Young Crusader aces are cut down as Livingston seal the deal
Crusaders 0 Livingston 3
Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter last night hailed his young guns as they made their Irn Bru Scottish Challenge Cup exit at Seaview. Second half goals from Nicky Cadden, Raffaele De Vita and Liam Buchanan booked Livingston a quarter-final place against Welsh side The New Saints on November 13.
With a heavy fixture schedule, Baxter opted for the teenage pairing of Dale McCreery and Mark McNulty in the heart of his defence, while Michael Kerr, Salou Jallow and Marcio Soares were also handed a starting shirt.
Jordan Forsythe was the only survivor from the team that faced Linfield at the weekend, but Baxter did draft in Craig McClean, Michael Gault, Michael Carvill and David Cushley to compliment the kids.
"They were magnificent and they can all hold their heads high," Baxter said. "We perhaps ran out of steam a little bit at the end - hardly surprising because Livingston are a full time outfit. I'm proud of them all."
Even though they defeated Crusaders last month, Livingston were ordered to replay the fixture after being found guilty of fielding an ineligible player - defender Alan Ligthgow.
The club pleaded guilty to a breach of the SPFL regulations and also had to fork out a £4,000 fine.
It was the visitors who had the first sniff of goal after only three minutes with Dale Carrick firing inches past the post.
But the Crues responded in a positive manner with Soares benefiting from a Neil Morgyn error. Goalkeeper Gary Maley's botched clearance fell for Carvill, who could only hoof his shot wide.
Baxter's side threatened again on 19 minutes. The impressive Jallow's cross picked out the unmarked Forsythe at the back post, but he too wasn't clinical when it mattered.
Carrick then stung the hands of Michael Dougherty with a long range effort before the Crues shot stopper produced an even better response, getting down to claw away a thundering drive from Josh Mullin.
The dangerous Soares then crumbled under a challenge from Lithgow inside the box on 27 minutes, but Welsh referee Nick Pratt failed to listen to any penalty appeals from the home side.
Livingston shot stopper Maley then produced two moments of magic to prevent the Crues from taking the lead.
He got down to keep out a Carvill snap shot following great work from Jallow and Soares.
Then seconds later Maley produced a jaw-dropping save to leave Soares scratching his head in frustration after Cushley and Jallow had tore the Scots' defence to shreds.
But the home fans were silenced on 66 minutes with that Cadden opener.
Substitute Danny Mullen - on the pitch a matter of seconds - produced a bag of tricks on the left before cutting the ball back to Cadden, whose shot exploded into the bottom corner.
Another second half substitute, De Vita, settled the issue 16 minutes from time.
Mullen again was the provider and the Italian-born midfielder hammered home form close range.
Buchnanan put the icing on the cake for Livingstone by walking past Dougherty before knocking the ball into the empty net with two minutes left.
Crusaders: Dougherty, McClean, McCreery, McAnulty, Kerr, Gault, Carvill (Mitchell, 76 mins), Forsythe (Smith, 74 mins), Cushley (Nimick, 86 mins), Jallow, Soares. Unused subs: O'Neill, Doyle, Anderson, Clarke
Livingston: Maley, Morgyn, Creighton, Lithgow, Halkett, Mullin, Byrne, Cadden (De Vita, 66 mins), Sinclair (Buchanan, 76 mins), Watt (Mullen, 64 mins), Carrick Unused subs: Kelly, Longridge, Pittman, Currie.
Referee: Nick Pratt (Wales)
Man of the match: Salou Jallow
Match rating: 6/10