Kilmarnock 2-0 Saints

Wednesday 7th March

Saints this evening lost 2-0 to Kilmarnock at Rugby Park. After an even opening to the match the home side took the lead on the half hour mark when Kris Boyd converted from the penalty spot after Jordan Jones had been brought down by Aaron Comrie.

Saints then suffered another blow on 42 minutes when defender Jason Kerr was sent off for a last man challenge on Jones.

Killie thought they had double their advantage just before half time when Lee Erwin’s shot hit the post, with Aaron Tshibola's long-range effort from the rebound denied by an offside flag against Boyd. The Killie striker was deemed to have been interfering with Alan Mannus' line of sight.

However, Lee Erwin doubled the home side’s advantage 13 minutes after the restart with Killie comfortably seeing out the rest of the game.

MATCH REPORT

It was a night to forget in Ayrshire for St Johnstone on Wednesday as they were beaten 2-0 by Kilmarnock.

Stalwart Steven Anderson was ruled out through injury, and top scorer Steven MacLean was unable to play on the artificial surface. Scott Tanser returned to the side from injury.

Saints started brightly, with Chris Kane giving the home defence a torrid time, supported by loanee George Williams.

However it was Steve Clarke's men who opened the scoring midway through the first half. Aaron Comrie's tackle on Jordan Jones in the box was adjudged to have been a foul by Willie Collum, despite the right back looking to have made some connection with the ball. Killie captain Kris Boyd stepped up and sent Alan Mannus the wrong way from the spot, firing the Rugby Park club into the lead.

Things went from bad to worse for Tommy Wright's men as Chris Millar was caught in possession in the middle of the park and Jones's surging run came to an end when young centre half Jason Kerr took the winger out 25 yards from goal. Whistler Collum showed a straight red to the former Queen of the South loan man for the lunge, however the club have decided to appeal the decision.

Saints swapped Kane for substitute Liam Gordon to refill the back line shortly after, but Saints were given a let off in injury time as Aaron Tshibola smashed a rebounded into the bottom corner after a strike off the Saints post came back to the on-loan Aston Villa midfielder. However, Collum came to Saints' rescue on this occasion, ruling the strike out for an offside infringement from Boyd. The scorer was adjudged to have been in goalkeeper Mannus's line of sight.

The teams went in at the break with only a goal between them, and Wright switched Williams for Denny Johnstone in a bid to find an equaliser in the second spell.

But there was no leveller for the Perth men and Kilmarnock were able to double their advantage just before the hour mark through Lee Erwin, as the former Leeds striker beat Mannus with a composed strike from inside the area.

The 75 hardy fans who made the journey from Perthshire would not see Saints find the net, and the side's best chance of the second half came to sub Gordon, who leaped highest at a corner, but stopper Jamie MacDonald was able to hold his header.

It would be back to back midweek defeats for Saints and the team will be hoping to bounce back with their first away league win of 2018 on Saturday when they travel to Dundee for a crucial derby fixture.

Saints: Mannus, Comrie, Kerr, Shaughnessy, Tanser, Millar (McClean), Davidson, Alston, Wotherspoon, Williams (Johnstone), Kane (Gordon).

Unused subs: Clark, Craig, Willock, McCann.

Booked: Comrie, McClean.

Sent off: Kerr.

Killie: MacDonald, O'Donnell, Broadfoot, Findlay, Taylor (Simpson), Tshibola, Power, Dicker, Jones (Frizzell), Erwin, Boyd (Brophy).

Unused subs: McKenzie, Boyd, Wilson, Fasan.

Goals: Boyd (30), Erwin (58)

Booked: Broadfoot.

Attendance: 3,807

Referee: Willie Collum

Man of the Match: Murray Davidson

Picture: George Williams in action