St Mirren 1-1 Kilmarnock: Report
St Mirren 1-1 Kilmarnock: Match Report - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game as it happened.
Bell denies Saints
St Mirren failed to clinch a second successive victory in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League as Cammy Bell helped Kilmarnock earn a 1-1 draw..
Liam Kelly fired Kilmarnock ahead from the penalty spot after just four minutes when James Dayton was brought down inside the box.
St Mirren pushed for an equaliser and Bell made three fantastic saves before finally conceding to Paul McGowan's penalty midway through the second half.
There were late chances for Jim Goodwin and David Barron, but the Rugby Park side held out for a point.
A bumper travelling support of over 2,000 roared Kilmarnock on in the early stages and they were soon rewarded as referee Brian Colvin pointed at the spot after Barron fouled Dayton.
Kelly stepped up to take the resulting kick and duly drilled the ball low beyond Craig Samson.
Marc McAusland did well to cut out Dayton's dangerous cross and Manuel Pascali's fizzing drive was deflected just wide as the visitors threatened to extend their advantage in the opening stages.
McGowan forced Bell into his first save of the match with an effort from distance, however St Mirren almost found themselves two behind when Dayton's sublime cross was met by Paul Heffernan and the striker was only denied by a wonderful stop by Samson.
The driving wind almost assisted Steven Thompson in levelling the match after Gary Teale robbed Pascali, but this time it was Bell's turn to make an excellent save - his one-handed stop preventing the ball from swerving into the top corner.
Thompson came close again just before the half-hour mark when the ball fell to him six yards from goal after Teale's dangerous delivery.
The former Scotland international slipped the ball beyond Bell, only for it to roll inches past the post.
The home side looked more likely to grab the next goal and Thompson completed a hat-trick of missed chances when he headed straight at Bell from close-range after connecting with Barron's cross.
Both teams made one change at half-time, Dougie Imrie replacing John McGinn for the Saints while Mark O'Hara was introduced in place of Pascali for the visitors.
It was the hosts who made the brighter start and Bell made another fantastic stop to keep out Lewis Guy's back-post header.
The Scotland international was at it again as he tipped over Barron's driven shot minutes later and it seemed that it was only a matter of time before the equaliser would arrive.
St Mirren's dominance continued as Imrie blazed a free-kick from the edge of the area well over the bar before the visitors responded at the other end with a Dayton effort that sailed wide.
With 22 minutes remaining, St Mirren were awarded a penalty of their own after Imrie was felled by O'Hara, McGowan sending Bell the wrong way from the spot to level proceedings and ensure an exciting conclusion to the match.
Following the goal Sam Parkin replaced Guy in an effort by Saints boss Danny Lennon to clinch a second successive win for his team.
Goodwin's free-kick brought out another good save from Bell as St Mirren continued to press and visiting manager Kenny Shiels reacted by bringing on Rory McKenzie for Borja Perez.
Imrie was booked for a clumsy challenge on Kelly and he was followed into the book by O'Hara.
Both sides showed a determination to grab the winning goal in the closing stages and Barron almost found the net from 30 yards in the final minute.
It was to be the last chance of the match, though, ensuring both teams had to settle for a point in their first match of 2013.
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