SFL v St Johnstone


Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division One

Attendance: 3199, Kick Off: 7.45pm.

Referee: John McKendrick

Jim McIntyre had captain Scott Wilson and Jamie Mole back for the trip to Perth. Andy Kirk moved from being sub but Alex Burke found himself in that situation. St Johnstone brought in Steven Anderson and Chris Millar relegating Liam Craig and Martin Hardie to the bench. Stuart McCaffrey broke down in the warm up meaning Graham Gartland came in as a straight replacement.

The Saints kicked off attacking the goal in front of the travelling support and forced a corner within 15 seconds. Scott Thomson required treatment after heading the ball clear but was quickly back on to feed the ball over from the left. Phinn`s lay off back to Mole after five minutes created the first call to action for keeper Alan Main but he held the low drive from 25 yards.

Four minutes later Paul Gallacher pulled off a fine save stopping Paul Sheerin`s fiercesome shot from 30 yards but Macca was forced into¬ two early substitutions - Scott Muirhead replacing Jamie Mole after 10 minutes and Alex Burke coming on for Thomson in 13. Saints went forward with Derek Holmes almost meeting some success with his attempts to head on for the onrushing Gary Irvine. Fortunately Gallacher was able to see that off.

A St Johnstone free kick in 18 minutes from Sheerin cleared the visitors` defence but fortunately Gartland`s header went straight across the six yard box.¬ Two minutes later Steven Milne received a pass from Derek Holmes on the right edge of the box and he was unlucky with his lob cum shot that dropped outside the far post¬ where Holmes was trying to get a touch.

Steven Bell incurred a yellow card for his 29th minute foul on Samuel and so Sheerin got another shot at Gallacher from 28 yards that the man in all black held easily. The Pars keeper came out on top three minutes later¬ when Samuel threaded a ball into the left side of the box for Milne but Gall dived at the strikers` feet to¬ take the ball.

Gallacher was made to save in earnest in 36 minutes.¬ A free kick perfectly weighted by Alan Main from 20 yards inside his own half was knocked down by Holmes on the edge of the box for Sheerin to drill on target but the Pars keeper produced a fine save.

The home fans were restless when a 41st minute chance was cleared by Woods. A slack ball on halfway when Bayne failed to find Burke let Millar break down the right to square a dangerous ball into the six yard box.¬ One minute of added time made no difference to the scoreline. One chance and a blast over the bar from Bell hardly augured well for the second 45.

Half time: St Johnstone 0 Dunfermline 0

Nick Phinn had limped off at the break and it was no surprise that Greg Ross came on to replace him for the restart. The home side enjoyed the first chance of the second half when a Millar cross dropped over Wilson for Holmes to head narrowly wide of the left upright in 49 minutes. Five minutes later Dunfermline gave Main his first real test of the night.¬ Gartland dithered on the left side of his box letting Kirk pinch the ball off him and cut back for Steven Bell to shoot firmly along the ground but the keeper saved well.

The Pars kept up the pressure with two long throws into the box from Muirhead and then two very inviting balls into the six yard box by Bayne and then Muirhead in 57 but neither found a man in yellow.

Saints fought back with Anderson getting the better of Graham to burst down the left wing and centre. The ball broke back off Holmes for Milne to belt a shot at goal but Shields blocked.

In 65 minutes Main in a moment of madness came 40 yards out of his goal and then ¬ failed to make the ball in a race with Ross. A free kick ensued but Main was back to hold Bell`s header on a Woods cross.

Andy Kirk had a good opportunity in 78 minutes when released down the right by Bell but his chip in from the byeline was cut out before it could reach Bayne. Wilson headed the corner down for Bayne to tap back to Burke but his attempt from 20 yards was blocked. Two minutes later Kirk passed to Graham on the wing and his cross for Bayne was defended away.

Graham`s 84th cross was taken into the box by Bell who went down¬ only to be waved up to his feet by referee McKendrick. A minute later Bayne had a much better appeal after he was flattened by a two handed push in the back by Kevin Rutkiewicz but again there was no decision in the Fifers favour.

The match was not to witness a goal and St Johnstone`s 14th¬ draw of the season takes them to 53 points, four ahead of second placed Thistle. Dunfermline`s point left them 12 points behind Saints in 7th place. The next chapter follows on Saturday when these two meet again at East End Park.

ST JOHNSTONE: Alan Main; Gary Irvine,¬ Steven Anderson (Liam Craig 75), Kevin Moon, Kevin Rutkiewicz, Graham Gartland, Collin Samuel,¬ Chris Millar (Gavin Swankie 82), Derek Holmes (Graham Barrett 62), Steven Milne, Paul Sheerin
SUBS NOT USED:¬ ¬ Martin Hardie, Euan McLean

DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher; Calum Woods, Greg Shields, Scott Wilson (c), Scott Thomson (Alex Burke 13); David Graham, Steven Bell, Nick Phinn (Greg Ross HT), Jamie Mole (Scott Muirhead 10), Graham Bayne, Andy Kirk.
SUBS NOT USED: Greg Paterson (GK), Rory Loy.
YELLOW CARD: Bell (29)


NEXT MATCH: (home) First Division v St Johnstone
Saturday 11th April 2009, kick off 3.00pm


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