Livingston Women pass up chance to jump to the top of Championship South table with home draw against Renfrew

By Angus McGregor & Callum Carson

Livingston Women were unable to take their chances as league leaders Renfrew kept hold of their spot at the top of the Championship South following a 2-2 draw at the Tony Macaroni Arena.

The hosts fought back from falling 2-1 behind but were denied a winner by a standout performance from Renfrew keeper Sam McQuillian.

Paul Jaconelli’s side lined up with two changes made from last weekend’s 10-0 win over St Mirren, with Jen Dodds and Ashley Fish coming in for Jacqueline Gillies and Teri Deegan. The duo came off the bench to score three times between them last weekend, earning them their spot in the starting line-up.

Dodds wasted little time in making an impact in this fixture, winning a penalty within the first 10 minutes. Shannon Mulligan played the forward through with a delightful through ball before Dodds was brought down by the Renfrew goalkeeper.

Captain Vicky Wood stepped up to take the resulting spot-kick, firing high into the top right-hand corner to give Livi the lead and take her tally for the season to four.

The Lionesses almost doubled their lead as Jess Murphy connected with a Rachel Walkingshaw corner but saw her effort cleared off the line.

The away side responded resiliently to this adversity and showed their class with a quick-fire double to put themselves in front. Sammy Jo Smith evaded the Lionesses offside trap and delightfully looped the ball over Charlotte Ferguson on the 18-minute mark. Six minutes later it would be 2-1 with Sinead MacLeod curling an effort beyond Ferguson from the edge of the box.

Livi wouldn’t be too disheartened to going a goal down and started again on the front foot with two chances falling to Walkingshaw. Her first effort was a ferocious strike from the edge of the box which McQuillian pulled out a wonder save to keep out, before squandering a glorious chance from 10 yards, blazing over under little pressure.

The home side eventually got their deserved reward shortly after half-time with Fish grabbing her fifth goal since joining the club at the start of the season. Walkingshaw made up for her misses by supplying Fish, whose tame volley was spilled by McQuillian to level things up two minutes after the break.

Renfrew almost hit back instantaneously as the action was end to end early within the second half, with Ferguson in the Livingston goal doing well to keep things level.

As the game grew, Livi began to get more of a foothold but were unable to create many clear cut chances. There were several openings but the home side’s decision making at times was costly.

McQuillian would again be the saviour for Renfrew, pulling off her best save in the dying moments of the game. Murphy proved to be a threat from set-pieces yet again, rising highest to head the ball low and goalward. Just as the ball looked destined to cross the line, the keeper pulled out a hand at the last second to deny the centre-half, causing premature celebrations to be abruptly cut short.

The save proved to be the most vital as the league leaders clung onto a point, with Livi surely being disappointed to not have come away with a victory in an important game.

Next up for Livi is an away trip to St Mirren in the second round of the SWF Championship Cup.

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