Saints hit by sucker punch
ST MIRREN 1 DUNDEE UNITED 2
SAINTS threw away three SPL points in this encounter with the Arabs after they allowed Peter Houston’s side to hit them with two sucker punch goals late on.
Michael Higdon nodded the Buddies into the lead after 66 minutes but Danny Swanson levelled matters with six minutes to go.
And just when you thought the game was over, up popped United substitute David Goodwillie to guide home the winner two minutes into time added on – and give the home support a real kick in the teeth.
Saturday’s result leaves Gus MacPherson’s side just four points away from the drop zone.
Steven Thomson and Steven Robb returned to midfield action for the Buddies with David Barron operating as a right-sided centre half in a 3-5-2 formation.
After three minutes Andy Dorman got a break of the ball down the left and played in Robb.
The midfielder fired in a cross for Thomson 12 yards out but Sean Dillon was quick to hoof the danger clear.
At the other end United’s David Robertson fired a shot from 25 yards high over the bar when he picked up a partial clearance by Jack Ross.
St Mirren won a corner on the left after six minutes but Darren Dods was on hand to head clear the cross from Dorman.
Prince Buaben picked up a return pass in midfield after 16 minutes and stepped forward before unleashing a shot that fell wide of the mark, before Dorman had a great shooting chance after possession came off Garry Kenneth in the penalty box, but he shot straight at goalkeeper Dusan Pernis.
At the midway point Lee Mair connected with a Robb free-kick into the danger zone but unfortunately the Buddies defender glanced it wide of the right hand post.
United’s Pavel Mihadjuks was cautioned after 27 minutes for a foul on Dorman, before a Craig Conway corner on the right found Jon Daly but Ross managed to knock his header off the line.
Daly fired an angled shot wide of the far post after Swanson played him in and then, at the other end, Billy Mehmet sent a low drive into an advertising hoarding from a good position.
Dods was penalised for a foul on striker Mehmet and Saints won a free-kick 25 yards out but Barron’s right foot shot struck the visiting wall.
Moments later Robb flighted in a free-kick from the right and Dorman connected with it beautifully, but his glancing header from 10 yards fell wide of the right-hand post.
After 48 minutes Higdon saw a header fall just over the crossbar after Dorman combined with Robb and the Saints wide man got the better of Ross Smith to deliver the cross.
Four minutes later Mehmet played in Thomson but the midfielder’s half volley fell wide of the left hand post.
Back came United and Daly drifted off Mair to send a left foot shot high and wide from 14 yards after collecting a pass from the left.
Dorman was sacrificed for the introduction of Craig Dargo after 58 minutes as the home side gambled by going with three strikers up front.
Then John Potter had to act fast to clear a ball into the six yard box with Daly waiting to pounce, before Swanson sliced a shot at the back post high and wide when Daly failed to connect with a cross into the box.
Ross found himself in the middle of the park after a St Mirren corner was only partially cleared. The Buddies right-back burst forward before sending a powerful drive from 25 yards just over Pernis’ crossbar.
After 66 minutes St Mirren deservedly pulled ahead when Dargo won a free-kick 25 yards out at the expense of Dods.
Robb was on hand with the delivery and Higdon was there at the back post to nod it into the middle right hand side of the net from the edge of the six-yard box.
United tried to respond but a Swanson low drive from 25 yards zipped wide as he collected a pass from Daly.
Kenneth picked up a caution after 72 minutes for illegally preventing Dargo’s run to goal and it so easily could have been a red.
From the free-kick 22 yards out on the right, Robb’s left foot effort zipped wide of the far post.
Dundee United won a free-kick 19 yards out on the angle of the penalty box and Daly headed home from Swanson’s delivery but the whistle blew early for an infringement against Smith and the goal did not stand.
However, United equalised after 84 minutes when Swanson picked up a low pass, rolled it forward with his studs and teed up a right foot to cannon it beyond Gallacher from 25 yards.
Graham Carey replaced the tiring Robb before Potter’s back header from Carey’s corner was knocked off the line by Damien Casalinuovo.
Towards the end Thomson fired a right foot shot just wide of the left hand post as Carey and Dorman combined on the right, before Daly saw a shot deflect behind for a corner into time added on.
And from the resultant cross by Swanson, Ross was on hand to deny Kenneth’s header with another goalline clearance.
But two minutes into time added on United won it when Goodwillie connected with a Daly cross and the young forward guided it beyond Gallacher from five yards out.