Saturday 28th July
A 3-1 against Forfar Athletic at Station Park this afternoon saw Saints progress into the second round of the Betfred Cup.
Saints started brightly however, it was the League One side that took the lead on 16 minutes when Forfar Athletic player/assistant manager John Baird converted a Jamie Bain cutback.
Saints though fought back and were level on 42 minutes when a Scott Tanser cross was headed home by Tony Watt.
The second half was a much-improved performance as Saints became more clinical in front of goal. David McMillan put Saints into the lead when he converted a great through ball from Liam Gordon on 51 minutes. Then a fantastic strike from Matty Kennedy on 62 minutes finished the game off as a contest.
Today’s result sees Saints finish top of Group B with 11 points and attention now turns to tomorrow’s second round draw to see who Saints will play.
Saints made the trip to Angus today to take on League One side Forfar Athletic in their final group game of the Betfred Cup knowing that if they avoided defeat they would win Group B and progress to the next round. Tommy Wright made three changes to the side that defeated Falkirk 1-0 on Tuesday evening as Steven Anderson, Liam Craig and Stefan Scougall all dropped to the bench. They were replaced by Jason Kerr, Matty Kennedy and David McMillian. Whilst there was a place on the bench for keeper Conor Mitchell who had joined the club this week on a season-long loan deal from English Premiership side Burnley. Forfar Athletic, who are managed by former Saints captain Jim Weir, also made three changes to their starting line-up that defeated Montrose 3-1 on Wednesday evening. Out went Willie Muir, Darren Whyte and the suspended Andy Munro to be replaced Marc McCallum, Gary Fraser and former Saints player Eddie Malone. There was also a place in the starting line-up for another former Saints player Dylan Easton.
Forfar got the match underway but it was Saints who created the first chance of the game on 5 minutes as they were awarded a free kick following a foul by Jamie Bain on Tony Watt. The free kick was taken by Matty Kennedy however, his effort from 30 yards went wide of the target. Then a couple of minutes later Saints were awarded another free kick which was taken by David Wotherspoon, who was captain today, however, he couldn’t get his curling effort on target.
Forfar did have chances of their own and on 14 minutes Dale Hilson did well to evade the challenge from Liam Gordon before getting a shot away however, his effort did not have much power in it to trouble Zander Clark. However, the Loons took the lead 2 minutes later as Hilson fed the ball to Jamie Bain and the defender produced a good cutback which was latched onto by John Baird and his first-time shot went high past Clark and into the net off the bar.
Saints then went in search of an immediate response and Matty Kennedy’s shot on 17 minutes was well saved by Marc McCallum. Then on 19 minutes Kennedy whipped in a good corner from the left which found Tony Watt whose angled shot was pushed away by McCallum.
Saints continued to press and on 24 minutes Watt did well to get away from his man before crossing the ball into the box to Murray Davidson however, the Saints midfielder put his first-time effort well over.
Saints were seeing a lot of the ball however, they were struggling to breakdown a well organised Forfar defence. On 42 minutes David McMillan slipped the ball out wide to Scott Tanser and the left-back whipped a great ball back into the box and Watt rose to plant a good downward header past McCallum from 8 yards to level the match.
Tony Watt thought he had his and Saints second of the game 40 seconds into the second half after a good ball by Wotherspoon was converted by the Saints striker however, the goal was ruled out by the far side linesman as Watt was deemed to have been in an offside position.
On 48 minutes Dylan Easton setup Hilson however, the effort from the Forfar striker lacked power as Clark easily gathered. Then a minute later Clark was called into action again as he palmed away a powerful Thomas Reilly strike.
Play then switched to the other end as on 51 minutes a great through ball by Liam Gordon was latched onto by David McMillan and the striker sent his angled shot past the helpless McCallum to give Saints the lead.
On 62 minutes Saints further extended their lead as Matty Kennedy cut in from the left before unleashed a fantastic effort from about 25 yards that flew high into the top corner of the net giving McCallum no chance for his first goal for the club.
That goal effectively finished the game as a contest as Saints went on to control large spells of the half. On 77 minutes Scott Tanser and Drey Wright linked up well down the left as the latter broke into the box before having a shot which was well saved by McCallum.
With 10 minutes remaining the hosts were awarded a free kick following a foul by Jason Kerr on Dale Hilson. However, Gary Fraser’s effort was straight at the Saints wall and the follow-up ball into the box was gathered by Clark.
Saints went on the attack again and came very close to a fourth as on 81 minutes Watt slipped the ball to Richard Foster whose ball across the face of the Forfar goal found the unmarked Wright however, the midfielder’s effort crashed off the bar. Then shortly after a Wright corner picked out Gordon who couldn’t get his header on target.
As the match headed towards added on time Saints continued to press for a fourth goal as a Stefan Scougall corner from the left broke to Davidson whose effort hit the post before being turned behind for another corner. Overall, it was a good win for Saints which sees them win Group B and progress to the next round. All eyes will now be on tomorrow’s draw to see who Saints will face in the next round.
Forfar Athletic: McCallum, Meechan, Bain (Clark 85), Malone (Kelly 63), Travis, Reilly, Fraser, MacKintosh, Hilson, Easton (Starkey 77), Baird
Unused Substitutes: Muir (GK), Coupe, Allan, Kennedy
Booked: Meechan, Fraser
Scorer: Baird (16)
Saints: Clark, Tanser, Wright (Scougall 85), Davidson, Wotherspoon, Ker, McMillan (McClean 74), Foster, Gordon, Watt, Kennedy (Alston 66)
Unused Substitutes: Mitchell (GK), Anderson, Comrie, Craig
Scorers: Watt (42), McMillan (51), Kennedy (62)
Referee: Gavin Duncan
Match Report by Daryl Scott
Picture: Matty Kennedy scores Saints third goal and his first for the club
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