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St. Johnstone 0-1 Dundee United

Well that wasn't great.

Saints vs Dundee United was a close and hard fought affair which the Dundee side came out of on top and really we can have no complaints.

[Mulgrew and May fight for possession]

Callum Davidson only made two changes from Thursday's trip to Austria which was incredibly surprising to a lot of fans who had expected heavy rotation. Towards the latter stages of the game the size of the squad felt apparent.

First Half

The opening half an hour was lively as both sides pressed and pushed forward with a bumper crowd of nearly 6,000 in attendance and making themselves heard.

It was evident from the early stages of the game that this would be a difficult one. Dundee United pressed high up the field and really went at the St. Johnstone back line, allowing no time on the ball which lead to a few narrow escapes.

[Shaun Rooney competes for the ball]

Both sides were snapping into tackles and referee actually let quite a few go which looked like blatant fouls/yellow cards. The atmosphere was feisty.

Rooney and Booth both went close with long ranged efforts but failed to find the back of the net. Dundee United forced Clark into a save down low which he pushed round the post, whilst a free header in the centre of the box failed to test the St. Johnstone number 1.

Going into half time and neither side had been able to stamp their authority on the game or create any big chances.

Half time: 0-0

Dundee United began the second half well and were piling pressure on and St. Johnstone appeared jaded at times as so much football already appeared to be taking its toll on such a barebones squad.

Saints were misplacing easy passes, not making the same runs as usual and failing to track runners defensively. Davidson rarely makes a mistake but dare I say he should have rested a few key figures.

Middleton managed to weave his way in-behind and cut it back to Stevie May. The Saints striker managed to get a shot off but it was blocked, with a sea of bodies lined up in the box it never really felt like we were getting past.

Dundee United opened the scoring through Peter Pawlett on 60 minutes. United played some neat football down the left and avoided all of the blue shirts in the area as Nicky Clark played it across to Pawlett who seemed to have acres of space to slot the ball into the back of the net from close range. The goal scorer was booked for his emphatic celebration.

[Pawlett celebrates his eventual winner]

1-0 and United's tales were up. The best chance of the whole game and they took it.

Saints tried to find their way back into this game but despite all of their huffing and puffing we never really got going.

On 77 minutes goal scorer Pawlett received a second yellow card for simulation and was therefore sent off which took the visitors down to 10 men for the last 15 minutes of player. A way back into the game for Saints perhaps?

[Pawlett is dismissed for a second yellow]

Following the sending off United defended valiantly and had every body back in an effort to shut the home side out and grab the 3 points, because of this we never managed to really test them, a Glenn Middleton strike saved by Carson aside we didn't manage to get shots off at goal.

We threw men forward and even went to a 4 at the back, Craig came on for Booth late on and we really had a go but not once did it ever feel like we were going to pull it back.

5 minutes of added time but even if that had said 50 minutes St. Johnstone weren't going to score.

Full Time: St. Johnstone 0-1 Dundee United

Match Reaction:

My Thoughts:

St. Johnstone just weren't good enough plain and simple. United only really had one or two big chances but they converted when it mattered and probably deserved to come away with 3 points.

Saints lacked creativity, it was plain to see the David Wotherspoon shaped hole in the side as we just couldn't really muster anything in the final third.

[It was a disappointing afternoon for St. Johnstone]

Some poor defending, bad passing, bad luck, tired legs and simply not being good enough on the day was our downfall. Credit to Dundee United who executed their game plan perfectly today.

We really need to add to the squad and the Eetu Vertainen transfer saga CANNOT drag on any longer. I know that it isn't the clubs fault and it's just as if not even more irritating for them. The player has signed but due to new Brexit regulation getting a VISA is a nightmare and the Finnish Youth international has already missed so many games already, hopefully not too many more.

What Did Callum Davidson Say?

The St. Johnstone boss said: "I thought it was a really tough game. Dundee United tried to play some really good football at times, so did my team."

[Callum Davidson was visibly frustrated throughout the game]

"For us we lacked a little bit of quality and a bit of zip. I don't know if that was a hangover from Thursday night. We weren't quite there today."

[Quotes from the BBC]

What's Next?

Saints face Austrian side LASK at home in front of what should be a packed McDiarmid Park on Thursday in the second leg of our Europa League Conference tie, with the aggregate score sitting at 1-1.

[Saints take the lead against LASK]

I would expect a very similar line-up to today's for that match although there will be the added boost of David Wotherspoon returning to the squad for that monumental clash.

At the end of the day, losing a league game in August isn't the end of the world and certainly isn't worthy of pushing the panic button just yet.

The near future hinges on the outcome of Thursday's game. After that we will have a much clearer picture of the current situation.

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