Saturday 16th September
Saints suffered their first league defeat of the season this afternoon against Dundee at Dens Park. A double by A-Jay Leitch-Smith gave the home side a two goal lead before Saints pulled a goal back thanks to a Liam Craig penalty on 75 minutes. The Dees then got a third goal on 78 minutes as Sofien Moussa converted from the spot after Leitch-Smith had been fouled in the box by Richard Foster. Dundee were then reduced to ten men on 83 minutes as captain Darren O'Dea was sent off for a second bookable offence after he had brought down Steven Anderson in the box. Liam Craig again scored from the spot but Saints couldn't take advantage of the extra man in the closing stages as their undefeated start to the season came to an end.
Saints made the short trip to The City of Discovery today for a local derby against Dundee. Tommy Wright mad two changes to the side that started last week’s 1-1 draw at home to Hibernian as Murray Davidson and Stefan Scougall dropped out to be replaced by Liam Craig and Denny Johnstone, who was making his first start for the club after joining last month on a season-long loan deal from Colchester United. Last Saturday Dundee went down 4-1 at Rangers and manager Neil McCann made two changes to the team that started at Ibrox as Kerr Waddell and Scott Allan dropped out to be replaced by Darren O’Dea and A-Jay Leitch-Smith.
The home side got the match underway but it was Saints who created the first chance of the match after 2 minutes as Denny Johnstone flicked a header into the path of Steven MacLean who had a shot at goal which was well saved by Scott Bain. However, the Main Stand assistant had his flag up to indicate that MacLean had been in an offside position.
Dundee took the lead on 9 minutes as Alan Mannus failed to hold a Darren O’Dea header from a Roarie Deacon free kick and A-Jay Leitch-Smith pounced to score from close range.
On 13 minutes Michael O’Halloran got the break of the ball and he then burst into the box and had a shot which was well saved by Bain before it was knocked behind for a corner. David Wotherspoon was whipped the corner into the box and found MacLean whose effort at goal was saved by Bain.
Saints were now taking the game to the hosts and on 17 minutes Liam Craig’s first time ball into the box picked out MacLean who couldn’t get his effort on target. Then a minute later Wotherspoon’s free kick from 22 yards was saved by Bain.
On 20 minutes Brian Easton went a good run forward before unleashing a strike which was deflected for a corner.
Then a minute later Dundee created a good chance to double their lead as Kevin Holt delivered a good ball into the box which Leitch-Smith was inches away from making a connection with. The home side were then forced to make a change as Randy Wolters came on for the injured Roarie Deacon.
It was a lively encounter and on the half hour mark Leitch-Smith, Wolters and Faissal El Bakhtaoui all had shots at Mannus’ goal blocked by the Saints defence.
Then on 32 minutes a ball into the box by Easton picked out Johnstone however, the header from the big striker was straight at Bain.
With 5 minutes of the first half remaining El Bakhtaoui’s shot from 20 yards was easily gathered by Mannus and then just before half time Leitch-Smith won a corner from which Wolters delivery was well held by Mannus.
3 minutes into the second half a shot from distance by El Bakhtaoui was well saved by Mannus.
Saints made a change on 51 minutes as Graham Cummins came on for Johnstone, who had picked up a knock.
Saints won a corner on 63 minutes as Holt headed behind O’Halloran’s cross into the box following a miscommunication between O’Dea and Bain. However, Liam Craig’s corner was cleared by the home defence.
Then 2 minutes later Dundee doubled their lead as Spence headed the ball back into the box after it had been cleared by the Saints defence and Leitch-Smith took a good touch before firing it into the roof of the net from 6 yards for his second of the afternoon.
The home side continued to press and on 74 minutes El Bakhtaoui saw his strike from the edge of the area saved by Mannus.
Then a minute Saints were given a lifeline as they were awarded a penalty after Bain had fouled Cummins. Liam Craig stepped up to send Bain the wrong way to convert the penalty.
Saints then thought they had drawn level as Steven Anderson headed the ball into the net from a Craig corner but the referee Alan Muir awarded a free kick to the home side for a foul in the box.
Play then very quickly switched to the other end as Dundee were awarded a penalty on 78 minutes for a foul on Leitch-Smith by Foster. It had looked a sift decision but Sofien Moussa stepped up to send Mannus the wrong way for Dundee’s third of the afternoon.
The drama continued as Saints were then awarded a free kick out on the right wing after Cummins had been fouled by O’Dea for which the Dundee captain was shown a yellow card. Stefan Scougall swung the free kick into the box towards Anderson who went down under the challenge from O’Dea and referee Muir pointed to the spot. O’Dea was given his marching orders for a second booking for the challenge on the Saints captain. Craig stepped up to take the penalty and he again despatched it beyond Bain much to the delight of the travelling 1,127 Saints in the stand behind the goal.
The match was now a tense, physical and hugely competitive affair as Saints looked to take advantage of the extra man in the closing stages. Dundee assistant manager and former Saints defender Graham Gartland was sent to the stand but the home side was able to hold out to secure their first win of the season and bring Saints undefeated start to the season to an end.
Man of the Match: Liam Craig
Dundee: Bain, Kerr, Holt, O’Dea, Leitch-Smith, Kamara, Moussa (Waddell 84), El Bakhtaoui, Deacon (Wolters 23), Hendry, Spence
Unused Substitutes: Parish (GK), Allan, O’Hara, Aurtenetxe, McGowan
Booked: Bain, O’Dea
Sent off: O’Dea
Scorers: Leitch-Smith (9, 65), Moussa (78 pen)
Saints: Mannus, Shaughnessy, Anderson, MacLean, Wotherspoon (Scougall 65), O’Halloran (Thomson 69), Johnstone (Cummins 51), Paton, Foster, Easton, Craig
Unused Substitutes: Clark (GK), Tanser, Millar, Gilchrist
Booked: O’Halloran, Craig, Foster
Scorers: Craig (75 pen, 84 pen)
Referee: Alan Muir Attendance: 6,001
Match Report by Daryl Scott
Picture: Liam Craig scores his first penalty
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