Saints welcomed back Greg Smith after several weeks out with a foot injury but were still minus the services of skipper Steve Travers with knee injury plus Josh Robertson and Darren Reid were unavailable.
The game opened slowly with the first chance going to Stoneywood Parkvale when a through ball left the No. 9 with a half chance but he lobbed well past the post. It was an even opening 15 minutes but from a free kick in their own half the visitors took the lead with the ball finding the winger unmarked to advance on goal and despite a challenge his shot was deflected over keeper Ross Salmon.
Minutes later it could have been 2-0 when a Stoneywood forward survived two tackles to break left and swing in an awkward cross which was headed clear under pressure.
On 20 minutes Saints switched to four at the back as Stoneywood had the upper hand. But on 25 minutes an Aaron Thomson slip and short pass back gifted Stoneywood an easy chance to make it 2-0. Shortly after the Stoney winger skinned Dean Henderson but thankfully his shot was blocked by the chest of a Saints defender.
Saints slowly got themselves back in the game and went close when a Henderson cross just evaded the outstretched Adam Reid who was making his first start. However another mistake allowed the Stoneywood centre forward to burst into the box with Aaron Thomson’s tackle downing the forward allowing the visitors to go in at half time 3-0 up.
The old adage of game of two halves certainly was true in this case. Saints came out of the traps and in the very first minute an Adam Reid break and cross was met by Jordan Clark who’s first time shot went a foot over. Stoneywood countered on 52 minutes with a header which was well off target.
10 minutes in Adam Reid was replaced by Greig Mackie and 2 minutes later Saints reduced the leeway when a Greg Smith cross from the left found Mark Reid who head flicked wide of the keeper into the corner of the net.
Saints were on top now, forcing three or four corners in quick succession. With 20 minutes to go the game was still being played predominantly in the Stoneywood half, but there was no breakthrough materialising apart from another Mark Reid header going wide of the target.
Stoneywood had a great chance to put the game beyond Saints on 77 minutes with a break down the left and cross finding the substitute at the back post but his shot was well saved by Ross Salmon at the expense of a corner which he expertly tipped away under the crossbar. Then a bad pass by Conran Wilson let in the Stoneywood centre but he fired wide.
On 85 minutes centre half Thomson was replaced by forward Mantas Mickevicius and this substitution seemed to work again as two minutes later it should have been 3-2. Mark Reid burst through the Stoneywood defence and was clear with only the keeper to beat but was crudely brought down a yard outside the box, with the visiting defender only receiving a yellow card. Steve Young’s resultant free kick beat the wall but also the post.
Right on 90 minutes Mantas Mickevicius was sent clear by Mark Reid but the Stoney keeper saved.
Mistakes cost Saints the points and will have to cut out these gifts in order to climb up the league.
A brutal first 45 mins has cost us the game. We were awful. We’ve gifted them 3 goals. We improved in the second half and possibly could’ve salvaged a draw but missed a couple good chances. It’s one we need to learn from and move on.
Team: Ross Salmon, Conran Wilson, Dean Henderson, Aaron Thomson (Mantas Mickevicius), Steve Young, Craig Peter, Grant Munro, Greg Smith, Jordan Clark, Mark Reid, Adam Reid (Greig Mackie). Subs: Ben Ross, Calum Wilson, Euan Rose.
Next Saturday 29th September Saints make the trip to Glasgow to play Ashfield in the 2nd Round of the Macron Scottish Junior Cup, kick off 2.30.