Saints 0-2 Dundee

Saturday 30th December

Saints finished 2017 with a home defeat to Dundee at McDiarmid Park this afternoon.

The visitors took the lead on 3 minutes thanks to a Marcus Haber strike that went through Zander Clark’s legs.

Saints were then reduced to ten men on 22 minutes when Richard Foster was sent off for a high challenge on Paul McGowan.

At the start of the second half Saints changed their shape as they made a double change as Liam Gordon and Brian Easton were introduced replacing Denny Johnstone and Scott Tanser.

Saints were much improved in the second half and they came very close to equalising on 53 minutes. Stefan Scougall’s free kick hit the post and from the rebound Liam Gordon’s effort was pushed over by Elliot Parish in the Dundee goal.

Saints continued to press for the equaliser however, Dundee wrapped the three points up in the 90th minutes thanks to a strike by A-Jay Leitch-Smith.

MATCH REPORT

Saints’ final match of the calendar year saw them face Tayside rivals Dundee at McDiarmid Park. Tommy Wright made 3 changes to the team who drew 1-1 at Ross County midweek bringing Murray Davidson, Blair Alston and Stefan Scougall into the team replacing Chris Millar, Steven MacLean and the suspended Liam Craig.

Saints got the game underway shooting towards the North Stand.

However, Dundee took an early lead on 3 minutes after some neat build up play. A-Jay Leitch-Smith flicked a header onto Marcus Haber who held off Steven Anderson before slipping the ball through Zander Clark’s legs to make it 1-0 to Dundee.

Saints almost replied 2 minutes later when Blair Alston found Denny Johnstone in the box but his attempt was just over the bar.

Saints continued to press and a great free kick whipped in by David Wotherspoon from the left found Steven Anderson in the box but his header was off target and went over the bar for a Dundee goal kick.

On 22 minutes Saints were reduced to ten men as Richard Foster was shown a straight red card for a high tackle on Paul McGowan.

Dundee now tried to use their man advantage and on 43 minutes Haber tested Clark and from the rebound Leitch-Smith got an effort on target but the danger was cleared by the Saints defence.

Saints made 2 changes at half time bringing on Liam Gordon and Brian Easton for Denny Johnstone and Scott Tanser as they changed their shape for the second half by going with 3 at the back.

An absolutely brilliant free kick on 53 minutes from Stefan Scougall from the edge of the penalty area left Dundee keeper Elliot Parish standing but the ball glanced off of the post. The rebound fell to Gordon whose volley was tipped over by Parish.

Shortly after some good play around the Dundee penalty box from Saints saw Murray Davidson’s first time shot picked out of the air by Parish as Saints pressed for an equaliser.

Then on 73 minutes Dundee substitute Faissal El Bakhtaoui’s powerful strike stung the palms of Clark, the resulting corner came to nothing.

El Bakhtaoui was soon involved in the action again 4 minutes later as his long-range effort clipped Clark’s left-hand post before luckily for the home side going out for a goal kick.

Steven MacLean having just come on as a substitute nearly levelled the game with his first touch of the ball on 82 minutes as his header looked a certain goal but Parish made a good save.

On exactly 90 minutes Leitch-Smith made sure that Dundee went home with the 3 points as a misplaced pass from Michael O’Halloran left Saints short at the back. El Bakhtaoui then played the ball into the path of Leitch-Smith, who powered a drive into the corner of the net from 20 yards to make it 2-0 Dundee.

Saints: Clark, Foster, Shaughnessy, Anderson, Tanser (Easton 45), Alston (MacLean 82), Davidson, Wotherspoon, Scougall, O’Halloran, Johnstone (Gordon 45)

Unused Substitutes: Mannus (GK), Millar, McClean, Hendry

Booked: Davidson, Johnstone, Easton, Gordon

Sent Off: Foster

Dundee: Parish, Kerr, Leitch-Smith (Henvey 90), Kamara, Allan (El Bakhtaoui 71), O’Hara, Aurtenetxe, McGowan, Hendry, Haber, Waddell (Etxabeguren 61)

Unused Substitutes: Ferrie (GK), Holt, Curran, Lambert

Booked: Waddell, Leitch-Smith

Scorers: Haber (3), Leitch-Smith (90)

Referee: William Collum

Attendance: 4,769

Match report by Hannah Klatschak

Picture: Stefan Scougall’s free kick hits the post