Saints cruise to comfortable win
Graham Ruthven • Published 2 Mar 2012 09:30
ST. JOHNSTONE cruised to a comfortable 3-1 victory over the SPL's bottom side, Dunfermline at McDiarmid Park on Saturday.
Goals from Murray Davidson, Lee Croft and Callum Davidson rendered Paul Burns' late effort as consolation, with Saints securing their first league win since a 3-2 victory over Hibernian on 21 January.
The result sees an 18 year unbeaten streak in Perth come to an end for the Pars, as they slip 3 points behind Hibs in their efforts to avoid relegation.
Saints boss, Steve Lomas made just one change to the side that had played out a goalless draw with Aberdeen, with Lee Croft replacing Chris Millar in the line-up.
Having lost their three previous games at McDiarmid Park, the home side set out to put pressure on the Fifers from the start, with Spanish striker, Francisco Sandaza looking lively early on.
However, the Perth side were dealt a blow after just 15 minutes when Jody Morris had to be withdrawn due to injury. The Saints' captain was replaced by Millar.
Dunfermline keeper, Chris Smith pulled off a magnificent double save from Croft and then Sandaza as the home side looked for the opener.
St. Johnstone were applying the pressure to the visitors' goal, and came extremely close, when Liam Craig's in-swinging freekick missed everyone in the box and rebounded off the far post.
But the home side finally found the net after Croft's chip was headed into the box by Millar for Murray Davidson to sweep home following good work on the right by Sandaza.
And Saints immediately doubled their advantage, with Sandaza feeding Callum Davidson with a disguised pass inside the box, and the left back drove into the net.
The home side continued to dominate after the break, with Sandaza causing problems for the Dunfermline backline.
Croft smashed a rising shot off the woodwork as Saints looked for a third, but it was the Pars who gave themselves hope with 17 minutes remaining, as Burns curled a shot through a crowd into the bottom corner.
But Saints collected themselves and sealed the three points with another goal, this time through Croft, who finished from 12 yards after some great skill on the edge of the box.
Cillian Sheridan struck the post late on as Saints looked to pile more misery on the Pars, but the damage had already been done to the relegation threatened Fifers.
St. Johnstone now face a tough tie against Kilmarnock on Saturday, as they aim to close the gap between themselves and third placed, Motherwell.
This article appeared in Strathallan Times 01 Mar 12
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