Match Report - By Steven Mew
It was a day to forget for City as they were comfortably swept aside by St Johnstone in the Betfred Cup yesterday afternoon at McDiarmid Park.
Despite defeat against Dundee United in midweek, the City players had received many plaudits on their style of play and the number of chances they created against their more illustrious opponents.
Unfortunately there would be no repeat of this against the Saints as the Premiership side took full control of the game right from the start, with opportunities few and far between for a shell-shocked City side.
Manager Mark Wilson made two changes from the side that started on Wednesday, with Ross Brown and Michael Paton coming in for Jonathan Page and Jimmy Scott.
St Johnstone, who defeated Kelty Hearts in their opening group C fixture, started the game brightly and came close with barely 30 seconds on the clock. Stevie May latched onto Conway’s pass in behind the City defence and his effort was kept out by McMinn at his near post.
The big striker was not to be denied a couple of minutes later. Craig Bryson floated a cross into the box which was headed goalwards by Liam Gordon and STEVIE MAY was on hand to force the ball over the line.
May was causing no end of problems for the City defence early on and he could have easily had his second just a minute later had it not been for another McMinn stop.
City were camped in their own half during the opening exchanges and their first real foray up the park arrived on 8 minutes when Dave McKay dragged a shot wide from range.
Mark Wilson was forced into making an early change on 12 minutes when Leeroy Makovora limped off to be replaced by the experienced Jimmy Scott.
Just as it looked as if the visitors had settled into the game, Saints doubled their advantage in the 23rd minute. Stevie May slipped a neat pass into the box for DAVID WOTHERSPOON who sidestepped his man before placing a shot into the corner.
Shortly after the half hour mark, the City defence did well to block a couple of shots before the ball fell kindly for Wotherspoon who struck the inside of the post. A minute later, Craig Conway advanced on goal before blasting a shot over from a right angle.
City were simply unable to produce anything near the attacking quality they displayed against Dundee United, with the best opportunity of the first half coming from Matty Todd who surged forward before shooting over from 25 yards.
The home side continued to dominate proceedings with Conway trying his luck from range which McMinn gathered comfortably, before Murray Davidson headed wide from Conway’s cross.
On the stroke of half time, former City loanee Callum Booth struck the inside of the post before the ball rebounded out to Craig Bryson who inexplicably skied over the bar from 8 yards out.
There was one change for City at the break as Scott Reekie replaced Dave McKay and 8 minutes into the second half, home keeper Zander Clark was called into action for the first time when he comfortably saved a long range shot from Scott Cusick.
It wasn’t long before Saints asserted their dominance again as they added a third goal on 56 minutes. Shaun Rooney got to the byline before cutting the back for DAVID WOTHERSPOON to calmly sidefoot into the net.
Two minutes later STEVIE MAY grabbed his second as he took advantage of some hesitant defending to slot beyond McMinn from close range.
Just after the hour mark Benjamin Luissint replaced Rory Currie as City looked to add some steel defensively, but the home side continued to carve them open with ease. STEVIE MAY grabbed his hat-trick on 62 minutes when a long ball sent the Saints attacker through on goal and he slotted the ball in between the legs of McMinn to make it 5-0.
Midway through the second half Sean McIntosh made way for Luc Bollan. City conjured up their best, and only real chance of the game on 71 minutes when Scot Cusick’s strike looked destined for a corner, however Zander Clark did well to get his hands to it.
The home side appeared to take their foot off the gas a little until the final 5 minutes when they added further gloss to an already convincing scoreline.
Another former City loanee in the shape of Callum Hendry missed a guilt edged chance when he screwed the ball wide when it looked easier to score.
He would get a chance to makes amends two minutes later when Gregor Jordan brought down Murray Davidson in the box, with referee Craig Napier having no hesitation in pointing to the spot. CALLUM HENDRY made no mistake, blasting the penalty high down the middle.
The Perth side weren’t quite finished there as they netted a 7th in stoppage time. A cross from the left side by Booth was nodded home by MURRAY DAVIDSON to round off the scoring.
Despite coming up against a side three divisions above, it was a hugely disappointing performance and result. City’s players will now look to pick themselves up for Tuesday’s trip to face a Peterhead side who recorded an impressive 1-0 win over Dundee United at Tannadice.