Saturday 3rd February
Saints lost 1-0 to Hearts at Tynecastle Park this afternoon. Saints enjoyed the better chances in the first half however, they were denied by the impressive Jon McLaughlin in the home goal on several occasions.
The Jambos started the second half brightly and they took the lead 39 seconds into the half when David Milinkovic finished from close range.
Saints then went down to ten men on 62 minutes when David Wotherspoon was sent off after being shown a second yellow card for a foul on Joaquim Adao.
Despite being down to ten men Saints put in a battling performance but they just couldn’t find a way back into the match as Hearts held on to secure the win.
After Monday’s 4-0 win against Albion Rovers in the Scottish Cup at Cliftonhill Saints were back on the road today as they headed for Edinburgh to take on Hearts at Tynecastle Park. Tommy Wright made five changes to the team that started on Monday as Scott Tanser, Steven Anderson, David Wotherspoon, Richard Foster and Matty Willock, who was making his debut after signing on loan from Manchester United this week. They replaced Blair Alston, Kyle McClean, Liam Gordon, Liam Craig and Paul Paton, who had departed the club earlier in the week. Hearts manager Craig Levein made three changes to the side that lost 3-1 to Celtic in midweek as Harry Cochrane, Don Cowie and Ross Callachan all dropped out to be replaced by Joaquim Adao, Steven Naismith and Danny Amankwaa.
Hearts got the match underway and they controlled the opening 5 minutes. However, on 7 minutes Saints were awarded a free kick following a foul on Chris Kane by Christophe Berra. David Wotherspoon took the free kick and his curling effort was tipped around the post by Jon McLaughlin for a corner which came to nothing.
Then on 12 minutes Saints created a great chance to open the scoring as Kane was played through but McLaughlin raced off his line and made a great block to deny the Saints striker. Saints created another chance 5 minutes later as Matty Willock played a great ball forward to Richard Foster who raced onto the ball before crossing it into the box picking out Kane but Kano couldn’t get enough power on his shot as McLaughlin easily gathered.
Saints were playing well and on 20 minutes Connor Randall failed to control the ball in the box and the loose ball was picked up by Scott Tanser who had a shot which was palmed away by the impressive McLaughlin. Then from the rebound Kane saw his effort hit the side netting. Saints were pilling on the pressure as 2 minutes later Tanser sent a deep ball into the box which picked out Kane and he headed the ball back to David Wotherspoon whose half-volley went inches over.
On 25 minutes the home side created a chance as John Souttar went on a good run forward before picking out David Milinkovic who had a shot at goal that was easily gathered by Alan Mannus. Then minutes later Milinkovic turned provider as he found Kyle Lafferty in the box whose header went over Mannus’ goal.
Saints then created a great chance to break the deadlock on 31 minutes when Matty Willock picked out Kane in the box who hit a stunning volley which hit the bar before the ball was knocked behind for a corner. From the corner Wotherspoon’s delivery from the right picked out Jason Kerr whose header was gathered by McLaughlin.
With 9 minutes of the first half remaining a through ball by Joaquim Adao picked out Lafferty who did well to beat the offside trap and he advanced into the Saints box before having a shot at goal that was well saved by Mannus.
Before the second half could get underway Hearts made a change as Michael Smith came on for Connor Randall.
The home side took the lead barely a minute into the second half Hearts took the lead as Danny Amankwaa broke down the left before picking out Lafferty in the box and the striker flicked the ball onto Milinkovic who did well to turn Tanser before slotting the ball into the net.
Saints were reduced for ten men on 62 minutes as David Wotherspoon was sent off as he was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Adao. Spoony had got his first yellow card for persistent fouling.
Saints made a change on 66 minutes as Blair Alston replaced Steven Anderson. Then 2 minutes later Foster went on a good run down the right before crossing the ball into the box which was turned behind for a corner. Alston took the corner and his delivery picked out Kane whose effort was deflected for another corner. This time Alston’s delivery was half cleared by the home defence and the ball eventually broke to Alston and he unleashed a great strike that was palmed behind for another corner by McLaughlin which this time came to nothing.
Saints were awarded a free kick out wide on 82 minutes after Murray Davidson had been fouled by John Souttar, who was booked for the challenge. The free kick was swung into the box but McLaughlin touched the ball behind for a corner. Alston took the corner and his ball into the Hearts box caused all sorts of problems for the home side however, none of the Saints players in the box couldn’t make a proper connection with the ball as Hearts eventually cleared their lines.
Hearts could have wrapped the game up with 3 minutes remaining as Milinkovic was released down the left and he cut back for Lafferty on the edge of the six-yard box but his first-time shot went inches wide.
Despite being down to 10 men Saints were putting in a battling performance and as the match entered 3 minutes of additional time they had one final chance to level the match. A long throw into the box picked out Foster who chested the ball down before having a shot which was saved by McLaughlin as the home side held on to secure the 3 points.
Hearts: McLaughlin, Souttar, Berra, Amankwaa (McDonald 71), Lafferty, Djoum, Milinkovic, Naismith, Randall (Smith 45), Mitchell, Adao (Buaben 65)
Unused Substitutes: Hamilton (GK), Hughes, Irving, Henderson
Booked: Adao, Mitchell, Souttar, Smith
Scorer: Milinkovic (46)
Saints: Mannus, Tanser, Shaughnessy, Anderson (Alston 66), Davidson, Wotherspoon, Kerr, Johnstone (MacLean 77), Foster, Kane, Willock (Craig 74)
Unused Substitutes: Hurst (GK), McClean, Scougall, Watson
Booked: Wotherspoon, Kerr
Referee: Andrew Dallas
Match Report by Daryl Scott
Picture: Chris Kane’s volley hits the bar
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