Saints 2-2 Hearts

Matty Kennedy's second half penalty secured a point and extended Saints' unbeaten run to seven matches.

Hearts had gone into the break with a 2-1 lead thanks to goals from Djoum and Bozanic either side of Blair Alston's equaliser.

Neither side could find a winner in the end and the result keeps Saints fifth in the table two points behind the Jambos.


MATCH REPORT

It was a cold and damp Wednesday night at McDiarmid Park as Saints welcomed Hearts to Perth in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

In-form Saints struggled to get going in the early stages and after just five minutes the visitors found themselves a goal in front putting an end to Zander Clark's impressive clean sheet record.

Michael Smith found space down the right flank and crossed for Arnaud Djoum who headed the ball past Clark to put Hearts ahead.

The goal seemed to ignite a response from Saints and Tommy Wright's men started to put their opponents under pressure.

And they came close to an equaliser just five minutes after Djoum's goal. Tony Watt did brilliantly down the right before drilling a cross towards Matty Kennedy.

Kennedy miscontrolled the ball but it spun into the path of Scott Tanser however the left-back's effort went narrowly past Zlamal's post.

Saints continued to push and the equaliser came after 21 minutes through Blair Alston who was making his return to the starting line-up in place of the injured Drey Wright.

David Wotherspoon produced a nice bit of play on the left flank before crossing and putting the ball on a plate for Alston who guided a cushioned volley past Zlamal into the bottom corner.

And he nearly had a second just minutes later when Kennedy put him through on goal but his effort was palmed away by the Hearts number one. The ball was fired back into danger by Wotherspoon but Zlamal was able to comfortably hold on to Tony Watt's header.

Saints looked to have settled into the game well but just before the break it was the visitors who would find the net and regain the lead.

Much to the manager's disappointment his players conceded from a set play just as they had done at Tynecastle earlier in the season. Olly Lee's free-kick into the area found Bozanic and the midfielder made no mistake as he nodded past Clark to make it 2-1 at half-time.

Tommy Wright was forced into a change at the interval with Scott Tanser being replaced by Liam Gordon. The substitution saw Richard Foster switch to the left-back position with skipper Joe Shaughnessy moving out to the right.

Saints had the better of the early stages after the break without creating much in the way of chances. The best of the early second half opportunities came when Liam Gordon won a corner on 48 minutes but Joe Shaughnessy headed over from the resulting delivery.

There was a thought that Saints should have had a penalty after Peter Haring was booked for grappling in the box but the referee had deemed this happened before the corner kick had been taken.

Wotherspoon was carded for a foul on Djoum on 55 minutes while Clare was cautioned for Hearts after a clumsy challenge on Shaughnessy as the foul count started to rise.

Despite turning down the earlier penalty shout, the referee did award Saints a spotkick after 69 minutes when Haring was adjudged to have fouled Liam Gordon inside the area.

Matty Kennedy stepped up to take it and confidently struck the ball past Zlamal to level the scores at 2-2.

The goal gave the home side a boost and Kennedy almost bagged a second just minutes later when he pulled off another quality run from the right hand side driving into the box but his effort was well saved by Zlamal.

The game began to wind down in the latter stages with Tony Watt making way for David McMillan in the final ten minutes and Steven MacLean coming off the bench to applause from both sets of supporters in the final few minutes.

Referee Dallas brought an end to proceedings and the draw extends Saints' unbeaten run to seven matches with Aberdeen next up on Saturday afternoon at Pittodrie.


SAINTS: Clark, Foster, Tanser (Gordon 45), Shaughnessy (c), Kerr, Alston (Kane 66), Wotherspoon, Craig, Davidson, Kennedy, Watt (McMillan 83).

UNUSED SUBS: Hurst, Nydam, Scougall, Callachan.

SCORERS: Blair Alston (21), Matty Kennedy (69)

BOOKINGS: David Wotherspoon (54), Liam Craig (79), Richard Foster (90)


HEARTS: Zlamal, Smith, Haring, Berra (c), Bozanic, Lee (Morrison 80), Clare (MacLean 90), Djoum, Mitchell (Godinho 77), Wighton, Dikamona

UNUSED SUBS: Doyle, Hughes,

SCORERS: Arnaud Djoum (5), Oliver Bozanic (41)

BOOKINGS: Peter Haring (48), Sean Clare (61), Christophe Berra (86)