Heroic Saints make Wright proud
St Johnstone arrived in Paisley looking to continue their good run over the Buddies in the battle of the Saints. The Perth Saints did make it 11 games unbeaten on their visits to St Mirren but the circumstances surrounding the 1-1 draw made it feel more like a victory after being reduced to nine men. After making the perfect start, when captain Murray Davidson powered in a header, the visitors were put under immense pressure as the Paisley side chased their third consecutive home win. The Perth men did not help their cause when they had two players sent off. Stevie Anderson was first to go shortly before half-time when he tripped Lewis Guy and denied him a goalscoring opportunity. The visitors faced a second half onslaught and then picked up a second red car. Chris Millar, already on a yellow, tripped John McGinn to collect a second booking and hand the home side a two-man advantage with over 20 minutes remaining. Danny Lennon's men took less than a minute to grab the equaliser despite the best efforts of Alan Mannus. The St Johnstone keeper did superbly to parry a fierce shot from Kenny McLean but was beaten as 18- year-old Paul Dummett lashed home his first senior goal. It was a rearguard action after that and the heroes for St Johnstone were all at the back with Mannus producing a couple of incredible saves and Frazer Wright's superb goal line clearance denying Steven Thompson a winner five minutes from time. With Steve Lomas banned from the touchline it was left to St Johnstone assistant boss Tommy Wright to manage the dugout and reflect on his team's determination to hang on for a point. A relieved and delighted Wright admitted: "You would be proud of any team that's down to nine men and holds on to get a result - it was truly magnificent. "They put their bodies on the line and worked extremely hard and to keep them down to one goal. I was really proud of them all." The assistant boss shared the success across his team despite Mannus' heroics in the last 20 minutes. "Our keeper's done really well and was unlucky at the goal after a great save, but he would be the first to admit that the guys in front of him have done a terrific job. "They did everything they could to get a winner but every one of our players stood up and defended really well. "It was the busiest game I've had here," confessed Mannus, who made two outstanding saves to deny John McGinn and McLean. "But the guys in front of me were brilliant as we hung on, especially in the four minutes added on time." Not surprisingly St Mirren boss Danny Lennon saw it as two points dropped, particularly on the balance of play and chances created - even when St Johnston had 11 players. It was with a mixture of feelings that Lennon looked back on an absorbing 90 minutes. He said: "It is definitely two points dropped. We showed a fantastic tempo from the start and I was disappointed to go one down so early. "But we always took the game forward even when they had 11 and more when they went down to nine. "We were on the front foot and created a number of opportunities but their keeper has had some fantastic saves. "We have to be absolutely ruthless in front of goal and you can't expect to give up chances like that and win games. It was an absolute disservice to the fans not to win a game like that." Lennon, though, took some positives from the game. "We need to be composed and hitting the target which we've not done in our last three or four games. "The flip side is the chances we are creating and the bodies are hungry enough to get on them, we just need to work a little bit harder and finish these chances off. " St Johnstone have little time to rest and have to do without Stevie Anderson for their Scottish Cup tie with Cowdenbeath on Monday night after the original game was postponed due to bad weather.
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