St Mirren 2 - 0 Dunfermline: Saintly patience pays off
The Buddies now have a double-digit lead at the top of the Championship with only single digits’ worth of matches to play. And even though the chasing pack have games in hand, the Paisley men are surely as good as home and hosed.
The importance of the win – with Livingston and Dundee United inactive – cannot be over-stated, however St Mirren manager Jack Ross was just thrilled with the performance of his team after a few sticky weeks.
“Performance levels were excellent, and it was a good afternoon’s work,” he said. “Winning without Lewis Morgan dispels the myth we are a one-man team. Pleasing thing is every time those around us have had their games put off we have taken advantage.”
Chances were at a premium in a stodgy opening period in which St Mirren were on top, but Dunfermline arguably came closer to a break. Craig Samson went a long way towards another home clean-sheet with a superb low save to deny Nicky Clark’s snapshot.
At the other end Lee Robinson did well to shift his footing to palm away Stephen McGinn’s deflected shot. This and a skidding drive from Kyle Magennis was all they could muster for all the possession they enjoyed.
The second half was an even more lop-sided affair with Saints well on top, although again it was the visitors who created the best chance when James Craigen slashed wide from an angle. It was as close as the Pars came, and it was to be costly.
Five minutes later Jason Talbot bowled over Danny Mullen as the striker looked set for a tap-in for the clearest award of the day. When the dust settled with Talbot dismissed a full three minutes had passed from award to kick, but Harry Davis showed a cool head to fire home.
Saints have tended to score in bursts this campaign and so it proved again as they doubled their lead and killed off a by now bedraggled Dunfermline with a quick fire second, Liam Smith arrowing home from 20-yards to leave Robinson in the visiting goal beaten and the fans in the home stands rocking.
Dunfermline manager Allan Johnston bemoaned both the penalty award and the miss from Craigen. He said: “Some our lads felt Jason Talbot was fouled at the penalty, but the miss from Craigen was huge as he should have scored.
“It kind of sums up our season as we have too often failed to take big chances when they come.”