By Lewis Laird
Both sides failed to threaten in the first half but it was the Saints who took the game by the scruff of the neck early in the second half, as Chris Kane scored. It went from bad to worse for Jim Goodwin’s men, who were reduced to 10 men shortly after going a goal down and ultimately it was too tough a task to get back in the game.
The opening half of the game was a bit of a frustrating one for both sides, with neither having a shot on target across the 45 minutes as both looked to try and break each other down.
An early opening looked as though it could fall to the man making his first start for St Mirren, Eamonn Brophy. A ball behind was chased down and won by the new St Mirren frontman. He looked to have beaten Liam Gordon but tried to play a square ball across the box which was cut out.
St Johnstone’s first chance came after 10 minutes as David Wotherspoon came close from a free-kick. The home side looked to create once again with Kane released down the middle of the park. Some nice play saw the striker slip in Guy Melamed to his right but the Israeli striker squandered his chance when he looked to cut inside.
Callum Davidson’s men opened the scoring early in the second half through Kane. Both strikers looked to link up again as Melamed returned the favour from the first half, playing Kane in towards goal. His first effort was saved by Jak Alnwick, but it came straight back to the Saints striker who wasn’t going to pass up the second opportunity.
Shortly after the away side were reduced to 10 men as MacPherson received his second yellow card. A tackle from the 22-year-old on Melamed handed referee Steven McLean a decision to make, Buddies boss Goodwin not agreeing with the call.
The three points could prove to be crucial for Callum Davidson as they moved four clear of the relegation zone. Here are three things we learned.
Picking up the three points today ends St Johnstone’s hunt for a win, their first in 11 attempts at Premiership level. It comes at the perfect time for the Perth side, with a League Cup semi-final at Hampden Park on the horizon against Hibs.
Saints front two coming good
It was Kane who won this for the home Saints but Davidson will be pleased with the impact that both of his front men in the match-winner and Melamed have started to have in the last couple of weeks.
Both were constantly looking for each other forward, linking up on a few occasions and in particular for the only goal of the game. If they can keep the partnership going, St Johnstone’s case going forward is improved.
More to come from Brophy
This marked Brophy’s first start for St Mirren and it probably wasn’t the start he was looking for as the Buddies failed to have an effort on goal. As much as it was not his day, there were small glimpses of what we expect to come from Brophy with good movement in behind and trying to trouble defenders.
There is no doubt Goodwin will know there is more to come from his new striker.