Ross County 3-3 Saints
24th May 2023
Ryan McGowan scored in the final minute of stoppage time to rescue a point for Saints in Dingwall this evening.
Saints made a slow start to the match but they were soon ahead on 24 minutes thanks to a strike from Stevie May.
May got his and Saints second of the evening from the penalty spot on 51 minutes as he coolly sent Ross Laidlaw the wrong way.
However, The Staggies were given a lifeline when Yan Dhanda converted from the spot on 54 minutes. Jordan White then levelled the match for the hosts on 69 minutes.
It had looked like that the Dingwall side had completed their comeback when Jack Baldwin sent a stunning strike beyond Ross Sinclair in the final minute of the match. However, Saints showed their character as McGowan bundled the ball over the line from close range five minutes into stoppage time after Andy Considine’s header had comeback off the crossbar.
Next up for Saints is their final league game of the season as they welcome Livingston to Perth on Sunday, kick off 3pm.
For the final time this season Saints were on their travels as they made the trip up the A9 to take on Ross County at The Global Energy Stadium. Saints secured their Premiership status at the weekend as they defeated Kilmarnock 1-0 in Ayrshire thanks to a first half header from Liam Gordon. There was one change to the Saints starting eleven this evening as Steven MacLean handed a debut to goalkeeper Ross Sinclair as he came in to replace Remi Matthews. Ross County lost 1-0 to Motherwell at Fir Park on Saturday and manager Malky Mackay made two changes to his starting eleven as Dylan Smith and Simon Murray came in to replace Alex Iacovitti, who missed out due to injury, and Alex Samuel who dropped to the bench.
Yan Dhanda got the match underway for the hosts and The Staggies made a positive start to the match as they looked to strike an early blow. On 8 minutes a Dhanda cross was not dealt with by Andy Considine and Ross Sinclair, who was making his Saints first team debut this evening, punched the ball into the path of Jordan White but Sinclair was out quick to block The Staggies forward.
Saints got their first chance of the match on 14 minutes as a great through ball by Graham Carey played in Stevie May however, Keith Watson got back to block to Saints forward as he turned the ball behind for a corner.
Great vision by Carey on 21 minutes saw him play a brilliant long ball to pick out Drey Wright who had made a great run into the box however, the midfielder couldn’t make a clean connection with the ball as it went behind for a goal kick.
PHOTO: Keeper Ross Sinclair lines up before kick off on his Saints league debut
Saints were coming into the game as they were knocking the ball about well and on 24 minutes they took the lead. Good play by the Perth side saw Wright pick out May at the far side and the forward took the ball down before switching it to his right foot and curled a fine strike from the edge of the box into the net.
Just before the half an hour mark Cammy MacPherson won Saints a free kick in a promising position after he had been fouled by George Harmon. Both MacPherson and Carey stood over the free kick but it was taken by the former who sent an inviting ball into the box which May got on the end of but he couldn’t direct his effort on target. However, play was pulled back as the Saints number seven had been in an offside position.
On 34 minutes County created a couple of good chances to get back into the match as firstly Connor Randall saw his strike brilliantly blocked by Ryan McGowan. The ball then broke to Nohan Kenneh but the Saints defence stood strong as McGowan made another fantastic block to turn the ball behind for a corner.
PHOTO: Stevie May celebrates his first goal
The hosts created another chance just before half time as Dhanda played a corner to Kenneh on the edge of the box and the on-loan Hibs midfielder unleashed a curling strike that went inches over.
County were awarded a free kick in the first minute of the second half after Simon Murray had been fouled by McGowan. Harmon took the free kick and his delivery from the left into the box was met by Jack Baldwin however, the defender couldn’t direct his header on target.
On 49 minutes May came within inches of his and Saints second of the evening as he gathered the ball from James Brown, the forward unleashed a brilliant long range effort which came back off the bar.
However, a minute later Saints were given a great chance to double their lead as they were awarded a penalty. May played a good ball to Adam Montgomery who broke into the box however, he was brought down by Kenneh and Nick Walsh pointed to the spot. May took the penalty and he coolly despatched the ball into the bottom left corner of the net, sending Ross Laidlaw the wrong way, for his and Saints second of the evening.
PHOTO: Stevie May scores from the penalty spot
County though were awarded a penalty of their own on 53 minutes after Cammy Ballantyne had handled the ball in the box. The penalty was taken by Dhanda and he fired the ball high past Sinclair to half the deficit for the Dingwall side.
That goal put a spark back into Ross County and on the hour mark substitute Alex Samuel used his pace to get the better of Brown as he raced in on goal however, Sinclair was out quick to deny the forward.
Saints made a double change on 68 minutes as David Wotherspoon and Dan Phillips came on to replace Cammy MacPherson and Cammy Ballantyne.
A minute later County were level as Watson’s cross from the right picked out Kenneh whose miss-kick played in White who slotted the ball beyond the advancing Sinclair. There was a lengthy wait whilst VAR checked for offside however, The Staggies were delighted when it ruled in their favour.
PHOTO: Dan Phillips and George Harmon
The hosts now had the bit between their teeth and with 13 minutes remaining Jack Baldwin’s long throw in was flicked on by Kenneh and it was met by Dylan Smith but his header was comfortably saved by Sinclair.
Saints steadied the ship and they created a good opportunity to regain the lead on 82 minutes as May played in Wright however, Watson was alert to the danger as he made a great block to turn the ball behind for a corner.
County continued to search for a winner and 2 minutes later Harmon’s cross from the left was met Samuel at the back post but Sinclair made another fine save as he palmed the ball behind for a corner.
Steven MacLean then made another couple of changes as Zak Rudden and Connor McLennan came on to replace Stevie May and Drey Wright.
However, in the final minute of the ninety it had looked like that County had completed their comeback and scored a winner. Baldwin gathered the ball from Harmon before firing a fine strike from the edge of the box across Sinclair and into the far corner of the net.
The hosts didn’t let up and in the fourth minute of stoppage time Samuel used his power to hold off Liam Gordon before getting his effort away however, Sinclair made another good save.
The drama didn’t end there as in the fifth and final minute of stoppage time Saints levelled the match. Wotherspoon’s corner from the left was met by Andy Considine and his header came back off the crossbar and McGowan reacted quickest to the loose ball as he bundled the ball home from close range to rescue a point for Steven MacLean’s men.
PHOTO: Ryan McGowan celebrates his goal
Ross County: Laidlaw, Randall, Baldwin, Dhanda (Tillson 85), Loturi (Cancola 79), Watson, Harmon, Murray (Samuel 56), White, Smith, Kenneh
Unused Substitutes: Munro (GK), Purrington, Sims
Booked: White, Watson
Scorers: Dhanda (54 pen), White (69), Baldwin (90)
Saints: Sinclair, Brown, Considine, Gordon, May (Rudden 86), McGowan, Wright (McLennan 88), MacPherson (Wotherspoon 68), Montgomery, Carey, Ballantyne (Phillips 68)
Unused Substitutes: Wills (GK), Gallacher, Mitchell, Kane, Murphy
Scorers: May (24, 51 pen), McGowan (90+5)
Referee: Nick Walsh
VAR: David Munro
Match Report by Daryl Scott
Picture: Ryan McGowan celebrates his goal with Andy Considine