continued to come for Saints and on 27 minutes a Kucheriavyi corner from the right was met by Liam Gordon whose header was blocked by a Livi defender. Then 2 minutes later another ball from the right this time from Drey Wright played in Sven Sprangler however, his effort was turned behind for a corner by Sean Kelly.

PHOTO: Sven Sprangler and Drey Wright battle with James Penrice and Joel Nouble

A good passing move by the visitors on 35 minutes saw the ball break to Jamie Brandon on the edge of the area however, the strike from the defender was straight at Dimitar Mitov who comfortably gathered.

The breakthrough came a minute later as Saints took a deserved lead. Great play by the Perth side saw Dan Phillips play in Dara Costelloe with a brilliant pass and the on-loan Burnley man then advanced forward before smashing a brilliant strike into the far corner of the net from the edge of the box.

Saints almost doubled their lead a minute later as Carey’s long ball was flicked on by Jephcott into the path of Costelloe and his strike took a deflection off James Penrice as George made a good save with his feet to deny the attacker.

PHOTO: Dara Costelloe celebrates his goal

Into the second half and on 51 minutes Carey saw his long-range effort go wide of the target.

2 minutes later Mitov made a great save to deny Bruce Anderson after the forward had been played in by Andrew Shinnie. However, play was pulled back as Anderson had been in an offside position.

However, Livi were handed a route back into the match on 55 minutes when they were awarded a penalty. Joel Nouble and Liam Gordon chased the ball as it looked like it was going out for a goal kick and Nouble, with his back to goal, went down after clashing with Gordon and referee Graham Grainger pointed to the spot. After the decision was checked and confirmed by VAR Sean Kelly stepped up to take the penalty as he sent Mitov the wrong way and despatched his penalty into the corner of the net to equalise for the visitors.

Saints made a double change on 68 minutes as Stevie May and Jay Turner-Cooke came on to replace Luke Jephcott and Max Kucheriavyi.

PHOTO: Sean Kelly makes it 1-1 from the penalty spot

On 71 minutes the visitors were awarded a free kick following a foul on Penrice by Sprangler. Sean Kelly took the free kick and his delivery into the box was met by Ayo Obileye who glanced a header narrowly wide.

The Lions earned themselves another free kick on 78 minutes after Nouble had been fouled by Luke Robinson. Substitute Stephen Kelly this time took the free kick as he whipped the ball into the box from the right and Nouble was able to make a connection with it however, his header was comfortably gathered by Mitov.

Then on 83 minutes Saints were reduced to ten men as Liam Gordon was shown a straight red card by referee Graham Grainger, following a lengthy VAR check, after catching Nouble with a high challenge.

Steven MacLean then made a double change as Oludare Olufunwa and Sam McClelland came on to replace Drey Wright and Dara Costelloe.

PHOTO: Referee Graham Grainger watches VAR footage and then shows Liam Gordon a red card

Now with the man advantage The Lions pushed forward as they went in search of a winner but they struggled to break down Saints.

7 minutes were added on at the end and in the second minute of added on time Saints made their final change of the game as Matt Smith replaced Sven Sprangler. On 96 minutes Luke Robinson picked out Turner-Cooke with a cross into the Livi box however, the header from the on-loan Newcastle United midfielder went wide of the target.

The final chance of the match fell to the visitors as Nouble gathered the ball from Obileye before unleashing a right-footed effort however, McClelland was in the right place at the right time as he blocked the goal bound effort with a brilliant headed clearance as Saints saw the game out to earn a point.

Saints: Mitov, Considine, Gordon, Carey, Wright (Olufunwa 84’), Kucheriavyi (Turner-Cooke 68’), Jephcott (May 68’), Robinson, Sprangler (Smith 90+2’), Phillips, Costelloe (McClelland 84’)

Unused Substitutes: Richards (GK), Gallacher, MacPherson, Franczak

Booked: Sprangler, May

Sent Off: Gordon

Scorer: Costelloe (36’)

Livingston: George, Parkes (de Lucas 62’), Obileye, Anderson, Brandon (MacKay 45’), Holt, Nouble, Sangare (Guthrie 69’), Shinnie (Pittman 69’), Sean Kelly (Stephen Kelly 78’), Penrice

Unused Substitute: Hamilton (GK), Bradley, Lloyd, Lawal

Booked: MacKay, Holt

Scorer: Sean Kelly (57’ pen)

Referee: Graham Grainger

VAR: Andrew Dallas

Attendance: 2,691

Match Report by Daryl Scott

Picture: Dara Costelloe opens the scoring for Saints

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