Jambos pile more misery on Saints

The home team had conceded 10 goals in losing their three previous
Scottish Premier League games, but looked more resolute against
Hearts. They could not hold out for even a point however as the
visitors followed up on their midweek success over Celtic with
Kevin Kyle’s 65th-minute penalty and Ryan Stevenson’s late
clincher. The Perth club were without defender Dave Mackay with a
thigh problem. Jamie Adams was recalled from a loan period at
Dundee yesterday and he secured clearance from league officials to
start for Saints. Hearts were without Suso Santana, who learned
this week he requires knee surgery. Kyle required early touchline
treatment on a cut nose after an apparent collision with Michael
Duberry, but the Hearts forward was able to continue after a short
delay. Kyle did force the first save of the contest, though it was
an easy one for Peter Enckelman, as the striker was unable to put
enough power onto his headed effort from Ian Black’s cross. Collin
Samuel claimed a foul against Adrian Mrowiec as he tried to reach a
ball over the top, but despite the Hearts defender seemingly
pulling him back and denying a potential goalscoring opportunity,
nothing was given by referee Mike Tumilty. Samuel had nobody to
blame but himself moments later as he swung wildly at a shooting
chance set up by Duberry’s muscular play inside the area, firing
the ball badly wide. Hearts were the more enterprising side early
on and Stephen Elliott should have done better with an angled drive
blazed over the crossbar with an unmarked Kyle wanting a pass in
the middle. St Johnstone were presented with a real chance in the
28th minute when Duberry’s ball was only half-cleared by Ruben
Palazuelos with his goalkeeper Marian Kello drawn out of position
behind him, but Liam Craig volleyed wide of the empty net. David
Templeton, so impressive in recent weeks, was at it again here,
drifting beyond three St Johnstone players before producing a
strike that full-back Alan Maybury did well to block. Eggert
Jonsson’s fine run and cross set up midfielder Rudi Skacel in the
43rd minute but his low effort was well held by Enckelman to
preserve the deadlock. St Johnstone made a change at the break,
Peter MacDonald on for Craig, and he headed wide a Cleveland Taylor
cross. Jody Morris got the game’s first booking for dissent in
protest at Adams being penalised for fouling Black. Hearts were
then awarded a 64th-minute penalty for handball, seemingly against
Adams, from a Templeton free-kick and went ahead via Kyle’s
emphatic finish. Hearts almost doubled their lead in the 68th
minute when Skacel set up Elliott for a fierce strike which was
pushed wide by Enckelman. St Johnstone introduced Sam Parkin for
Samuel and he was soon involved, forcing a fine save from Kello
after MacDonald’s pass. St Johnstone kept battling to rescue at
least a point, but it was Hearts who came closest late on with a
Kyle header wide. And in the final minute of injury time, Elliott’s
searching pass found substitute Stevenson, who finished well with a
low drive.