Kilmarnock 2-0 Saints

Saturday 4th August

Saints suffered an opening day 2-0 defeat to Kilmarnock this afternoon at Rugby Park as the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership got underway.

The first half was very much a midfield battle with their little in the way of goal scoring opportunities created for either side.

Then on 58 minutes the hosts took the lead as Zander Clark failed to hold a tame Lee Erwin shot and the ball broke to Scott Boyd who slotted home from close range.

Saints tried to rally however, Killie sealed the win with 5 minutes remaining courtesy of a stunning Mikael Ndjoli strike.

MATCH REPORT

Saints got their Ladbrokes Premiership season underway today with a trip to take on Steve Clarke’s Kilmarnock at Rugby Park. Tommy Wright made two changes to the team that defeated Forfar Athletic 3-1 last Saturday in the Betfred Cup as Steven Anderson and Aaron Comrie came into the starting line-up. They replaced David McMillan, who dropped to the bench, and the suspended Richard Foster. Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke also made two changes to his starting line-up that defeated Queen’s Park 2-0 at Rugby Park last Saturday. Out went Mikael Ndjoli and Eamonn Brophy who both dropped to the bench to be replaced by Jordan Jones and Lee Erwin.

Saints got the match underway in the lovely summer sunshine and it was Saints who created the first chance of the match after 3 minutes. A ball into the box was chested down by Liam Gordon to Steven Anderson whose first-time effort didn’t trouble Jamie Macdonald on the Killie goal.

The match was very much a midfield battle with there being little in the way of goalmouth action.

On 20 minutes Stephen O’Donnell showed good skill to slip the ball past Scott Tanser before breaking into the Saints box. The Killie man then looked to cut the ball back however, Tanser was able to get a touch on the ball to take the sting out of it as Clark gathered.

Then 5 minutes later Saints were awarded a free kick after Matty Kennedy had been fouled by Alan Power. The free kick was taken by David Wotherspoon, who was captain today, however, his effort was straight at Macdonald.

Just after the half hour mark a Lee Erwin effort was well held by Clark. Then on 33 minutes Clark was called into action again this time tipping an Alan Power effort over for a corner which was comfortably cleared by the Saints defence.

3 minutes into the second half Kilmarnock created a chance as Jordan Jones skipped past Aaron Comrie before cutting inside and unleashed a strike but it didn’t trouble Clark. Then a minute later Jones was at it again this time his stinging strike was palmed away by Clark.

The home side were awarded for their positive start to the second half as they took the lead on 58 minutes. A Burke free kick picked out Erwin and his scuffed shot was fumbled by Clark and Scott Boyd was on hand to tap home from close range to put Killie one up.

Saints made their first change of the game on 66 minutes as David McMillan came on for David Wotherspoon and it was not long until the striker was involved in the action as on 71 minutes he saw his header from a Drey Wright corner saved by Macdonald. Then a minute later Macdonald was called into action again, this time saving a Wright shot.

Killie survived that wee rally by Saints and then went onto dominate the closing proceedings. On 77 minutes a curling Burke strike was palmed away by Clark. Then with 6 minutes remaining a stunning strike by Jordan Jones crashed off the bar with Clark beaten.

The Ayrshire side sealed the victory with 5 minutes remaining as substitute Mikael Ndjoli advanced forward unchallenged before unleashing a stunning shot into the top corner of the net from just outside the box.

Then in the closing stages both Eamonn Brophy and Gary Dicker had chances to add to the score line for the hosts however, neither could take advantage of their opportunity. Overall a very disappointing opening day for Saints.

Kilmarnock: Macdonald, O'Donnell, Broadfoot, S. Boyd, Taylor, Power, Dicker, Jones, Burke (Wilson 78), Erwin (Ndjoli 74), K. Boyd (Brophy 85)

Unused Substitutes: Mackay (GK), Waters, Kiltie, Thomas

Booked: Burke

Scorers: S. Boyd (58), Ndjoli (85)

Saints: Clark, Tanser, Anderson, Wright, Davidson, Wotherspoon (McMillan 66), Comrie, Kerr (Craig 76), Gordon, Watt, Kennedy (Scougall 81)

Unused Substitutes: Mitchell (GK), Alston, McCann, McClean

Booked: Wotherspoon, Comrie, Anderson

Referee: John Beaton

Attendance: 4,644 (389 Saints fans)

Match Report by Daryl Scott

Picture: David Wotherspoon in action. Photo by Martin Hawkins