St Mirren’s penalty kick nightmare continued as another failure from the spot came back to haunt the Buddies and ensure their bid for Championship survival again hit the buffers, writes Alan Gallacher at Paisley 2021 Stadium.
The bubble of expectancy engulfing the ground in this survival final furlong was very nearly pierced within four minutes when Dumbarton skipper Darren Barr missed the target by inches with a completely unchallenged header.
If this was a warning shot then it was heeded by the on-form Buddies who were ahead soon after, the increasingly impressive Kyle Magennis gathering a Cammy Smith pass before switching feet and drilling low past Alan Martin.
Any thoughts of a repeat performance of the previous week’s mauling of Ayr were without foundation as Dumbarton, who kept their four-point buffer on the hosts intact, are a tough, well-organised nut to crack.
Not only did they curb the fluidity of the home team but got deservedly level through a low arrowing strike from Lewis Vaughan. Vaughan was again in the spotlight seconds later when he was penalised for his third pull on the shirt of Saints skipper Stephen McGinn.
He got away with it thanks to a good save from Martin, who got down well to save Rory Loy’s spot-kick.
It was a decent enough stop from the keeper, but symptomatic of the season St Mirren have had as this was their fourth league miss from the spot this campaign, with every miss potentially costing them points.
With the business end of the season well and truly having commenced, the tense, taut and near torturous nature of the second period was not only understandable, but virtually guaranteed with only another save on the hour from Martin, this time from a rising Stevie Mallan drive, interrupting the midfield malaise.
If anything it was Dumbarton looking more likely to score as time wore on with Saints surviving a couple of scares and the late dismissal of Adam Eckersley to win a point meaning they head for Cappielow in midweek in need of a derby win perhaps more than ever.