St. Mirren 0-1 Saints

Wednesday 26th December

A late Tony Watt header saw Saints seal all three points against St Mirren at the Simple Digital Arena this afternoon.

It was a tight first half, in which Saints lost Murray Davidson due to injury, as both sides cancelled each other out for large spells.

The second half was a much more open affair as both sides tried to break the deadlock although it was Saints who created the better of those chances. After substitute Chris Kane had missed from close range it had looked like the match would end in a draw however, with a minute to go Scott Tanser’s excellent cross into the box was headed home by Watt from inside the six yard box to seal the win for the Perth Saints.

Today’s win moves Saints back up to sixth place in the league with 31 points. Next up for Saints is a trip to Dundee on Saturday for their final game for 2018 before the winter break.

MATCH REPORT

It was a Boxing Day battle of the Saints in Paisley this afternoon as Saints looked to return to winning ways after back-to-back defeats to Motherwell and Rangers against St Mirren. Tommy Wright made two changes to the side that suffered a late defeat to Rangers on Sunday. Both Ross Callachan and David Wotherspoon dropped to the bench to be replaced by Danny Swanson and Tony Watt. St Mirren manager Oran Kearney also made two changes to the starting eleven that defeated Motherwell 1-0 at Fir Park on Saturday as Adam Hammill and Cammy Smith came in for Ryan Edwards and Cody Cooke.

It was the Paisley Saints who got the game underway at the Simple Digital Arena and they were awarded a free kick in a promising position after 3 minutes following a foul on Adam Hammill by Ricard Foster. Hammill took the free kick himself but his powerful delivery evaded everyone in the box as the ball went behind for a goal kick.

Saints then started to apply a bit of pressure and on 5 minutes Tony Watt saw his header go just wide of Dean Lyness’s goal.

The hosts were awarded another free kick on 10 minutes after Lee Hodson had been fouled by Foster. From the free kick Hammill’s delivery was only cleared as far as Cammy Smith whose effort was well held by Zander Clark.

Saints were forced into a change on 16 minutes as Ross Callachan came on for the injured Murray Davidson. The Saints midfielder suffered the injury after clashing with Stephen McGinn in the Buddies box.

Just before the half an hour mark good interchange between Blair Alston and Tony Watt saw the latter win a corner for Saints. It was taken by Liam Craig and his delivery from the right was only cleared as far as the Saints midfielder who sent another cross into the box but this time it was well gathered by St Mirren keeper Lyness.

The first half was largely an uneventful affair as both teams cancelled each other out for large spells. With 3 minutes of the half remaining Hammill blazed wide for the home side, whilst up the other end Saints got a corner after Foster’s cross had been headed behind. However, Saints couldn’t take advantage as Craig played a short corner to Foster and his cross was cleared before the Buddies were awarded a free kick after a foul by Joe Shaughnessy.

On 51 minutes Saints got a chance to break the deadlock as Callachan picked up a loose clearance by Alfie Jones before unleashing a shot from the edge of the box. However, his effort went wide of the target.

Saints were looking more lively in the opening stages of the second half and on the hour mark they created another chance as Watt saw his effort deflected for a corner which was subsequently punched clear by Lyness.

On 64 minutes a deep cross from the left by Ethan Erhahon picked out the unmarked Paul McGinn at the back post however, Callachan did well to get back to block the shot from the defender. The hosts were having a good spell of pressure and they won another corner 2 minutes later as Smith saw his shot deflected behind.

The second half was proving to be a much more open affair and on 72 minutes Alston and Foster combined well down the right and it was the latter who had a shot at goal which was tipped over by Lyness for a corner which came to nothing.

Saints continued to press and on 77 minutes a Scott Tanser cross into the box was met by Callachan but his header was well held by Lyness. Then 2 minutes later Tanser sent another inviting ball into the box but it was knocked behind for a corner by Erhahon.

With 6 minutes remaining Saints created a great chance to take the lead as following a foul on substitute Chris Kane, Craig played the resultant free kick short to Foster. The right back then delivered a good ball into the box which was headed down by Jason Kerr to Kane who saw his shot go inches past Lyness’s left-hand post.

Saints pressure eventually told and with a minute of normal time remaining they sealed the points with the only goal of the game. Quick-thinking by Wotherspoon saw him take a quick throw-in which picked out Tanser. The Saints left-back then crossed an excellent ball into the box picking out Watt who headed home from close range which sparked wild celebrations among the 483 Saints fans in the North Stand at the other end.

St Mirren: Lyness, P. McGinn, S. McGinn, Smith (Flynn 75), Jackson (Breadner 85), Baird, Jones, Hodson, Ferdinand, Erhahon, Hammill

Unused Substitutes: Rogers (GK), Kirkpatrick, McShane, Edwards, Jamieson

Booked: None

Saints: Clark, Tanser, Alston, Shaughnessy, Davidson (Callachan 16), Swanson (Wotherspoon 69), Kerr, Foster, Craig, Watt, Kennedy (Kane 78)

Unused Substitutes: Hurst (GK), Anderson, McMillan, Gordon

Booked: Callachan

Scorer: Watt (89)

Referee: Kevin Clancy

Attendance: 4,891 (483 Saints fans)

Match Report by Daryl Scott

Picture: Tony Watt scores the only goal of the game