Clinical Killie stroll past Saints

After last Sunday’s 3-0 win at Hearts, Killie triumphed in

convincing fashion again as Michael Duberry deflected Ben Gordon’s

36th-minute cross into his own net before Conor Sammon struck seven

minutes from time and Liam Kelly added a third in stoppage time.

Cleveland Taylor, a first-half replacement for Murray Davidson,

headed on to the top of the bar and hit another effort against the

woodwork as Saints struggled in the final third of the pitch and

suffered a third straight loss. Davidson was one of five changes as

Saints aimed to bounce back from successive 3-0 losses to Celtic,

but soon the midfielder was limping off the field with an apparent

recurrence of his ankle problem. That was not the only worry for St

Johnstone manager Derek McInnes. A pitch inspection an hour before

kick-off was passed despite the ball being unable to bounce on

sections of the saturated surface, but it was no excuse for Saints’

sloppy defending in the opening 45 minutes as Kilmarnock began

brightly. A mistake by Alan Maybury granted Kelly enough space for

a shot, but Saints goalkeeper Graeme Smith saved at his near post.

Sam Parkin then missed a defensive header from Alexei Eremenko’s

cross and the ball deflected off Mohamadou Sissoko’s shin and into

the arms of Smith. Smith saved from Craig Bryson and Sammon shot

wide, while Andy Jackson spurned two half-chances for Saints.

Davidson was then penalised for a foul on Eremenko, the challenge

earning him a booking and forcing him off to be replaced by Taylor

after 26 minutes. Taylor’s looping header from Liam Craig’s cross

hit the top of the bar before going out for a goal kick, with Bell

covering the danger. The opener came after 36 minutes through the

Chelsea connection – but not Jody Morris and Duberry, as St

Johnstone fans would hope. Killie left-back Gordon, on loan from

Stamford Bridge, raced down the left unchallenged and the ball was

deflected into the hosts’ net off the outstretched leg of Saints

centre back Duberry. Smith then saved a Kevin Rutkiewicz header

from a similar fate as Saints trailed at the interval. With the

hosts lacking the incisive edge, Killie continued to look the more

dangerous. Bryson saw an effort from 20 yards saved by Smith after

the midfielder had fought off the challenge of Duberry. But Taylor

then hit the bar for the second time. From Duberry’s knock down, he

screwed a right-foot effort which was always rising against the

woodwork. Parkin appeared to be impeded from the resulting corner

while making an aerial challenge but still Saints were denied.

Morris was booked after Eremenko lured a foul and the Finland

forward found himself cautioned for continuing to debate the

decision long after the initial incident. Sammon had a 73rd-minute

effort ruled out for a foul on Maybury on the edge of the area, but

his goal came 20 minutes later. Bryson fed Sammon and he twisted

and turned beyond Duberry and Craig before tucking in between

Smith’s legs. Sammon was booked for his over-exuberant

celebrations, with Marcus Haber replacing Parkin. Haber’s

participation soon ended though as an innocuous incident saw him

require a stretcher to leave the field, resulting in five minutes

of stoppage time. And Kelly tucked in a third in the additional

time after being set up by replacement Danny Invincibile.