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Nicky Devlin and Jason Holt on target as Livingston put Aberdeen at risk of drop

Nicky Devlin netted just before the break for Livingston (Malcolm Mackenzie/PA)
Nicky Devlin netted just before the break for Livingston (Malcolm Mackenzie/PA)

Ten-man Aberdeen remain at risk of being sucked into a cinch Premiership relegation dogfight after a controversial 2-1 defeat at the hands of Livingston.

Livi captain Nicky Devlin opened the scoring late in the first half, just a minute after goalkeeper Max Stryjek could have been sent off for a clash with Vincente Besuijen.

Jason Holt added a second from the penalty spot after a Funso Ojo foul, before midfielder Ross McCrorie saw red for a second booking, while Lewis Ferguson won and converted a late penalty to give the Dons some consolation.

With just one win in his seven prior games as Aberdeen manager, Jim Goodwin made the surprised decision to leave top scorer Christian Ramirez on the bench.

But they started brightly, with Ojo and Marley Watkins both having efforts from the edge of the area which curled high and wide as the home side took the game to their visitors.

Livi, who missed out on a top-six place in the cruellest of ways, eased their way into the game though and forced an opening on the half-hour.

Joel Nouble’s cross from the left was turned towards his own goal by David Bates, forcing a smart reaction stop from Aberdeen goalkeeper Joe Lewis.

The game erupted when Stryjek appeared to throw a punch at Besuijen as the Dons winger blocked his attempt at a quick clearance, but referee Grant Irvine awarded a yellow card to each player.

The home crowd were still loudly roaring their disapproval at Irvine when the game restarted, but they were quickly silenced as Livingston broke the deadlock.

Andrew Shinnie’s cross from the left found Odin Bailey, who forced another fine save from Lewis, but the goalkeeper could not hold on and Devlin turned the ball home from close range.

Fired by their sense of fury, the home side came out swinging after the interval against the men in white, but with few efforts seriously testing Stryjek.

Indeed, only full-back Jack MacKenzie tested the goalkeeper, with the Polish stopper at full stretch to turn his effort behind.

And there was a sense of inevitability when Livingston netted their second from the spot.

Shinnie drew a challenge from Ojo which saw Irvine award the penalty and Holt kept his cool to fire home off the underside of the crossbar.

The day went from bad to worse for the home side as McCrorie saw red for a second yellow card, for his foul on substitute Cristian Montano.

There was slight consolation in the final minute as Ferguson was hauled down by Ayo Obileye and sent the resultant spot-kick into the corner of the net, but Goodwin still has work to do in the next four games.