Another poor first half from the hosts set their visitors up for an easy win, a Guy Melamed double and Jason Kerr effort leaving the Perth side just two points outside the top six, Motherwell remaining ninth but five points behind the Saints in eighth.
Callum Davidson’s men pushed forward with a first half siege in North Lanarkshire that all but wrapped up victory in the first 45 minutes. Shaun Rooney, Ali McCann and Melamed all had great chances to score.
But it was the latter’s first attempt at beating Liam Kelly which would break the deadlock 18 minutes in. Lost possession in the Motherwell midfield allowed St Johnstone to storm up the park before their Israeli striker picked the ball up and curled a great effort into the net from outside the box.
Last week’s match at Fir Park had played host to a first half collapse from Motherwell as they were blown away by local rivals Hamilton, conceding three and earning a red card. This half wasn’t much better.
It didn’t end in great circumstances either as Saints pulled two ahead with the final kick before John Beaton’s whistle. Saints had multiple cracks at goal as Motherwell failed to clear their lines before Kerr bundled it home, strong shouts of offside coming from the home team.
A makeshift ‘Well side looked down and out again before the second half started, key players in Declan Gallagher, Stephen O’Donnell, Allan Campbell, Bevis Mugabi, Mark O’Hara, Liam Grimshaw and Liam Donnelly just some of those missing.
Saints weren’t caring though as they dominated the entire 90 minutes. They looked the hungrier team and the one with more to gain, Melamed and Chris Kane up top causing their opposition plenty of problems in the final third.
Melamed added insult to injury five minutes into the second half from 12 yards out after a clumsy tackle by Liam Polworth in the box as Liam Craig then cracked the bar with a brilliant long range curler. Here are three things we learned on another good afternoon for Saints that leaves Motherwell with much to ponder.
Saints on the up
It’s a great time to be a St Johnstone fan and they look like a menacing foe ahead of next week’s League Cup final with Livingston. You need to go back to December 26th to find the last time Saints lost to someone outside of Glasgow, that being Aberdeen at Pittodrie.
They were dominant from start to finish and will fancy their chances against a Livi side they have already beaten this month.
Graham Alexander’s men were off the pace again but injuries did not help their case from minute one. There were at least 14 Well players missing for one reason or another in this clash.
Now two away games to St Mirren and Hibs come in the next week and Motherwell must pick up the pace rapidly if they are to avoid four straight Premiership defeats.
Whenever Davidson’s Israeli striker has been given an opportunity, he has scored goals for St Johnstone. Another two were added at Fir Park, his first a particularly sweet hit from 20 yards out.
That’s now four goals and two assists from five Premiership starts for the striker who’s turning into a bit of a cult hero in Perth.
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