Dundee U 1 – 2 St J’stone

St Johnstone extended their recent Scottish Premiership unbeaten run to three games with a narrow 2-1 win over Dundee United at Tannadice.

First-half goals from Stevie May and Melker Hallberg put the Saints in control, but the home side nervously finished late when substitute Tony Watt pulled one back.

However, Saints saw the game take all three points and move up to eighth in the table, while United remain entrenched at the foot of the Premiership, still in search of their first league victory of the season.

There was a turbulent opener to the game as both teams tried to gain the upper hand without creating meaningful chances.

The Saints took the lead with the first real chance of the game.

Andy Considine played a ball from inside his own half behind the United defense with May clear. He advanced on goal before shooting calmly past home goalkeeper Carljohan Eriksson.

The Tangerines finally carved out a chance in the 24th minute when Jamie McGrath swung in a corner from the right and Steven Fletcher sent a powerful header towards goal, but May was on hand to clear his own line.

United were struggling to make a good impression on St Johnstone and tempers flared just after the half-hour mark with United’s Aziz Behich and Saints’ Drey Wright booked once the dust settled.

The home side should have tested Remi Matthews when McGrath hit an accurate free-kick into the Saints box, but Ryan Edwards headed his way.

Instead, it was Callum Davidson’s men who extended their advantage in the 39th minute. May burst down the right before cutting the ball low for Hallberg to sweep home past a helpless Eriksson.

Full-time St Johnstone boss Callum Davidson

The Saints came close to the third goal just before the break, but Wright’s low shot went over Eriksson’s right post.

United worked valiantly to get back into the game early in the second half, but Saints continued to look comfortable.

The Perth men came awfully close to making it three in the 57th minute when May struck a diving shot from just outside the box that hit the home crossbar.

Matthews made a vital save in the 80th minute, preventing an effort from Watt at his near post.

However, United finally scored three minutes later. Matthews initially saved a shot from Behich but Watt was there to get the rebound but it was too little, too late for the Tangerines.

What the managers said…

Ryan McGowan celebrates winning St Johnstone
Ryan McGowan celebrates winning St Johnstone

St Johnstone boss Callum Davidson:

“We worked on things all week and I thought tactically we were really good. I don’t really like to mention players and pick players, but I thought Stevie May was exceptional today.

“First of all, I thought his work rate was huge. He scores the goal, creates a goal and clears one down the line.

“He could have had another second half and that’s what I want to see from Stevie. We know he has that in him and we believe in Stevie.

“I think his performance was outstanding and characterized the end result and how we got there.

“The last few minutes were a little nervous but I think we managed to control enough in the second half not to give too many chances.

“We could have done better at the start of the second half but then we had chances on the counter to make my life easier. But, in the end, I’m delighted.”

Dundee United boss Liam Fox:

“Disappointed, really disappointed. It’s always difficult when you’re down 2-0 at half-time. The goals we conceded were poor. A few individual mistakes gave us a mountain to climb.

“The league table probably tells us that’s why we’re sitting there, individual errors. The first goal in particular is an over ball. We have a lot of things to work on and improve quickly. is the plan.

“We’re going to let the dust settle, we’re going to watch the game and be as positive as possible with the players.

“I thought we started well. I would like us to be a bit more ruthless with shots on goal, more crosses into the box, giving the fans something to cheer about and hopefully bringing them with us. “

Sky Sports

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