Argentinian striker Fernando Pasquinelli scored twice as Livingston inflicted a worrying defeat on Premier League Fulham just days before Chris Coleman’s side are due to start their season.
The Scottish put together the perfect performance to mark the departure of chief executive Jim Leishman, who has done so much to revive Livi’s fortunes in recent years. Fulham looked woefully off the pace when compared to their opponents – and Coleman has plenty of work ahead of him in the two weeks before the Whites begin their season at Manchester City.
The early signs were not good. The Londoners were completely outplayed at Almondvale with Livingston’s pacey front three of Barry Wilson, who gave Jerome Bonnissel the runaround all evening, Theodore Whitmore and Pasquinelli posing problems from the outset. Whitmore, who enjoyed an impressive debut, might have made a dream start at his new club but the Jamaican international’s third-minute drive from distance flashed fractionally wide of Dave Beasant’s far post.
Fulham struggled to get a foothold in a contest their hosts were dominating and Livingston grabbed a deserved lead when Pasquinelli sprung the visitors’ offside trap to open the scoring midway through the first half. The former Boca Juniors forward doubled his account seven minutes later with an excellent individual strike, drifting in from the left flank and finding the bottom corner with a precise finish. Pasquinelli could have made the Lions’ position even more comfortable had he taken any more of the chances that came his way regularly prior to being substituted on the hour mark.
By comparison, Fulham looked feeble. Junichi Inamoto offered their only serious moments of creativity from the middle of the park – where Coleman’s side comfortably lost the midfield battle – and Steed Malbranque and Louis Saha only hinted at their quality once the game was well beyond their side.
LIVINGSTON (4-3-3): McKenzie; McNamee, Andrews, Rubio, McAllister; McGovern, O’Brien, Makel; Pasquinelli, Whitmore, Wilson. Subs: Dorado, S McLaughlin, English, Lilley, P McLaughlin, Miller, Montgomery.
GOALS: Pasquinelli (23, 30).
FULHAM (4-3-3): Beasant; Rehman, Bonnissel, Goma, Djetou; Legwinski, Clark, Inamoto; Malbranque, Boa Morte, Saha. Subs: Flintney, Leacock, Hudson, Buari, Hayles, Knight, Green.
REFEREE: John Underhill.