Buddies beaten by Killie corker

The game looked set to end in a hard-fought stalemate until Racchi

superbly chipped visiting goalkeeper Craig Samson to earn the hosts

all three points. It was a thrilling way to end a second half that

had struggled to live up to the opening 45 minutes. Lee Mair gave

St Mirren the lead after 10 minutes but his goal was cancelled out

by Paul Heffernan 10 minutes before the break. St Mirren made the

brighter start and Kilmarnock goalkeeper Cammy Bell was forced into

a good stop after only two minutes from Steven Thompson’s

long-range drive. The home side’s first chance fell to Heffernan

who latched on to Alex Pursehouse’s intelligent through-ball but

Samson made a brave stop at the striker’s feet. Marc McAusland came

agonisingly close to giving the visitors the lead after eight

minutes when he struck the bar after connecting with Graham Carey’s

corner. It was not long before Saints did grab the lead however, as

Carey’s corner just a minute later was headed home by Mair despite

the best efforts of Bell to keep the ball out. After falling behind

Killie appeared to be struggling to find any way through the

visitors’ defence and the home fans vented their frustration at an

increasingly error-ridden display from their team. Kilmarnock boss

Kenny Shiels reacted to this and after 30 minutes he replaced

Pursehouse with Zdenek Kroca in an attempt to help his side force

an equaliser. The change seemed to galvanise Kilmarnock, firstly

Dean Shiels forced Samson to turn his shot past the post and from

the resulting corner Heffernan spun and struck a low shot into the

bottom left corner. The hosts had the first chance of the second

half when a well-worked free-kick was struck over by Matthew

Kennedy. St Mirren created a chance of their own in the 48th minute

when Paul McGowan seized on an error in the Killie defence, the

striker laid the ball to Aaron Mooy but the 21-year-old failed to

test Samson. With the game very much in the balance, St Mirren boss

Danny Lennon brought on Nigel Hasselbaink and Steven Thomson to

replace Mooy and Carey. Saints were presented with a good

opportunity to take the lead when Liam Kelly felled Hasselbaink at

the edge of the box in the 68th minute. The striker took the

free-kick himself but blazed well over. Hasselbaink had another

good chance 11 minutes later but failed to connect with Thompson’s

dangerous delivery. Lennon made his final change of the afternoon

when the tireless Thompson was replaced by Gary Teale. St Mirren

appeared to be finishing the match the stronger side with Teale

causing problems with his direct style of play, but it was

Kilmarnock who were to grab the winner with just one minute

remaining as Racchi’s sublime chip over the head of Samson from

just outside of the box proved decisive.