By Chris Toner
Albion Rovers’ Premier Sports Cup Group G campaign ended in a 3-2 defeat to Premiership side Livingston.
The West Lothian side held a comfortable three-goal cushion early in the second half, with Scott Pittman, ex-Rovers player Josh Mullin and half time substitute Bruce Anderson on the score sheet. But that did not deter a Rovers comeback attempt, with debutants Ayrton Sonkur and Michael Paton scoring to put Rovers within a goal of forcing a penalty shootout to a decide a winner on the day, but it was not to be for Brian Reid’s side, which featured a total of six new players starting.
Livi went a goal up after only five minutes, as Pittman headed in Joel Nouble’s cross. And the Lions were unlucky not to double their lead minutes later as Rovers’ new keeper Jack Leighfield was forced to tip Andrew Shinnie’s close range effort over the bar.
Rovers’ best chance of the half came through a dangerous free kick into the box from Charlie Reilly, but no one could capitalise and the visitors doubled their lead on 20 minutes as Leighfield did well to deal with James Penrice’s chance, but the ball was parried into the path of Mullin, who put the ball into the net, scoring against his former club in the process.
David Martindale’s side wasted no time in the second half as substitute Anderson slotted a low shot from the centre of the box into the net after just three minutes. The tie looked all but over for Rovers, until just after the hour mark when new signing Sonkur managed fire home after getting onto a low free kick into the box.
Nine minutes later, Rovers had their fans believing as another new signing in Paton fired a powerful shot from the centre of the box past Ivan Konovalov to find a second goal.
But Rovers forcing a penalty shootout wasn’t to be as Kyle Fleming’s effort from the edge of the box failed to trouble Konovalov and the visitors had a series of chances to effectively kill off the game, but they did not find the net either.
Albion Rovers: Leighfield, Fagan (C), Sonkur, McGowan (86′ for Fernie), Malcolm, Wilson, Kidd (76′ for Duncan), Testa (61′ for Roberts), Fleming, Reilly, Paton (76′ for Dolan) Substitutes: Duncan (76′ for Kidd), Fernie (86′ for McGowan), Roberts (61′ for Testa), Dolan (76′ for Paton), Sandberg
Livingston: Konovalov, Bitsindou, Devlin (C, 77′ for Brandon), Fitzwater, Penrice (61′ for Longridge), Pittman, Holt, Mullin (45′ for Bahamboula), Nouble (45′ for Anderson), Gonçalves (61′ for Montaño), Shinnie Substitutes: Stryjek, Omeonga, Kelly, Cancar, Montaño (61′ for Gonçalves), Brandon (77′ for Devlin), Bahamboula (45′ for Mullin), Anderson (45′ for Nouble), Longridge (61′ for Penrice)
Referee: Don Robertson
Albion Rovers Man of the Match: Ayrton Sonkur