Livingston 1-1 Dundee United: Aziz Behich Nets Equaliser To End Seven Straight Defeats

Aziz Behich scored a second-half equaliser as Dundee United ended a run of seven straight defeats by drawing 1-1 with Livingston at the Tony Macaroni Arena.

Steven Bradley had given Livi an early lead by rifling high into the net after good work from Joel Nouble.

United improved after a slow start and Behich showed composure at the back post to slot home a leveller just before the hour mark.

Bradley hit the woodwork twice while United’s Sadat Anaku missed a glaring chance but both sides eventually had to settle for a draw as Jim Goodwin secured his first point as United boss.

Livingston remained seventh after ending their run of four straight defeats.

Livi boss David Martindale had been forced to shuffle his pack with injuries and Jack Fitzwater’s suspension. Luiyi de Lucas came in for his first Livingston start in defence, while Andrew Shinnie and Steven Bradley started in midfield.

Dundee United’s Steven Fletcher applauds the travelling away fans

Goodwin made two changes from Saturday’s defeat to Aberdeen, with Loick Ayina and Anaku replacing Ryan Edwards and Dylan Levitt.

Before the match began, both sides observed a minute’s applause for former Livingston chairman Bill Hunter who died last week.

When the action got under way it was the hosts who started on the front foot and they almost got their noses in front in the 10th minute, as good skill from Jason Holt teed up Bradley but his thumping strike from 20 yards cannoned off
the crossbar.

Bradley only had to wait a couple of minutes for another chance though and this time he made no mistake.

Nouble got the better of Kieran Freeman down the left-hand side and his deflected cut back eventually found Bradley free in the six-yard box to side foot the ball high into the net.

Freeman endured a torrid start to the game and – after being booked early on – he escaped a second yellow card for pulling back Cristian Montano before being replaced by Liam Smith with only half an hour on the clock.

The hosts had dominated the half but they were fortunate to go into half-time ahead as Behich drove down the left and his pin-point cross found Anaku who inexplicably sliced the ball wide of the post from only a few yards out.

United did improve after the break and they hauled themselves level just before the hour mark.

Craig Sibbald’s low cross was flicked on by Kai Fotheringham and met by Behich who side-footed across Shamal George and into the far corner.

The Livi fans were becoming frustrated and they were further incensed when Ayina caught Scott Pittman with a full-blooded challenge but referee Matthew MacDermid produced just a yellow card.

Bradley was looking the most likely for Livingston and he hit the woodwork again in the 67th minute. Mark Birighitti was far from convincing but he eventually managed to turn the Livi midfielder’s close-range shot on to the post.

United finished the stronger and Charlie Mulgrew almost won it at the death but George saved his curling free-kick from 20 yards as the match finished all square.

Goodwin: I saw aggression and commitment

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Jim Goodwin was happy with Dundee United’s fightback to draw with Livingston.

Dundee United manager Jim Goodwin said: “Very pleased with the overall performance, pleased with the level of aggression and commitment and desire that you need when you’re fighting for your lives at the bottom of the table. I thought we saw that in abundance.

“We’re not getting carried away. It’s only a point but it’s important we put a stop to the run of defeats and it gives us something now to build on.

“It’s an extremely difficult venue for any team to come. You’re going to be in the game, you know you’re going to have to max the physicality and the energy. I thought we did that.

“I thought that we were the better team. We started really poorly and I’ve got to take my fair share of the blame for that because the system wasn’t working.

“They showed the exact characteristics that you need when you’re in a relegation dogfight.

“It was 1-0 to Livingston and I think lesser teams would’ve crumbled at that point and went under and conceded a second goal very early.

“But the boys stuck together and they ground out a result and once we got the equaliser, I felt that if there was a team going to go on and win the game that it would’ve been us.”

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Livingston manager David Martindale was disappointed with their second half showing against Dundee United.

Livingston boss David Martindale said: “I’ll be honest I thought it was a big moment in the first half. That was a double yellow card and I’m sitting here and I feel a wee bit aggrieved.

“If that’s a Livingston player, I don’t know. That’s a double yellow card. Professional foul and the next touch is leading into the box but we don’t get that. I’m not going to talk about individual players.

“Then I thought there are another two big moments and there’s a huge moment with the tackle on (Scott) Pittman.

“And the one with De Lucas, the disappointing thing for me is that the referee’s not had the opportunity to go and look at the monitor.

“We’re watching in the dugout on the monitor. We’ve got the technology now. The referee’s not always going to make the right decision in real-time but with the use of the technology they can arrive at a better decision.

“Both challenges on De Lucas and especially Pittman, I’m astounded they have both come out as yellow cards and the referee wasn’t asked to go and look at the monitor.

“I’m not saying this out of being bitter. I’ve had Pittman and (Jason) Holt sent off and I genuinely didn’t think they were red cards.

“I appealed them and I lost the appeal and I’ll take it on the chin.”

What’s next?

Livingston’s next Scottish Premiership match is at home to Ross County on 18 March.

Dundee United are at home to St Mirren on the same day. Both games kick off at 3pm.

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