Tuesday 16th July
Saints got their Betfred Cup campaign underway this evening with a 1-0 defeat to Stewart Petrie’s Montrose at Links Park.
The only goal of the game came midway through the second half as Terry Masson smashed a fantastic curling effort into the top corner of the net that gave Elliot Parish no chance.
Saints will now look regroup as they welcome Ross County to Perth on Sunday afternoon for their second Group B match, kick off 3pm.
The competitive action got underway for Saints this evening as they travelled to Montrose for a Betfred Cup tie. Saints came into the match with Matty Kennedy, Drey Wright, Liam Gordon, Chris Kane and David Wotherspoon all missing due to injury whilst Zander Clark, Liam Craig and Steven Anderson were only fit enough for the bench. However, Summer signings Elliot Parish and Wallace Duffy both started as they made their competitive debuts at a sun-drenched Links Park.
Ali McCann got the match underway and it was the hosts who created the first chance of the evening as they were awarded an early free kick after 2 minutes. It was taken by Lewis Milne however, his effort from 25 yards went wide of the target.
On 13 minutes Callum Hendry took advantage of a poor pass as he picked up the ball and broke into the box before passing it to Danny Swanson. The Saints attacker then jinked his way past a Montrose defender and looked like he was in on goal however, veteran defender Sean Dillion got back to make an excellent block just as Danny was about to pull the trigger.
Saints were awarded a free kick out wide on the left on 21 minutes after Michael O’Halloran had been fouled by Matty Allan. Ross Callachan took the free kick and he delivered a great ball into the box which Callum Hendry was inches away from making a connection with as the ball went inches past the post.
Montrose were putting in a battling performance and on 26 minutes Russell McLean did well to beat Jason Kerr. The striker then advanced into the Saints box but Wallace Duffy got back to cover and made a great block as the ball was eventually put behind for a corner which came to nothing.
Just before the half an hour mark Hendry setup McCann who had a shot at goal but it was easily held by Allan Fleming in the Montrose goal. Play then quickly switched to the other end as Paul Watson had a shot from outside the box which didn’t trouble Parish as it went wide of his left-hand post.
Saints started the second half brightly and 5 minutes into the half O’Halloran went on a good run before unleashing a strike from the edge of the area but it was straight at Fleming who easily gathered. Then on 56 minutes Saints broke forward through Hendry. The young striker passed the ball to Swanson and he setup McCann but Dillion got back to deflect the shot behind for a corner. Callachan took the corner and his delivery picked out Duffy but the defender couldn’t get his header on target.
On 61 minutes Parish was called into action as he made a great fingertip save to turn an angled Watson effort behind for a corner which was comfortably cleared by the Saints defence.
Saints continued to press for the opener, with O’Halloran in particular going on some surging runs forward, but the League One side were defending well.
The opener did eventually come on 72 minutes but it was the hosts who took the lead. Substitute Blair Lyons took advantage of a slip by Duffy and the former University of Stirling striker then cut the ball back to Terry Masson who curled a great effort past Parish and into the top corner of the net.
2 minutes later Saints were appealing for a penalty as Kyle McClean went down in the box under the challenge from Dillion but referee Barry Cook booked the Saints midfielder for simulation. Saints then made a change as David McMillan was brought on for Ross Callachan as Tommy Wright looked to find a way back into the match.
The Gable Endies nearly doubled their advantage on 82 minutes as Josh Skelly did well to bring the ball down before unleashing a strike from just outside the box however, it didn’t trouble Parish in the Saints goal.
As the clocked ticked down Saints were awarded a free kick following a foul on Murray Davidson. It was taken by Scott Tanser whose delivery picked out Jason Kerr, but the header from the Saints captain was well held by Fleming.
Saints continued to press and deep into stoppage time O’Halloran cut in from the byline and slipped the ball to McMillan but Fleming made a fantastic save from close range to deny the Saints striker and ensure that Montrose got all 3 points.
Montrose: Fleming, Ballantyne, Steeves, Dillon, Watson (Callaghan 71), Allan, Masson, Cregg, Rennie (Lyons 57), McLean (Skelly 71), Milne
Unused Substitutes: Lennox (GK), Webster
Scorer: Masson (72)
Saints: Parish, Duffy, Tanser, Callachan (McMillan 75), Davidson, Swanson (McClean 68), Kerr, O’Halloran, McCann, Foster, Hendry
Unused Substitutes: Clark (GK), Anderson, Craig, Ballantyne, Northcott
Referee: Barry Cook
Match Report by Daryl Scott
Picture: Michael O’Halloran is brought down by Paddy Cregg and Lewis Milne
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