Match Report - By Steven Mew
Report by Steven Mew
The champagne remains on ice for league leaders St Mirren despite another narrow victory over a battling City side yesterday afternoon in front of a bumper crowd at Glebe Park.
For long spells of the game it looked as if the Buddies would be celebrating the Championship title at the Glebe, however a late winner for 2nd placed Livingston at home to Morton meant they will have to wait a little longer.
It was a fourth one-goal defeat that City have suffered at the hands of the league leaders this season and their performance at times belied their lowly position.
There was a couple of changes to the side that lost heavily to Inverness midweek with Jordan Sinclair coming in for Liam Watt whilst Euan Spark replaced Paul McLean who misses two games through suspension after his appeal against the red card against Falkirk last Saturday wasn't upheld by the Judicial panel.
A crowd of 2,447 packed into the Glebe owing largely to an impressive travelling support from Paisley. The visitors started brightly and after 5 minutes Lewis Morgan had an effort from range saved by Smith who gathered at the second attempt.
The Buddies were not to be denied for long as they opened the scoring with 7 minutes on the clock. KYLE MAGENNIS collected a throw in from Eckersley and came inside on his right foot before unleashing a strike into the far corner to send the Buddies support into raptures.
You could be forgiven at this point for thinking St Mirren would run away with the game especially with news unfolding of Morton taking the lead against Livingston at the Tony Macaroni Arena.
That didn’t quite transpire as both sides struggled to conjure up any real opportunities during a fairly dull first half. However, there was a scare for the visitors shortly before the half hour mark when Jordan Sinclair struck the bar with a shot from range.
Five minutes later, Morgan was brought down around 25 yards out by Euan Spark. Morgan himself stepped up to take the free kick but his effort was curled wide. Shortly after, a free kick from Magennis was headed goalwards by Davis however Smith was equal to it.
City started the second half brightly with Sinclair having a shot deflected wide for a corner whilst Finn Graham tested Samson from distance but his shot was comfortably saved by the keeper.
There was a blow for City after 50 minutes when an already depleted defence was stretched to the limit when Gary Fusco had to come off injured with Aron Lynas taking his place in an unfamiliar role at centre back.
Isaac Layne was starting to cause some problems going forward for City as he held off his marker to pull the ball back for Tapping but his strike was blocked by Gary MacKenzie.
At the other end, St Mirren came close on several occasions to double their advantage. A low cross from Danny Mullen was met by Cammy Smith but he could only find the side netting. A minute later, Euan Smith then had to be alert to calmly clear Mullen’s lobbed effort off the line.
The visitors continued to press for the goal that would calm the nerves that looked to be setting in – shortly after the hour mark Graeme Smith did well to palm away a shot from Morgan.
Dylan Mackin replaced Sinclair on 62 minutes and his ability to hold the ball up was aiding City greatly going forward. The big striker was next to threaten on 74 minutes his low shot to palmed away by Samson.
The game started to fizzle out in the closing stages with Morgan sending a shot wide for the Buddies whilst substitute Callumn Morrison did likewise at the other end for City.
The visitors held out for the crucial 3 points but with news filtering through that Livingston had defeated Morton, it meant the title celebrations were put on hold at least until Tuesday when they travel to face Dundee United at Tannadice.
Overall, City could perhaps consider themselves unfortunate not to have anything to show for their efforts. The Buddies meanwhile require just one more point to win the title and congratulations go out to them once they inevitably clinch it. Jack Ross and his side have proved over the course of the season that they are the best side in the division by some distance.
Next up for Darren Dods' men is a difficult trip to East End Park to take on play-off chasing Dunfermline Athletic next Saturday.
Other Results - Ladbrokes Championship
Dumbarton 3 Dundee United 2
Uniteds playoff hopes suffer a blow at the hands of part time Dumbarton.
Falkirk 1 Dunfermline Athletic 2
A crucial win for the Pars in a local derby against Falkirk.
Livingston 3 Morton 2
Late winner for Livi means the champagne remains on ice for leaders St Mirren.
Queen of the South 0 Inverness Caledonian Thistle 2
Fine win for the Caley Jags at Palmerston.