St Mirrenoff face up to Sandbank Rangers looking to go one better than the reverse fixture which ended in a 1-1 draw.
Saints started well, using the excellent surface and the width of the pitch to create a number of openings with some attractive passing football. Unfortunately, they failed to apply the finishing touch that their patient build up play deserved.
Midfielder Gordon McEwan came closest to opening the scoring for Saints when his 25 yard volley flew inches past the post with the keeper well beaten.
Saints opened the scoring when David Wilson’s corner fell to Ian Craig. His shot was blocked and the ball looped to Robert Hillcoat, who’s volley from 12 yards found the back of the net.
Saints goalkeeper John Kerr was having a comfortable day behind a solid defence and only had a couple of long range efforts which were easily dealt with.
Saints were forced into a change early in the second half. McEwan failed to run off a knock from earlier in the game, and David Christie replaced him in midfield.
St Mirrenoff could have doubled their lead when Craig Sinclair’s chipped through ball sent Hillcoat away. With just the keeper to beat, Hillcoat curled the ball wide with the outside of his boot.
Sandbank were given a way back into the game when Fraser Gray’s challenge inside the box handed them a penalty. The Rangers striker placed the ball straight down the middle with Kerr diving to his right.
St Mirrenoff continued to threaten and Wilson had their next chance. Collecting a pass on the corner of the penalty area, he nutmegged the defender and burst into the box. With Hillcoat waiting for a pass across goal, Wilson opted to shoot, but his effort could only find the side netting.
With Saints pushing forward, Sandbank were looking dangerous on the counter attack. Breaking down the right wing, the ball was squared but the Rangers striker’s effort was well held by goalkeeper Kerr.
Saints had another opportunity to restore their lead when a cross fell to the unmarked Sinclair at the back post. Unfortunately for him, the ball wouldn’t come down quick enough to get a clean shot away, allowing the Sandbank keeper to do enough to delay the shot and allow a defender to get back and block.
A big slice of luck helped Sandbank take the lead. Another quick counter attack down the right flank released the striker who made it to the goal-line. With one Rangers player in the box closely marked, the cross looped over Kerr and went in at the far post.
St Mirrenoff threw more men forward looking for an equaliser and were again almost caught out. Sandbank’s striker prodding the ball beyond Kerr but Craig managed to get back and clear before the ball went over the line.
The final chance of the match fell to Saints when a Wilson corner was flicked on by Christie, with sub Gareth Fairley just failing to get a touch at the back post.
Saints manager Mark Syme said “It was a great team performance and on another day, with the amount of chances we created, the game should have been over by half time.”