Wednesday 19th April
St. Johnstone's Development side went down 4-3 to Kilmarnock last night at McDiarmid Park despite a brave second half performance which saw the Saintees almost complete a dramatic come back after being 3-0 down at the interval.
George Hunter's goal reduced the deficit to 3-1 with just twenty minutes remaining. However, Killie made it four on 79 minutes before late strikes from Greg Hurst (penalty) and Cameron Thomson gave the visitors a nervy finish to the match.
First team squad members Steven Anderson, Murray Davidson, George Hunter, Clive Smith and Craig Thomson all featured in the match.
Saints Development side headed into their clash with Kilmarnock on Tuesday night looking for a win which would lift them off the bottom of the league. First team stars Murray Davidson, Steven Anderson, Craig Thomson and Clive Smith, amongst others, all started Alec Cleland’s final home game of the season.
Saints got the game underway, but it was the visitors who opened the scoring, as Scott McLean rifled a well struck free kick home from 20 yards after seven minutes. 0-1.
Saints did well in the middle of the field, but it took until 32 minutes before they could carve out a real chance, however when both O’Reilly and Hunter challenged for the loose ball in the box, neither could convert the chance.
Kilmarnock countered and doubled their lead with ten minutes of the first half to go, as William Graham struck a powerful drive into the roof of the net from eight yards.
Saints sought a leveller and came close through Murray Davidson and Craig Thomson, but the post and a last ditch block denied them respectively.
Kilmarnock completed their first half rout with a delicate finish from Innes Cameron, who made it 3-0 in stoppage time, leaving Saints with a mammoth task in the second spell. Half time: St Johnstone 0-3 Kilmarnock.
Saints switched Ally Gilchrist for Ally McCann at half time, as the looked to turn the game around.
The second half started brightly for Saints as a fantastic run from Clive Smith culminated in his cross being lashed at goal by O’Reilly, but his effort was cleared off the line.
The young winger came close again from distance, and when goalkeeper Mackay spilled his effort, Greg Hurst came within inches of pulling one back.
Saints did claw a goal back, as Cameron Thomson’s inch perfect cross was volleyed home assertively by George Hunter. 1-3.
It looked to be 2-3 as Steven Anderson’s header was spilled by Mackay, however the referee and linesmen did not adjudge the ball to have crossed the line, much to the Saints players’ frustration.
Saints looked to be in the ascendency, but against the run of play Kilmarnock grabbed a fourth, as Adam Frizzell scored the pick of the bunch from 25 yards with just over ten minutes to play.
The goals didn’t stop there, however, as Saints were awarded a late penalty. Greg Hurst was brought down in the box, and the young striker got up and sent keeper Mackay the wrong way to make it 2-4.
Saints almost completed their second half comeback, and great tenacity in the box from Cameron Thomson was rewarded as the left back rounded the goalkeeper and finished high into the roof of the net in injury time. 3-4.
However, it was too little, too late for Saints who, despite looking a completely different side in the second half, failed to take any points from the game. Full time: St Johnstone 3-4 Kilmarnock.
Saints: McKenzie, Smith, Anderson, Gilchrist (McCann, 46), Ca Thomson, Davdison, Cr Thomson, Jardine (Docherty, 80), Hurst, Hunter, O’Reilly. Unused subs: Sinclair, Simpson, Lumsden, MacKenzie, Wilson.
Goals: Hunter (71), Hurst (82), Ca Thomson (90)
Kilmarnock: Mackay, Queen, Lidington, Dempsie, Wilson, Graham, Whittaker, McDonald, Cameron, Frizzell, McLean. Unused subs: Lyle, McLevy, Barr, Paterson, Curtis.
Goals: McLean (7), Graham (35), Cameron (45), Frizzell (79)
Referee: Barry Reid Man of the Match: Cameron Thomson
Match report by Ross Gardiner.
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