Saturday 27th July
Saints ended their Betfred Cup campaign with a 2-1 defeat to Forfar Athletic at a sunny Station Park this afternoon.
The Loons took an early lead as former Hearts midfielder Callum Tapping converted a Ross Forbes cross at the back post after 2 minutes.
Jim Weir’s men put themselves into a commanding position on 53 minutes as they doubled their advantage courtesy of a Ross Forbes free kick.
Matty Kennedy pulled a goal back for Saints on 65 minutes as he reacted quickest to head the ball home after Forfar keeper Marc McCallum could only parry a Ross Callachan effort.
However, Saints couldn’t find an equaliser as Forfar saw the game out to secure the win that sees them progress to the last 16 along with group winners Ross County.
Next up for Saints is a trip to the east end of Glasgow to take on Celtic for their first league game of the season next Saturday.
Saints made the trip to Angus today to take on League One side Forfar Athletic in their final group game of the Betfred Cup. Tommy Wright made five changes to the team that started the 4-0 win on Wednesday evening against Brechin City at McDiarmid Park. Out went Zander Clark, Richard Foster, Murray Davidson, Chris Kane and Michael O’Halloran to be replaced by Elliot Parish, Madis Vihmann, who was making his debut after joining on-loan from Flora Tallin yesterday, Ali McCann, Callum Hendry and Liam Craig. Forfar Athletic, who are managed by former Saints captain and hall of famer Jim Weir, also made five changes to the team that started the 2-0 defeat at Ross County in midweek. Mark Docherty, Jamie Bain, Connor Coupe, Scott Robertson and Murray Mackintosh all dropped out to be replaced by Sean Burns, Jordan Kirkpatrick, Gary Irvine, Dale Hilson and Michael Travis.
It was a lovely afternoon at Station Park as the hosts got the game underway and they were ahead within 2 minutes. A deep cross from the right by Ross Forbes picked out Callum Tapping at the back post who got to the ball before Wallace Duffy to knock it past Parish to give the League One side an early lead.
Then on 4 minutes Forfar threatened again as a corner delivered from the right by Forbes picked out Michael Travis who headed over.
On 15 minutes Matty Kennedy cut from the right before unleashing a left-footed strike from 22 yards which was well held by Marc McCallum in the Forfar goal.
Saints continued to push for the equaliser but were being restricted to long range efforts by a well organised Forfar defence. On 24 minutes Kyle McClean saw his effort deflected for a corner which was well defended by the Loons. Then on the half an hour mark Callum Hendry had a shot from distance that didn’t trouble McCallum.
On 34 minutes Parish had to be alert as he gathered a Forbes volley as the hosts looked to double their advantage.
With 5 minutes of the first half remaining good build-up play by Saints saw Danny Swanson slip the ball into Hendry and the young Saints striker laid it back to Scott Tanser however, the left-back was unable to get his powerful strike on target.
Before the second half got underway Saints made a change as Ross Callachan came on for Scott Tanser.
5 minutes into the second half Forfar were awarded a free kick following a foul by Hendry on Sean Burns. It was taken by Jordan Kirkpatrick who sent a powerful delivery into the Saints box which Travis was inches away from making a connection with. Then 2 minutes later The Loons got another free kick in an inviting position after former Saints player Andy Jackson was fouled by Liam Craig. This time the free kick was taken by Forbes and the former Motherwell midfielder sent a great curling left-footed effort past Parish and into the top left-hand corner to double Forfar’s advantage.
That setback saw Saints make a change as David McMillian came on for Kyle McClean as Tommy Wright looked to get his team back into the match.
However, Jim Weir’s men sensed that they could further extend their advantage and on 63 minutes Kirkpatrick saw his effort punched clear by Parish.
Saints though did pull a goal back on 65 minutes as McCallum could only parry a shot from the edge of the box from Callachan and Matty Kennedy was on hand as he reacted well to head home from close range to give Saints a lifeline.
5 minutes later Saints were awarded a free kick just outside the box following a foul on Kennedy by Burns. It was the Saints midfielder who took the free kick himself but his strike took a deflection off the Forfar wall before being gathered by McCallum.
Play very quickly switched to the other end as The Loons were awarded a free kick which was taken by Kirkpatrick but Parish was equal to his effort as he comfortably gathered the ball.
Former Saints player Gary Irvine was the first player in referee Euan Anderson’s book with 10 minutes of the match remaining as he was shown a yellow card for hauling back Saints substitute David McMillan.
The hosts were causing Saints problems and they were awarded another free kick on 84 minutes which was taken by Dale Hilson however, his powerful effort was well saved by Parish. The Forfar midfielder then got another chance 2 minutes later as he did well to get in behind Jason Kerr before having a shot from a tight angle which was turned for a corner by the Saints keeper.
The closing stages saw Saints push forward for an equaliser however, they couldn’t do enough to salvage anything from the game as Forfar secured the win to progress from the group as one of the best group runners-up behind group winners Ross County.
Forfar Athletic: McCallum, Meechan, Burns, Whyte, Travis, Tapping, Hilson, Irvine (Robertson 84), Jackson (Aitken 87), Forbes (Coupe 73), Kirkpatrick
Unused Substitutes: McGuff (GK), Docherty, Mackintosh
Scorers: Tapping (2), Forbes (53)
Saints: Parish, Duffy, Tanser (Callachan 45), Vihmann, Swanson (Northcott 71), Kerr, McCann, McClean (McMillian 57), Hendry, Craig, Kennedy
Unused Substitutes: Clark (GK), Davidson, O’Halloran, Foster
Scorer: Kennedy (65)
Referee: Euan Anderson
Match Report by Daryl Scott
Picture: Ali McCann gets between former Saints players Gary Irvine and Andy Jackson
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