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SPL Match Report: St.Johnstone 1-5 Dundee United

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Peter Houston brought his side to Perth in buoyant mood after an impressive victory at Ibrox and was again looking to the trio of Russell, Daly and Mackay-Steven.

With the home side dominating early possession they would have been disappointed that after the opening fifteen minutes all they had to show for their efforts was a long range Jody Morris effort which didn’t trouble Pernis as it sailed over the bar.

However they did come closer midway through the first half, as full back Davidson broke in from the left and unleashed a shot to the near post which had Pernis scrambling to cover his lines. The United keeper again had to look lively as Neilson sold him short with a headed back pass and with Sheridan bearing down on him he did well to clear.

As the half hour passed no one could have predicted the events to come as United had struggled to make in roads to a St Johnstone defense looking more comfortable as the minutes passed.

On 34 minutes Peter Enckelman again handed a gift wrapped goal to the opposition, with a Dixon free kick floated in and no real danger the Finn elected to punch under no pressure missing the ball completely which hit luckless Steven Anderson and trickled into the net.

St.Johnstone gained extra vigour from the setback and were again quickly on the front foot and had two penalty appeals turned down in quick succession, the first as Croft seemed to win a foot race against Pernis, but referee Brines deemed that the Englishman had taken a dive and promptly booked him.

As the half drew to a close a deep cross to the back post left Craig flattened, as Neilson placed two hands on the midfielder’s back forcing him to the ground, but again nothing given from referee Brines.

Just before half time finished United were forced into a change with Garry Kenneth having to go off injured being replaced by Sean Dillon.

As the second half kicked off the Perth side were on the front foot as Sheridan forced the corner which ultimately came to nothing, again St Johnstones possession accounted for nothing as Dundee United played their way into the game with Mackay-Steven becoming ever more influential and it was he who forced United further ahead. Played in down the left hand side his positive run and drive across the box saw the ball turned into his own net by Davidson.

As the game became more even the Perth Saints managed to get one in the right goal as Craig’s free kick was coolly turned in by Anderson. With the lead halved and their first hour performance not entirely convincing, Peter Houston’s men seemed to find an extra bit of urgency and drive, chasing and hunting every ball and their efforts were rewarded as another Dixon ball to the back post was met by Russell and his header looped over the head of a flat footed Enckelman and into the back of the net.

As the match entered the final five minutes you could have been forgiven for thinking that the men in orange may have saw the game out, but with play as vibrant as theit tops they kept pushing and were rewarded with another goal and that man Dixon was at the heart of it once more, he sent in a cross which was headed home by Jon Daly.

A catastrophic day for Lomas and his side was further compounded by a calamitous fifth and final goal when a simple through ball was fluffed by Enckelman and as it dropped, substitute Lacny couldn’t believe his luck as he rolled the ball into an empty net from 17 yards.

St.Johnstone: Enckelman, Mackay, Davidson, Morris, Anderson, McCracken, Millar (Robertson), Croft(Haber), Sheridan, Sandaza.

Dundee Utd: Pernis, Dixon, Kenneth(Dillon), Robertson, Daly, Rankin(lacny), Russell, Armstrong(Ryan), Mackay-Steven, Gunning, Neilson.

Attendance: 4319

Referee: Iain Brines

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