Saturday 14th November 2020
Saints won the winner-takes-all clash against Peterhead this afternoon to finish top of Group C in the Betfred Cup to progress to the next round of the competition.
Saints best chance of the first half came on 35 minutes when Craig Conway saw his free kick from a tight angle go the wrong side of the post with Shaun Rooney inches away from making contact.
4 minutes into the second half Stevie May gave Saints the lead from the penalty spot after the striker had been fouled by Jason Brown. May then doubled Saints advantage on the hour mark with another penalty.
Substitute Chris Kane made it 3-0 on 77 minutes and the hosts got a glimmer of hope when they pulled a goal back a minute later as Shaun Rooney put the ball in his own net.
However, Saints would see the game out to secure the 3 points that sees them win Group C. They now go into tomorrow’s last sixteen draw which will take place after the Hibernian vs. Dundee match.
Next up for Saints is a home game against Motherwell next weekend, kick off 3pm.
For their final Betfred Cup Group C game Saints headed to the north east today for their first competitive game against Peterhead at Balmoor Stadium. After dropping points on Tuesday evening against Dundee United Callum Davidson made six changes to his steam for this afternoon’s game. Out went Liam Gordon, David Wotherspoon, Craig Bryson, Callum Hendry, Chris Kane and Scott Tanser and they were replaced by Jamie McCart, Michael O’Halloran, Murray Davidson, Craig Conway, Stevie May and Guy Melamed, who was making his Saints debut after joining the club last month. Peterhead won 5-3 on penalties against Kelty Hearts following a 1-1 draw on Tuesday evening. Manager Jim McInally made two changes to his starting eleven for this afternoon’s game as Lyall Cameron and Alan Cook dropped out to be replaced by Simon Ferry and Steven Boyd.
Peterhead got the match underway but it was Saints who would create the first chance of the game on 6 minutes. Guy Melamed sent a great through ball to Michael O’Halloran who then burst forward before cutting the ball back across goal but his cross was turned behind for a corner by Simon Ferry.
Despite the blustery conditions Saints were enjoying the majority of possession during the early stages of the first half and on 20 minutes a great through ball by Melamed set Stevie May free and he tried to cut it back to Craig Conway but Lenny Wilson in the home goal was alert to the danger and gathered the ball.
Peterhead, who are currently eighth in League One, were awarded a free kick in an inviting position on 25 minutes after Steven Boyd had been fouled by Jason Kerr. Gary Fraser took the free kick however, the midfielder’s effort didn’t trouble Zander Clark.
Just before the half an hour mark Melamed setup Conway and he created space for himself before unleashing a 25 yard effort however, his powerful strike went sailing out the ground.
Peterhead then suffered a setback as Alan Cook had to come on to replace Ben Armour who had picked up an injury.
Then with 10 minutes of the first half remaining Saints almost took the lead as they were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box after Kerr had been fouled by former Saints player Scott Brown. Conway took the free kick and he whipped it into the box from a tight angle and it almost fell perfectly for Shaun Rooney but the defender couldn’t get a touch on the ball.
On 38 minutes The Blue Toon came close to taking the lead themselves as Ryan Conroy’s corner from the right picked out Kyle Bailey but the defender saw his header go narrowly wide.
The first booking of the match came just before half time as Scott Brown ended up in Euan Anderson’s book for a foul on Murray Davidson.
3 minutes into the second half Saints were awarded a penalty as May had been brought down in the box by Jason Brown following a Liam Craig corner and the defender was subsequently booked for the foul. May got up and dusted himself down before calmly converting the penalty to give Saints the lead.
Despite being a goal down Jim McInally’s side were creating chances and on 55 minutes they came close to an equaliser as a header from Scott Brown hit the post.
On the hour mark Saints were awarded a second penalty as May was brought down in the box by Kieran Freeman. Again, May stepped up to take the spot kick and he sent it low into the left corner to double Saints advantage.
Saints then made a double change as Craig Bryson and Callum Hendry came on to replace Craig Conway and Guy Melamed.
Saints made another change on 73 minutes as Chris Kane came on for May and the striker would make an immediate impact as he scored Saints third of the afternoon shortly after coming on. After some determined midfield play by Saints which saw Murray Davidson win the ball from Andrew McCarthy. The midfielder passed the ball to Hendry who slipped it into the path of Kane and the substitute lashed home a great left footed strike.
However, the hosts pulled a goal back a minute later as a ball into the Saints box was put into his own net by Rooney under pressure from substitute Derek Lyle.
On 81 minutes Callum Booth went on a great surging run down the left before unleashing a strike that fizzed narrowly wide of Wilson’s left-hand post. Then 4 minutes later Hendry broke into the Peterhead box but his effort was turned behind for a corner by Wilson.
Then with a minute of normal time remaining Scott Brown had a shot from the edge of the box which went wide of Clark’s left-hand post as Saints saw the final minutes to secure the 3 points and win Group C. They will now look forward to see who they get in the last 16 when the draw is made tomorrow afternoon.
Peterhead: Wilson, Freeman, Bailey, J. Brown (Lyle 63), Conroy, S. Brown, Ferry, McCarthy, Fraser (Cameron 68), Boyd, Armour (Cook 29)
Unused Substitutes: Kesson, Bakar
Booked: S. Brown, J. Brown, Boyd
Scorer: Rooney (78 og)
Saints: Clark, Rooney, Kerr, McCart, O’Halloran, Davidson, Craig, Booth, Conway (Bryson 61), May (Kane 73), Melamed (Hendry 61)
Unused Substitutes: Parish (GK), Tanser, Gordon, Wotherspoon, Ferguson
Scorers: May (49 pen, 60 pen), Kane (77)
Referee: Euan Anderson
Match Report by Daryl Scott
Picture: Chris Kane scores Saints third goal of the afternoon
©Copyright 2016 - all rights reserved by St Johnstone Football Club
Registered in Scotland 7629
Unless otherwise stated all photographs on this site are ©Perthshire Picture Agency and may not be used without permission.