St Johnstone 0 St Mirren 2

21 September 2011 12:02
The home Saints were not able to break down the Buddies defence and are out of the League Cup The two SPL Saints met tonight in the third round of the League Cup in Perth and the question ahead of the game it was just who would be the sinner by the end of the night. Unfortunately, for the home fans, it was the Perth version which failed to progress. After giving the Buddies a 1-0 lead through an own goal from Jamie Adams, St Johnstone were deflated just before half-time by a screamer of a goal from Jim Goodwin which took the visitors into the Scottish Communities League Cup quarter-final draw. The Buddies, beaten finalists in the competition in 2010, impressively ended a 14-game winless record against their opponents stretching back to August 2005. The visitors, if truth be told, never looked to be in any danger of losing the tie. While their defence were able to deal with the power long-range shots or crosses, their forwards were playing themselves in to the home penalty area to cause panic St Johnstone, who saw their five-game unbeaten run come to an end, were distinctly below par at McDiarmid Park, given their impressive 3-0 win at Motherwell at the weekend. Perhaps that result took too much out of the side as they were a shadow of the team which won so well against the Steelmen. They made just one change from Saturday, with Sean Higgins handed a first start in place of the injured Kevin Moon. St Mirren, 2-0 losers at Hearts on Saturday, brought in Kenny McLean and Marc McAusland to their line-up.  Derek McInnes' side were looking to continue their recent cup success, after five semi-final appearances in the last five seasons. But instead it was the visitors who went on to dominate the first-half proceedings in some style. Stand-out midfielder McLean, 19, soon stung the palms of Peter Enckelman in the home goal with a 20-yard drive. Steven Anderson and Dave Mackay were then involved in a defensive tangle, with Gary Teale almost profiting as he chipped wide. Observers of McInnes, serving the second game of a two-game touchline ban, saw his mood  darken further in the stand when Frazer Wright hobbled off to be replaced by David McCracken in the 20th minute. The hosts finally threatened on 21 minutes when Francisco Sandaza wriggled free on goal after a Higgins pass, but his shot was blocked and Liam Craig's follow-up was weak. St Mirren were soon back on the front foot, enjoying success on the flanks. Jeroen Tesselaar's cross picked out David van Zanten but his free header was held comfortably by Enckelman. However, the deserved and expected breakthrough for the Buddies came in the 39th minute. Steven Thompson's header back across goal was set to be put in by McLean, only for the luckless Adams to do the job for him. It was St Mirren's first goal in four games. Then, on the stroke of half-time, Goodwin doubled the lead with a stunning finish, firing an angled 20-yarder that flew past Enckelman.  McInnes put on David Robertson and Willie Gibson for the re-start to try and spark a comeback. Sandaza, Cillian Sheridan and Mackay soon combined, with the latter's effort held by Samson. Gibson then picked out Sheridan from the left, but the Irishman's header was straight at the goalkeeper. St Johnstone continued to dominate second-half possession, but created little in the way of clear-cut chances. On the break, Teale saw an effort saved by Enckelman at his near post before Sheridan looked to have pulled one back on 81 minutes only for Samson to scramble his header away from danger following a Craig delivery. The visiting Saints were supported by a sizable proportion of the 2,296 crowd which out-sung the home support - even before the goals. St Johnstone: Enckelman, Mackay, Craig, Wright, Anderson, Maybury, Adams, Millae, Higgins, Sandaza, SheridanSubs: McCracken, Robertson, Gibson, Haber, Mannus St Mirren: Samson, Van Zanten, Teale, McAusland, Mair, Goodwin, Tesselaar, Thomson. Thompson, McLean, HasslenainkSubs: Smith, McGowan, Carey, Barron, McShane