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Livingston 1 – 1 Motherwell

Nicky Devlin missed twice from the spot as Livingston were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Motherwell.

Goalkeeper Liam Kelly saved Devlin’s initial spot-kick and then his second attempt after referee David Munro had ordered a retake.

Morgan Boyes did eventually give Livi the lead with a 39th-minute header, but it lasted just three minutes as Kevin van Veen levelled just before the break.

Following a poor second half, both sides were left still waiting for their first wins since the World Cup break.

The match descended into confusion in the 12th minute when Munro awarded Livingston a penalty.

Bruce Anderson fed Devlin on the right and his cross was knocked towards goal by Cristian Montano.

Munro instantly award a penalty for handball against Ricki Lamie, a decision confirmed by VAR.

Devlin’s penalty was saved by Kelly before the rebound ended up in the net following a goal-line melee.

Nicky Devlin saw a retaken penalty saved by Liam Kelly after the goalkeeper also stopped the initial effort

After Munro awarded the goal, VAR intervened again to order a retake of the penalty.

It was ruled the ball had struck Devlin’s hand on the way over the line, but Kelly had come off his line to make the initial stop.

Devlin went the same way from the spot for a second time and again Kelly saved to deny Livi the opener.

The narrow escape buoyed Motherwell, who threatened with a Van Veen volley, batted away by Shamal George, and a Connor Shields long-range effort over the top.

Midway through the half Stephen Kelly drilled a shot just wide, and the former Rangers midfielder was involved as the breakthrough eventually came six minutes before the break.

It was simple as Kelly floated in a free-kick from the left and Boyes headed it back across the goal and inside the back post.

However, the lead lasted just three minutes. Sean Goss hammered in a shot that George repelled and Van Veen hooked the rebound into the empty net.

Livi introduced new signing Steven Bradley for his debut at the interval because of a head injury sustained by Montano and he almost made an instant impact as he forced Kelly into a save seconds after the restart.

At the other end two minutes later, Van Veen fired against the crossbar from close range when it appeared easier to score following tenacious work from Shields.

Van Veen struck the bar again in the 62nd minute from a tight angle as both sides sought a winner, but they were left frustrated.

LIVINGSTON, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 02: Motherwell's Kevin Van Veen celebrates with Connor Sheilds after scoring to make it 1-1 during a cinch Premiership match between Livingston and Motherwell at the Tony Macaroni Arena, on January 02, 2023, in Livingston, Scotland.  (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Motherwell’s Kevin van Veen celebrates with Connor Sheilds after scoring to make it 1-1

What the managers said

Livingston manager David Martindale said: “I think the double penalty miss spooked us. We lost control of the game. Motherwell got the boost and did the basics better than us.

“Our decision-making wasn’t great, in terms of letting the ball bounce and giving away bad throw-ins that led to corners.

“I’m disappointed in the result, but it was fair, although when you’re playing at home you always look to win.

“Someone said that’s us up to sixth so that’s a positive.”

Livingston have now missed their last five penalties.

Martindale added: “Nicky was the designated taker. We have done a bit of work on it at training, but that’s clearly not worked. I won’t be doing that again.”

Motherwell manager Steven Hammell felt his side deserved to take all three points after taking control of the second half.

He said: “It was frustrating because we came here to win the game.

“Once we got through the initial scrappy spells of the game and the VAR decisions, we had most of the game and I felt we dominated most of it after that.

“We had 17 shots on goals and hit the bar twice, and so I thought we did enough, especially in the second half, to come away with the three points.

“I feel I’m saying the same things every week. Most of this season we have played well and got into good scenarios.

“We did that today and got into these areas where we felt we could hurt the opposition, but again it’s just being clinical.

“It’s about taking your chances and they weren’t half-chances, they were big chances, and we fell short and that was the difference from winning.”

What’s next?

Sunday 8th January 12:30pm

Kick off 1:30pm

Livingston go to Ross County on Saturday in a 3pm kick-off, while Motherwell host Hibernian on Sunday, live on Sky Sports from 12.30pm; kick-off 1.30pm.

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