Stenhousemuir 0 Livingston 1: Stenny on brink after another defeat

Willis Furtado takes on the Livingston defence
Willis Furtado takes on the Livingston defence

Stenhousemuir suffered a 1-0 defeat to newly-crowned Scottish League One champions Livingston at Ochilview on Saturday.

Liam Buchanan capitalised on poor goalkeeping to score by far the easiest of his 26 goals this season.

It leaves Brown Ferguson’s men five points behind ninth-placed Peterhead and eight points behind Stranraer – who won their respective fixtures – with nine points left to play for.

The one change to the home side’s starting line-up saw Vinny Berry replaced by Ross Meechan in midfield. They were, however, unable to take advantage of a makeshift Livingston side which made no fewer than six changes.

David Hopkin’s men utilised the blustery conditions early in the match, hemming the home side in. Scott Pittman fired over after only a few minutes and Buchanan persistently threatened.

At the other end, Alan Cook – playing his final match of the season before going for a knee operation on Tuesday – was denied at the edge of the box by the on-rushing goalkeeper Liam Kelly before Mason Robertson stepped out of defence to thunder an effort just beyond the post.

Robertson linked well with Cook and the energetic Conner Duthie down the right several times, as Stenhousemuir ended the half the stronger.

That momentum wasn’t carried on into a scrappy second half which was decided by a goalkeeping error.

Graham Bowman is by no means the only culpable custodian this season, but on this occasion it was he who allowed Cadden’s corner to loop over his head for Buchanan – who had missed seconds earlier in the lead up to the set-play – to nod home.

Ferguson used his full allowance of substitutes but while like their team-mates they showed the requisite battle and desire, they too were found wanting in the final third.

Stenny’s best chance came in the dying minutes and fell to one of those subs, Ally Roy, after some neat link-up from Cook and Oliver Shaw.

Roy did well to get the ball under control but couldn’t guide his shot on target.

Next up, Ferguson’s men travel north this Saturday for a do-or-die clash with their closest competitors Peterhead.