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<-Page <-Team Sat 15 Dec 2012 St Johnstone 2 Hearts 2 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Sun ------ Report Type-> Srce->
John McGlynn <-auth GARETH LAW auth-> William Collum
[R Vine 16] ;[S MacLean 60]
9 of 020 John Sutton 15 ;Andrew Driver 38L SPL A

St Johnstone 2 Hearts 2

Steven salvages points for wasteful Saints

Last Updated: 16th December 2012
HEARTS might have all their wages up to date for the first time in ages — but St Johnstone were left to wonder how they didn’t make them pay.

Suspended Saints boss Steve Lomas had been forced to send out a patched-up team with four key players banned.

But he saw them boss the play and create most of the chances in front of a dismal crowd of just 2,974 — yet need Steven MacLean’s strike to land a share of the spoils.

The Jambos had taken an early lead through John Sutton before Rowan Vine netted seconds later.

Andy Driver restored the visitors’ advantage on the stroke of half-time, with MacLean finishing off Murray Davidson’s pass on the hour.

Neither side could find a winner but Lomas might feel the more hard done by this morning, despite a late Jambos onslaught as the heavens opened in Perth.

Lomas served the second of his eight-game dugout ban yesterday.

But he also had defensive trio Frazer Wright, Dave Mackay and Steven Anderson suspended, along with midfielder Chris Millar.

His backline reshuffle saw Gary Miller in at right back and Callum Davidson at left.

In the centre David McCracken was given the nod from his surgeon to make an early return after two months out with a fractured cheekbone and partnered Tam Scobbie.

Loan star Peter Pawlett — who could return to Aberdeen next month — started his first game since September’s win over Celtic after suffering with hamstring trouble.

Jambos gaffer McGlynn stuck with the same 4-4-2 formation which proved so successful against Aberdeen a week earlier.

He would have likely called on Scott Robinson to replace the crocked Mehdi Taouil.

But after the midfielder’s refusal to be a sub in that clash — and with showdown talks scheduled for tomorrow — Callum Paterson was handed a recall instead.

Saints nearly raced into the lead after just 25 seconds when MacLean latched on to a long punt, then dug out a cross which Marius Zaliukas cleared just past his own post.

Hearts threatened up the other end, with Ryan McGowan and Gordon Smith both going close.

Then Smith combined well with Driver to send the winger racing clear but when he funnelled forwards to Paterson the youngster could only sclaff horribly wide.

Saints’ makeshift rearguard was finally breached in the simplest of fashions as Sutton rose unchallenged to nod in Driver’s floated free kick.

It was his fourth of the season and first since October 27 — but the strike was soon cancelled out.

Miller burst down the right and his deflected cross sat up perfectly for Vine, who reacted quicker than McGowan to tap home.

Sutton was winning everything in the air at the other end and he diverted McGowan’s ball into the path of Smith, who should’ve done better than spoon high and wide.

But if Sutton was the key man for Hearts, Vine was at the centre of most of Saints’ attacks. Pawlett should have put them ahead on 27 minutes when he was played in by Vine, but Jamie MacDonald spread brilliantly to block his effort.

Then Zaliukas stretched to reach another Vine centre and MacDonald pounced on the loose ball as it threatened to trickle goalwards.

But for all Saints’ chances, it was Hearts who were in front again by the break as Saints’ defence went to sleep when it mattered.

This time McGowan hurled in a long throw which Sutton flicked on and Driver smashed home.

There was still time for Darren Barr and Paddy Cregg to clash, with Barr getting just a booking.

The Jambos defender also needed treatment and didn’t reappear for the start of the second half. Dylan McGowan came on in his place.

Smith missed another great chance to net when Driver’s ball in was nodded into his path by Sutton. With the goal gaping, the chance again flashed wide.

Driver was booked for dissent on 53 minutes and Ryan McGowan soon joined him for tripping Liam Craig.

By that time Saints has passed up more chances to level. Craig’s follow-up was well blocked after Pawlett’s shot had been saved, while MacLean saw another effort cleared off the line by Kevin McHattie.

But the pressure eventually told on the hour as Callum Davidson’s great crossfield pass picked out namesake Murray, who unselfishly squared for MacLean to score.

Pawlett was booked for a wild challenge on McHattie, then Murray Davidson drilled just wide for Saints.

Gregory Tade was sent on for the tiring Pawlett and almost scored with his first touch.

The ball was fed all the way through the Jambos defence.

But Tade couldn’t get enough on it as MacDonald saved and, with MacLean lurking, the ball was eventually cleared by Ryan McGowan.


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