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Ross County suffer another late setback in 1-1 draw against Livingston

David Cancola nets for Ross County.
David Cancola nets for Ross County.

Ross County suffered late disappointment for the second successive match as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Livingston.

County looked to be well on their way to securing all three points through David Cancola’s superb strike in first-half stoppage time.

The Staggies had chances to make sure of their win, but a late Ayo Obileye header denied the Dingwall men their first win at Almondvale since April 2012.

It goes down as a missed opportunity for Malky Mackay’s men, who were on the verge of moving out of the relegation zone but now sit just a point above bottom side St Johnstone.

David Cancola in action for Ross County.

Mackay continued to rotate his side, with four changes from the side which suffered late heartache against the Hoops. Connor Randall, David Cancola and front two Jordan White and Dominic Samuel were drafted in, with Keith Watson, Ross Callachan, Joseph Hungbo and the injured Harry Paton making way.

The Staggies were up against one of the league’s form sides in Livi, who came into the game fresh from back-to-back victories.

County looked bright from the start, showing no ill effects from the bruising loss to Celtic. Their attacking players were lively from an early stage, but it was Livi who created the first attempt on goal on 17 minutes. A corner was cleared to James Penrice, whose delivery was nodded over by Jack Fitzwater.

The Staggies have made noticeable defensive improvements in recent weeks but they showed occasional signs of slackness at Almondvale, with Jack McMillan off target with a sidefooted effort after the visitors had failed to clear their lines.

County’s first meaningful attempt on goal came on 26 minutes, with Blair Spittal failing to keep a free-kick down from 25 yards out.

Just as the first half looked to be fizzling out into a stalemate, the Staggies came up with a moment of quality which the game badly needed. Samuel saw a cross partially cleared by Penrice, before the ball fell kindly for Cancola to curl home his first County goal with a 25-yard effort, which Max Stryjek was unable to keep out.

Dominic Samuel in action for Ross County.

County looked to pick up from where they left off at the start of the second half, with Regan Charles-Cook shooting straight at Styjek from the edge of the box, when Randall was free on the overlap.

Livi looked to respond, with Fitzwater getting on the end of an Alan Forrest corner but sending his header over the bar. The towering defender nodded another effort over from open play shortly afterwards, as the home side looked to mount the pressure.

County knew a second goal would go a long way towards securing the points, with Spittal seeing an effort from the edge of the box blocked on the hour mark, before his low follow up was deflected wide.

A Spittal corner caused problems for the Livi defence on 65 minutes, with White seeing a shot on the turn blocked behind by Ayo Obileye.

County continued to create chances to wrap up the points, with Spittal teeing up substitute Callachan, whose tame effort was comfortably gathered by Stryjek.

Blair Spittal in action for Ross County.

Spittal was proving to be a lively outlet for the Dingwall men, with a low curling strike gathered by Stryjek, while Callachan was denied by the post after working a shooting opportunity down the inside right channel.

The home side produced a late rally, with Forrest seeing a strike brush the side netting, while Nicky Devlin cut inside before shooting straight at Ash Maynard-Brewer.

Livi’s pressure eventually told however, with Obileye nodding home a Penrice delivery a minute from time, in all too scrappy fashion for the visitors.

Both sides had chances to win the match in stoppage time, with Randall seeing an effort blocked, while Jason Holt cracked a strike off the crossbar.


LIVINGSTON (4-3-3) – Stryjek 6; Devlin 6, Fitzwater 6, Obileye 6, Penrice 7; McMillan 5 (Bailey 57), Omeonga 6, Holt 6; Sibbald 5 (Pittman 70), Shinnie 5 (Anderson 74), Forrest 7. Subs not used – Maley, Kelly, Longridge, Panayiotou.

ROSS COUNTY (4-4-2) – Maynard-Brewer 6; Randall 6, Clarke 6, Baldwin 6, Vokins 6; Spittal 7 (Burroughs 82), Tillson 6, Cancola 7, Charles-Cook 6 (Watson 84); White 6, D Samuel 6 (Callachan 66). Subs not used – Laidlaw, A Samuel, Hungbo, B Paton.

Referee – Grant Irvine 6

Attendance – 2,554

Man of the match: David Cancola

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