St Mirren 0-0 Saints

Wednesday 4th March

Ten-man Saints earned a valuable point on the road this evening in Paisley as they extended their unbeaten league run to six games.

In a match of few chances both sides did hit the woodwork during the second half; St Mirren’s Jamie McGrath seeing his cross evade everyone in the box before hitting the post. Then up the other end a Liam Craig corner picked out Jason Kerr but the Saints captain saw his header crash off the crossbar.

Saints had to see the final 10 minutes out with ten men after Liam Craig picked up a second booking for a foul on Tony Andreu.

This evenings result sees Saints remain in eighth position but they move a point closer to sixth placed Hibs. Next up for Saints is a home game against Livingston on Saturday, kick off 3pm.

MATCH REPORT

Saints returned to league action this evening as they made the trip to Paisley to take on St Mirren at The Simple Digital Arena. Following Sunday’s narrow Scottish Cup defeat to Celtic at McDiarmid Park Tommy Wright made four changes to his starting eleven for this evenings match. Anthony Ralston, Callum Booth, Liam Craig and Chris Kane came in for Liam Gordon, Scott Tanser, Matt Butcher and Callum Hendry. St Mirren also suffered defeat in the Scottish Cup at the weekend as they went down 2-0 at home to Aberdeen. For this evening’s match St Mirren Manager Jim Goodwin made one change to his team as Ross Wallace came in to replace Cammy MacPherson.

It was a dry but cold evening in Paisley as Saints got the match underway.

The first chance of the match fell to the hosts as Alex Jakubiak had a shot at goal which was easily gathered by Zander Clark. St Mirren threatened again on 8 minutes as a corner from Ross Wallace picked out Akin Famewo but his header was well held by Clark.

Play then switched to the other end as a minute later David Wotherspoon delivered a dangerous ball into the box however, play was halted as St Mirren were awarded a free kick following a foul on Calum Waters by Chris Kane at the back post.

On 13 minutes Saints were awarded a free kick after Kane had been fouled. It was taken by Wotherspoon however, he was unable to direct his curling effort on target.

Then 3 minutes later the Buddies came close to breaking the deadlock as Jon Obika saw his shot hit the post and the ball then broke across the front of the Saints goal before the danger was eventually cleared by the defence.

The match then became a midfield battle as both sides cancelled each other out for large spells of the half.

With 10 minutes of the half remaining Saints hit the hosts on a good counter attack as Ali McCann played in Stevie May however, Vaclav Hladký was out quick to deal with the danger. Then a minute later May turned provider as he tried to setup Callum Booth however, the left-back couldn’t make a proper connection with the ball as it went out of play.

Play then switched to the other end as Buddies captain Sam Foley saw his header from a Lee Hodson cross go over Clark’s crossbar.

Then just before half time St Mirren were awarded a free kick after Ilkay Durmus was fouled by Jason Kerr. Wallace took the free kick and his delivery into the Saints box picked out Famewo but he couldn’t direct his header goal wards as Saints cleared the danger.

4 minutes into the second half good build up play by Saints eventually saw Drey Wright setup Anthony Ralston who unleashed an effort at goal which Hladký turned behind for a corner which came to nothing.

On 51 minutes a good move by Jakubiak saw him get away from Jason Kerr before advancing into the Saints box. The on-loan Watford forward then twisted turned before getting his effort away but Clark got down well to smother the ball. 4 minutes later Liam Craig was booked for a foul on Ilkay Durmus.

Just after the hour mark the Buddies were awarded a free kick which was taken by Wallace and the former Celtic man delivered a deep free kick into the Saints box which was met by Obika but the striker put his effort wide from close range.

On 65 minutes Saints made their first change of the evening as Michael O’Halloran came on to replace David Wotherspoon.

The next chance of the match fell to Saints as a deep cross from the right by Drey looked like it would cause problems in the home defence however, Lee Hodson did well to put it behind for a corner from a few yards out. Liam Craig’s delivery from the left was only partly cleared by the hosts as Wright picked up the loose ball but he couldn’t direct his effort on target.

It was looking like that something special was going to have to happen to separate the sides and Jamie McGrath almost came close on 71 minutes as his cross from the left was missed by everyone before hitting the post and bouncing clear.

With 12 minutes remaining Saints put together a good move as Wright broke down the right wing before slipping the ball to Ali McCann. The midfielder then played a great cross to the back post but Hodson again got back to knock the ball behind. From the resultant corner Craig floated a good ball into the box picking out Jason Kerr, who directed a header towards goal, however, his effort came crashing off the crossbar.

The game then change a minute later as Craig was sent off after he picked up a second booking following a challenge on St Mirren substitute Tony Andreu.

That sparked the game into life for the final 10 minutes. A surging run by O’Halloran on 82 minutes saw him break into the St Mirren box but his effort didn’t trouble Hladký. Then shortly after there was a scramble in the home box as Saints tried to snatch a late winner but the Buddies defence were able to clear the danger.

Now with a man advantage St Mirren also sensed that they could get a late winner and Clark made an excellent save with 4 minutes remaining as he tipped a Obika effort behind. Then in the final minute of the ninety McGrath saw his effort from distance go inches wide as Saints saw the match out to earn an important point.

St Mirren: Hladký, Hodson, Waters, McCarthy, Obika, Durmus (Morias 75), Foley, McGrath, Famewo, Jakubiak (Andreu 67), Wallace (Chabbi 84)

Unused Substitutes: Lyness (GK), McAllister, Mullen, MacPherson

Booked: Foley, McGrath

Saints: Clark, Ralston, Booth, Kerr, McCart, Wright, Wotherspoon (O’Halloran 65), McCann, Craig, Kane (Butcher 83), May (Swanson 75)

Unused Substitutes: Parish (GK), Gordon, Tanser, Holt

Booked: Craig, Kerr

Sent Off: Craig

Referee: Euan Anderson

Attendance: 4,287 (346 Saints fans)

Match Report by Daryl Scott

Picture: Jason Kerr heads the ball towards goal