Matchzone: Livingston (A)
Kilmarnock extended an unbeaten run to three matches with a hard-fought 0-0 draw against Livingston on Saturday 16th December.
The visitors controlled the majority of possession in West Lothian, but left with a treasured point following Bruce Anderson’s penalty miss inside the final 10 minutes.
Both managers referenced the conditions in their post-match press conferences after contending with a strong wind which limited clear glimpses of goal from open play.
Searching for their first goal in six games, the hosts were first to try their luck. Will Dennis was equal to a long-range attempt from Ayo Obileye, gathering at his bottom right corner with 2 minutes played.
Backed by a trademark strong away support, Killie began to dictate possession. A trio of corners were fended off by the Livingston defence before the first sight of goal fell to the away side’s captain. Kyle Vassell sprung onto Liam Polworth’s free-kick from the right wing, nodding narrowly past the far post.
Vassell continued to lead the charge, drawing the hosts’ No.1 into a solid near post save two minutes after his first attempt. Robbie Deas also worked Shamal George with the half-hour mark approaching, nodding comfortably into the keeper’s arms after meeting Danny Armstrong’s cross.
A positive 10-minute spell around the Livingston box would follow, before David Martindale’s team got a foothold on the game.
Killie were forced to switch up their attack before the break, with Marley Watkins withdrawn due to injury; replaced by on-loan Barnsley forward Andy Dallas.
It was much of the same in the second period as half-chances passed without troubling either keeper. Corrie Ndaba was quick to set his sights but could only send his first-time volley from a tight angle flying into the South Stand.
Kyle Vassell also threatened through a snapshot, turning inside the box before forcing Shamal George to gather a strike towards his near post.
Killie remained on the front foot, with Danny Armstrong the main outlet. One of his several searching balls into the penalty area was scrambled away inside the six-yard box as Killie attackers prepared to pounce.
Andy Dallas came close to his first goal in the stripes as he burst through one-on-one and saw an effort saved, before play was brought back by an offside flag.
The biggest talking point of the game came on 80 minutes. Livingston were gifted a glorious chance to secure all three points from the penalty spot after Stuart Findlay was judged to have handled inside the box while attempting to block an overhead kick. Bruce Anderson stepped up and sent Will Dennis the wrong way, but saw his shot rebound off the outer side of the left post.
Killie escaped a late scare but wouldn’t leave the Tony Macaroni Arena unscathed. Late substitute Kyle Magennis was forced off in injury time, with an apparent tweak of his hamstring.
Speaking at full-time, Derek McInnes emphasised that disappointment with a draw displayed how far the team has progressed in recent weeks. You can listen to the full interview – HERE.
Result: Livingston 0-0 Kilmarnock
Kilmarnock lineup: Dennis, Mayo, Findlay, Deas, Ndaba, Armstrong (Magennis 87 (McKenzie 90+4)), Polworth (Mackay-Steven 87), Watson, Lyons, Watkins (Dallas 33), Vassell.