Saints under 20s headed into Tuesday’s clash with Turriff United looking to go one better than the draw they managed with the Highland side in preseason to progress to the second round of the Irn Bru Challenge Cup in their first competitive match of the season.
Turriff kicked off, shooting into the Ormond Stand, and they fashioned the first chance after 13 minutes, when Booth crossed in from the right and Kieczkowski just failed to connect at the back post. An early scare for the youngsters.
But Saints bounced back and took the lead on 18 minutes as Connor McLaren weaved his way through the Turriff ranks and threaded it through to Hurst who slotted home with composure. 1-0.
Hurst almost doubled his tally after half an hour, linking up again with McLaren, but the former Stirling Albion attacker couldn’t connect with the cross.
Saints had a penalty cry turned down with five minutes of the half remaining as Hurst was felled in the box amidst a tangle of Turriff bodies, but his appeales were ignored by referee Fordyce.
Davidson curled a late free kick over as Turriff maintained a fair share of possession, but struggled to test McKenzie in the Saints goal.
And the first half finished with Saints a goal up thanks to the ever-dangerous Greg Hurst, and Saints would go into the second half looking to hold onto their lead and clean sheet.
Turriff made one switch at half time, bringing on Cameron Booth for Alan MacKenzie.
Saints got the second period underway, and after some brilliant one touch football down the right flank, Docherty played in Hurst whose effort beat both post and keeper as the visitors looked on.
McLaren then came close, latching onto the end of a quick counter attack but the winger dragged his cross wide.
But substitute Cameron Booth made an immediate impact by heading in an early Turriff corner to equalise for the Highland side. 1-1.
Saints first switch came on 55 minutes as Joe Johnson replaced Jardine.
Nowosieski tried his luck from 20 yards on the hour mark, but failed to challenge McKenzie as his effort dipped onto the roof of the net.
Substitute Johnson found himself running for a bouncing ball, and was unlucky to see keeper Main edge him to the ball before he could strike beyond the onrushing stopper.
Johnson again came close, latching onto a loose ball before shooting from 20 yards, but the midfielder’s shot was deflected over for a corner.
Nowosieski had a rasping volley disallowed with 20 minutes to go, but the linesman ruled his effort out for taking a nick of a Turriff player in an offside position.
Turriff then brought on Walker for Kieczkowski and Chalmers for Nowosieski in an attempt to get a late winner.
Walker almost made a quick impact as he turned to face McKenzie, but the substitute’s low driven strike spun wide.
Saints brought on winger O’Reilly with just under 10 minutes of regular time remaining for Docherty as extra time loomed.
As the game reached it’s dying embers, it didn’t fizzle out as Ciaran Brian headed a crashing effort off the crossbar, inches from a late winner.
But it was Turriff who found the net in the 86th minute, as David Booth volleyed beyond McKenzie from inside the box to give the Highland side the lead.
And it finished at that, with the visitors going through thanks to a late winner and the young Saints side bowing out despite a strong performance. FT: St Johnstone under 20s 1-2 Turriff United.
Saints: McKenzie, Lumsden, Thomson, McCann, Comrie, Brian, McLaren, Jardine (Johnson, 55), Hurst, Docherty (O’Reilly, 82), Simpson. Unused subs: Sinclair, Donald, Ballantyne, Struthers, McKenzie.
Goals: Hurst (18)
Turriff Utd: Main, Davidson, Herd, Wood, Bowden, Allan, Nowosieski (Chalmers, 71), Young, Kieczkowski (Walker, 71), D Booth, MacKenzie (C Booth, 46). Unused subs: Moir, Mair, Smith, Sherman.
Goals: C Booth (50), D Booth (86)
Referee: Fordyce Man of the Match: Greg Hurst
Match report by Ross Gardiner.
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