Saturday 5th October
Stevie May netted his first goal since returning to the club as Saints were held to a draw by Ross County in an entertaining game in Dingwall this afternoon.
It was the hosts who took the lead on 10 minutes Joe Chalmers who sent a low, right footed effort beyond Clark.
Saints got a great chance to equalise on 20 minutes from the penalty spot however, Stevie May saw his effort saved by Staggies goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw. May though made amends on 34 minutes as Danny Swanson’s neat flick picked out the striker who dispatched keenly past Laidlaw from 8 yards to level the match.
Saints took the lead on 51 minutes thanks to a great strike by Matty Kennedy however, Blair Spittal’s free kick on 68 minutes ensured a share of the spoils.
Next up for Saints is a trip to Paisley in a fortnight’s time to take on St Mirren.
Saints made the trip up the A9 today to take on Ross County and they went into the match minus Liam Gordon and Liam Craig who were both ruled out while Jason Holt would miss out after picking up a slight knock in midweek. As a result, Tommy Wright made four changes to the side that lost 1-0 to Motherwell last Saturday as Wallace Duffy, David Wotherspoon, Danny Swanson and Matty Kennedy came in to replace Liam Gordon, Drey Wright, Jason Holt and Michael O’Halloran. After getting a point in a goalless draw at Kilmarnock last Saturday County Co-Managers Steven Ferguson and Stuart Kettlewell made one change to their team as Liam Fontaine came in for Ewan Henderson.
It was an overcast afternoon in Dingwall as Saints got the match underway. Tommy Wright’s men made a bright start to the match as they forced a couple of corners in the opening 6 minutes however, the Staggies defence comfortably dealt with the danger.
But on 10 minutes the home side took the lead. Ross Stewart’s cross from the right was perfect for Billy McKay whose header was brilliantly saved by Zander Clark however, Joe Chalmers was quick off the mark as he gathered the loose ball before slotting a low strike past Clark from seven yards.
Saints went in search of a quick response and 5 minutes later David Wotherspoon saw his volley well held by Ross Laidlaw in the home goal.
Then on 20 minutes Saints were given a great chance to get back into the match as they were awarded a penalty following a foul on Danny Swanson by Tom Grivosti. Stevie May stepped up to take the spot kick however his low effort was well held by Laidlaw. Then barley a minute later Laidlaw was called into action this time saving a deflected May effort.
Saints were seeing a lot of the ball and they got themselves back on level terms on 34 minutes as a neat ball into the box by Swanson picked out May, who cleverly cut across the box, and he calmly slotted a low angled strike past Laidlaw and into the far corner of the net. It was May’s first goal for the club since joining on a two-year-deal from Aberdeen in August.
The goal gave Saints confidence as they finished the first half the better of the two sides. As 4 minutes later Matty Kennedy twisted and turned in the box before having a strike at goal which was turned behind for a corner by Laidlaw. Then shortly after Ali McCann saw his shot at goal blocked by a Staggies defender.
The good form by the visitors continued into the second half as Saints started brightly. The first chance of the half fell to McCann whose effort was blocked by the County defence. However, they would be rewarded for their good start to the half as Tommy Wright’s men took the lead on 51 minutes. The ball was played into Kennedy and he advanced forward through the middle of the park before hitting a dipping strike from 25 yards that beat Laidlaw as it went in off the post to spark wild celebrations amongst the Saints support in the Stand behind the goal.
Saints then went in search of a third and on 62 minutes a Swanson corner picked out Wotherspoon however, his effort was well held by Laidlaw. Then a minute later May, Kennedy and Swanson all linked up well however, the effort from Swanson went high over Laidlaw’s goal.
However, Saints would suffer a setback on 68 minutes as Ross County pulled level. Following a foul by Murray Davidson the Staggies were awarded a free kick which was taken by Blair Spittal and he curled his effort from 25 yards in at the near post that gave Clark little chance.
Saints then introduced Chris Kane into the action as he came on to replace Danny Swanson and it wasn’t long until the Saints striker was involved in the action as he had a strike at goal on 75 minutes that went narrowly over Laidlaw’s crossbar.
Both sides were sensing that they could win it and with 12 minutes remaining Kennedy was the next Saints player to have a shot at goal however, Laidlaw turned his effort behind for a corner. Whilst up the other end Michael Gardyne saw his effort deflected behind for a corner.
Saints made their second change of the match on 82 minutes as Madis Vihmann came on for Anthony Ralston. Tommy Wright’s men continued to press in the closing stages as Wallace Duffy saw his long-range effort saved at the second attempt by Laidlaw and then with 6 minutes remaining Kane’s strike was blocked by Richard Foster.
Both sides had great chances to win the match in the 4 minutes of additional time. First up County’s Josh Mullin saw his effort tipped over by Clark. Then from the corner Saints broke as substitute Michael O’Halloran drove forward with the ball before slipping it to Kane who was in on goal however his effort was turned over for a corner in what looked like was a great chance to win it in the final seconds of the match.
Ross County: Laidlaw, Fraser, Fontaine, Gardyne, McKay (Mullin 73), Grivosti (Graham 55), Watson, Foster, Spittal (Draper 77), Chalmers, Stewart
Unused Substitutes: Dixon-Hodge (GK), Spence, Henderson, Paton
Booked: Gardyne, Stewart
Scorers: Chalmers (10), Spittal (68)
Saints: Clark, Duffy, Tanser, Davidson, Wotherspoon, Swanson (Kane 71), May, Kerr, McCann, Ralston (Vihmann 82), Kennedy (O’Halloran 88)
Unused Substitutes: Parish (GK), Callachan, Wright, Booth
Booked: Tanser, Ralston, McCann
Scorers: May (34), Kennedy (51)
Referee: Euan Anderson
Attendance: 4,124 (329 Saints fans)
Match Report by Daryl Scott
Picture: Matty Kennedy scores Saints second 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.