Livingston lost for the first time in seven matches in the SPFL Ladbrokes Championship as Dunfermline leapfrogged their opponents into second place in the league table.
The Pars welcomed Joe Cardle back from injury and Dean Shiels back from suspension to bolster their bench. Declan McManus dropped out with Canadian international Fraser Aird making his second league start of the season.
For the visitors, it was the same side who started against Dundee United last weekend barring the injured Nicky Cadden, who was replaced by striker Dale Carrick.
The opening goal was quick to come and it was a fortuitous at that. Neil Alexander smacked the ball forward but it was blocked by Kallum Higginbotham’s arm before trundling into the unguarded net. An early lead for the hosts.
Livi almost hit back immediately through Josh Mullin but his right-footed striker after a cross from the left was punched into the air by Murdoch before being cleared for a corner.
After struggling for game time this season, Aird was keen to impress. Cutting in from the left, he shot wildly over from 20 yards before curling a beautiful effort beyond the helpless Alexander shortly afterwards. A flowing move down the left saw Aird use his pace as the former Rangers player opened his Dunfermline account in style.
It was 3-0 soon after when Higginbotham struck again. This time, it was a more traditional right footed effort from just outside the penalty area which was perfectly placed beyond Alexander to leave David Hopkin’s men with a mountain to climb.
The Livingston boss went damage limitation with two half time substitutions. Nikolay Todorov – who is a striker by trade but was playing centre back on Saturday – was moved to his natural position with Declan Gallagher coming on for Dale Carrick.
Jack McMillan was also brought on in place of Josh Mullin on the right.
Aird, Smith, Splaine and Clark all had efforts at the beginning of the second period however as Dunfermline continued to dominate.
Then, the visitors almost got a lifeline. Early second half substitute Raffaele De Vita broke through the home sides defence and squared the ball for Danny Mullen. The striker flicked the ball towards goal under pressure from Ashcroft as the ball landed into the grateful arms of Murdoch.
Joe Cardle would get the final few moments of the match as he came on for the sponsors Man of the Match Fraser Aird, while Andy Ryan also managed to gain game time in the closing stages, coming on for Callum Smith.
The visitors would get a consolation to dampen the atmosphere at East End Park as the match came to a close. With three minutes remaining, Danny Mullen slotted the ball home from close range following a corner on the Lions’ left.
There was no late fightback, despite the pressure from Hopkin’s men as the hosts jumped above Livi in the Championship standings after 10 matches.
FULL TIME: Dunfermline Athletic 3-1 Livingston
1. Sean Murdoch
2. Ryan Williamson
5. Callum Mortis (Captain)
6. Lee Ashcroft
14. Jason Talbot
7. Kallum Higginbotham
13. Aaron Splaine
8. Nat Wedderburn
17. Fraser Aird (Nor Cardle 81′)
10. Nicky Clark
23. Callum Smith (Andy Ryan 81′)
20. Cammy Gill (GK)
3. Lewis Martin
4. Jean-Yves M’Voto
9. Declan McManus
11. Joe Cardle
16. Andy Ryan
27. Dean Shiels
1. Neil Alexander
9. Nikolay Todorov
26. Craig Halkett (Captain)
4. Alan Lithgow
7. Josh Mullin (Jack McMillan 45′)
6. Shaun Byrne
8. Scott Pittman
21. James Penrice
3. Jackson Longridge (Raffaele De Vita 54′)
10. Danny Mullen
19. Dale Carrick (Declan Gallagher 45′)
20. Gary Maley (GKL
2. Jack McMillan
14. Keaghan Jacobs
15. Dylan Mackin
16. Matthew Knox
23. Raffaele De Vita
31. Declan Gallagher
Referee; Andrew Dallas