Saints had injury problems for this important McBookie.com league match against bottom of the table Longside. The usual centre half pairing of Aaron Thomson and Josh Robertson were unfit with the versatile pairing of Conran Wilson and Steve Young taking their place. Ethan Grant was also missing serving his 2nd game of a 3 match ban.
It was a slow start for Saints and within two minutes a delayed clearance by keeper Ross Salmon, back after injury, was blocked but fortunately ha saved the day with a save at the expense of a corner.
At the other end Dean Henderson flashed a header wide and then a saw a shot blocked. Poor passing in the Saints defence gave Longside a good chance on 10 minutes, but Salmon saved with his legs.
After the opening quarter of an hour, Saints began to assert themselves and picked up the pace. Henderson went close then a Mackie shot was blocked. Adam Reid who was starting up front with Mackie intercepted a short pass but his chipped effort went over the bar.
It was all Saints now with Longside being pushed back. Captain Steve Travers got in on the act on 30 minutes with a first time effort going just past. Adam Reid had a great chance a minute later but his weak shot dribbled towards the goal line and was cleared off the post at the expense of a corner. Reid was then denied by the keeper’s legs with Mackie’s effort from the rebound blocked when a goal seemed certain.
With three minutes left to the break, Adam Reid squared for Mackie but he took one too many touches with his 8 yard shot being blocked once again. Mackie then hit the side netting with an angled shot, but right on 45 minutes the much deserved goal arrived with Adam Reid heading home a corner. This was Saints 2000th goal in Junior football. (Read More Here)
Despite that late first half goal, Longside started strongly in the second half without creating any chances. But it wasn’t long before Adam Reid got his second after 56 minutes. A free kick inside the Saints half pinpointed Jordan Clark who beat his man, sent in a left foot cross to the back post where Reid expertly headed the ball into the far corner.
It was almost 3-0 a minute later but Henderson was tackled on the 6 yard line just as he was about to shoot and as a result of the tackle had to be replaced by Craig Peters.
Two corners followed in quick succession with Grant Munro hitting the post from the second. Longside then broke up the left but from the pass inside, the effort went well wide. On 66 minutes the post came to the rescue again for Longside when after a bit of a scramble, Darren Reid’s effort was deflected onto the base of the upright. It was then Adam Reid’s chance to get his hat trick but his angled shot went wide of the far post.
On 69 minutes however there was a breakthrough to make it 3-0. From a throw in, a low cross was dummied by Munro for Jordan Clark to stroke the ball home from 3 yards at the back post for his first goal in a Saint’s top.
Four minutes later goal number four arrived when Steve Young also side footed his first Saint’s goal into the net from a corner. After complaints from the Longside players, the visiting centre half was sent off.
Corner after corner followed without any further scoring. Calum Wilson came on to replace Greg Smith on 79 minutes and then with five minutes to go Mark Reid replaced Adam Reid. And substitute Mark Reid could have made it five but he knocked the ball over the bar from 2 yards.
This was a comprehensive win for Saints after a bit of a dodgy start, but the energy was back to what we know it can be and it was good to see four goals being scored with several other chances created. The win puts Saints back up to 5th place.
Great to get the win after the disappointment of last week. The boys knew themselves today had to be better and it was. We made quite a few changes and changed shape a little bit but the intensity and desire was brilliant. Not the best of first halves with some sloppy passing and 5 or 6 big chances missed but the goal on half time changes things and i thought the second half performance was excellent.
Next week sees a break from league business when we travel to Nairn St.Ninian for the 2nd Round of the Dominos Pizzas North Region Cup.
Team: Ross Salmon, Darren Reid, Greg Smith (Calum Wilson) , Steve Young, Conran Wilson, Dean Henderson (Craig Peters), Steve Travers, Grant Munro, Jordan Clark, Greig Mackie, Adam Reid (Mark Reid) Subs: Ben Ross, Euan Rose.