Inverness CT 2-1 Saints (27.8.16)

A stoppage time winner from Inverness' Josh Meekings took the points for the home side just as Saints looked to have earned a draw at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium.

It was a heartbreaker for St. Johnstone who had come back from a goal down - a 59th minute strike from Ross Draper - to equalise through recent signing Richard Foster, who scored against his former club Ross County's Highland rivals.

Tommy Wright's side go into the international break looking ahead to our next match away to Partick Thistle a week on Saturday.

MATCH REPORT

Saints made the trip north today as they looked to get back to winning ways against Inverness CT. Tommy Wright made two changes to the side that started last weekend’s 4-2 defeat to Celtic as Steven Anderson and Chris Kane came in for Brad McKay and Murray Davidson. Caley Thistle manager Richie Foran made three changes to the side that went down 5-1 at Hearts last Saturday as Billy King, Alex Fisher and Lewis Horner came in to replace David Raven, Jake Mulraney and Scott Boden who all dropped to the bench.

The home side got the match underway and they created the first chance on 9 minutes as Greg Tansey floated a free kick into the box which found Ross Draper at the back post however, his header was well saved by Alan Mannus.

Saints first chance in front of goal came on 17 minutes as Brian Easton’s cross into the Caley Thistle box found the head of Steven Anderson whose looping header was gathered by Owain Fon Williams. Inverness CT then went straight up the other end as Liam Polworth saw his powerful strike from distance go wide.

Blair Alston was inches away from connecting with a David Wotherspoon cross on 20 minutes. Then up the other end barely a minute later Mannus was forced to tip an Alex Fisher header over the crossbar.

It was an open game and Saints were next to have a chance on 21 minutes as Danny Swanson did well to evade the challenge from a Caley Thistle defender before setting up Chris Kane who fired over.

With 25 minutes played Polworth got the better of Brian Easton as he broke past the Saints defender before sending a good ball across the face of the Saints goal although luckily for Saints there was no takers as they cleared the danger. Then a minute later Mannus made a great save as he turned a Billy King effort behind for a corner. Shortly after Fisher failed to make a proper connection with a ball into the box as Mannus easily gathered.

Polworth got clear of the Saints defence on 33 minutes however the Caley Thistle midfielder took a heavy touch as Mannus was quick off his line to gather the ball.

Danny Swanson was setup by Blair Alston on 42 minutes and the Saints midfielder looked to jink his way into the box before having a shot however, he was denied by the retreating Gary Warren who cleared the danger.

Saints made a change at the start of the second half as Murray Davidson replaced Blair Alston.

The first chance of the second half fell to the home side as Fisher got a lucky break of the ball as he broke forward away from Joe Shaughnessy before cutting in from the right and curling a shot inches over.

On 51 minutes Steven Maclean and Richard Foster tried to play a neat one-two as they advanced into the box however, Caley Thistle defender Josh Meekings did well to cut out the return from Foster to Maclean to clear the danger.

Caley Thistle took the lead on 59 minutes as they were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box following a late challenge by Wotherspoon on King for which he was booked. The free kick was taken by Tansey and his ball into the found Draper who rose to plant a powerful header past Mannus.

Saints came within inches of drawing level on 68 minutes as Swanson fed the ball into the path of the advancing Easton and he delivered a good ball into the box which was cleared as far as Murray Davidson whose header went just past Fon Williams’ left hand post.

Saints continued to look for a way back into the match and a MacLean cross on 78 minutes found substitute Graham Cummins however, he couldn’t get enough power on his header as Fon Williams easily gathered. Then a minute later Saints were level as MacLean setup Richard Foster who blasted an absolute screamer into the top left-hand corner. It was some strike for his first goal for the club!

With both teams now looking for a second goal which would have surely won the match Joe Shaughnessy did well on 87 minutes to cut out a Jake Mulraney cross with Lonsana Doumbouya looking to get on the end of it. Then with a minute of normal time remaining Mannus made a great save to deny Draper.

As the match entered 4 minutes of stoppage time Caley Thistle regained the lead as Josh Meekings bundled the ball home following a goal mouth scramble.

Caley could have got a third in the third minute of stoppage time as Saints pressed forward they were hit on the break and the ball was slipped to Mulraney who blasted well wide.

Man of the Match: Alan Mannus

Inverness CT: Fon Williams, Tremarco, Warren, Meekings, Polworth, Draper, Vigurs (Boden 84), Tansey, Horner, Fisher (Doumbouya 82), King (Mulraney 85) Unused Substitutes: Esson (GK), Raven, Doran, Sutherland Booked: Draper Scorers: Draper (59), Meekings (90)

Saints: Mannus, Alston (Davidson, 45), Anderson, Maclean, Wotherspoon, Swanson, Shaughnessy, Paton (Craig 67), Foster, Easton, Kane (Cummins 63) Unused Substitutes: Clark (GK), Millar, Coulson, Gordon Booked: Wotherspoon Scorers: Foster (79)

Referee: Stephen Finnie Attendance: 2,729

Match Report by Daryl Scott