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A game of two halves at McDiarmid Park

St Johnstone 3

Caddis 46, Kerr 66, 80

Kilmarnock 2

Hawkshaw 5, Pooler 20
  • Tuesday, 31 March 2015
  • McDiarmid Park
  • Under 20´s
  • SPFL Development League

Matthew Amery | YFS East Region Journalist
Author's Bio | Articles by Author | [email protected]

A second half comeback from St Johnstone stunned a high quality Kilmarnock side on this wet and windy day at McDiarmid Park. With a hard fought lead of two goals from Dean Hawkshaw and Dylan Pooler at half time without reply, Kilmarnock might have been forgiven for thinking the points were in the bag. However, a second half penalty goal from Liam Caddis and a brace from defender Jason Kerr respectively, gave Saints a much needed three points to put some distance between themselves and the visitors.
 
The quality of the match throughout, was high and was definitely not a reflection of the quality of the weather. The game was end to end play with neither team pausing for breath.
 
The game began with some excellent attacking play from both sides resulting in the defences of both teams being tested. But it was Kilmarnock who found the breakthrough with a well-placed ball over the St Johnstone midfield finding Hawkshaw, who kept his composure and managed to guide the ball over goalkeeper Jordan Millar and into the net. A fantastic finish early in the game, showing a sign of more to come.
 
The game did not calm down after Kilmarnock’s goal however, with attack and counterattack being the order of the day. Both teams were defending and moving the ball well in this contest when the rain started to fall. This change in weather did not translate to a change in the standard of play, both teams continued with the same hard work and ferocity spectators had come to expect.
 
Kilmarnock again found the net at the midpoint of the first half after an extended period of pressure from Killie. This time it was Dylan Pooler who guided the ball home with a calm finish across the face of goal and into the bottom left corner. The build up to the goal was fantastic, with Kilmarnock stringing together a multitude of passes in order to find a way around the stalwart St Johnstone defence.
 
This did not dampen the spirit of the Saints players however, and chances fell for both teams in the remainder of the half. St Johnstone were making great efforts to get the ball into a dangerous area with crosses being whipped in from Aaron Comrie and Paul Simpson on the wing. Despite these efforts the Kilmarnock defence retained its composure and indeed allowed their forward players the ability to almost grab a third through number nine Jack Whittaker if it was not for a high quality save from St Johnstone’s Millar.
 
Despite more efforts from both teams the score was left unchanged at the sound of the half-time whistle. The players on either side of this hotly contested fixture had every right to be proud of their first half performances but Kilmarnock just had an extra ruthlessness to their finishing.
  • Half Time:
  • St Johnstone
  • 0-2
  • Kilmarnock
The second half kicked off with a bang. No more than a minute after the whistle to restart, St Johnstone were awarded a penalty for a foul just inside the edge of the Kilmarnock box. Liam Caddis stepped up to take the spot-kick, was able to keep his composure, and slotted the ball home to the left of Kilmarnock keeper Devlin MacKay.
 
Caddis was given some confidence by this penalty conversion and produced a shot from quite a way out which narrowly missed the goal. The young Saints team seemed a different side after the restart but Kilmarnock were not to be broken down easily. Their defence stood tall against a barrage of St Johnstone attacking play, allowing Kilmarnock’s Greg Taylor managed to produce a save from Millar with a long range attempt.
 
It was not until the 66th minute that a resurgent Saints side managed to find their way to the goal that would bring them back on equal terms with the visitors. The home side’s Paul Simpson was brought down in the Kilmarnock defensive third and used the opportunity to deliver a good quality cross, met by the head of Jason Kerr. The defender made his presence in the box known and managed to guide the ball past MacKay to level the scoring at two goals apiece.
 
It looked like the two teams would share the points until late in the game. With ten minutes left to play, a well worked corner found its way to a perfectly-positioned Kerr, who drove home on the second time of asking after his first attempt was saved by a brave MacKay.
 
Saints second half play merited at least a share of the points, and at the full time whistle the players were observably delighted to have taken all three. Kilmarnock fought well up to the final kick of the game, trying desperately to find a late equaliser but in the end had to settle for a narrow loss. The game was exciting throughout and proved that both teams will be hard to break for those higher up the table.
 
Saints are in good form with six wins from their last seven games and some exciting attacking football on display. This is helping the team move up the table and threaten the teams above them. On the strength of both teams’ performances in this game, these are two teams who could be making convincing pushes towards the top of the table in the latter stage of this year’s development league.
 
  • Full Time:
  • St Johnstone
  • 3-2
  • Kilmarnock

Lineups

St Johnstone
Kilmarnock
1. Jordan Millar
2. Alexander Kitchen
3. Aaron Comrie
4. Scott Brown
5. Jason Kerr
6. Gareth Rodger
7. Connor McLaren
8. Scott Wilson
9. Kyle Lander
10. Liam Caddis
11. Paul Simpson
12. Rhys Evans
14. Matthew Buchanan
15. Mark Hurst
16. Brodie Gray
17. Paul Esslemont
18. Matthew Aitken
19. Morgan Reid
1. Devlin MacKay
2. Trialist
3. Sam Livingston
4. Evan Smith
5. Iain Wilson
6. Aiden Wilson
7. Dylan Pooler
8. Dean Hawkshaw
9. Jack Whittaker
10. Greg Taylor
11. Scott Mclean
12. Andrew Sibbald
13. Ryan Millar
14. Logan Woods
15. Lewis Morrison
Star Player
St Johnstone
Kilmarnock
Jason Kerr gets YFS' vote for the home team's star man. His presence in a stalwart Saints defence steadied the ship in the first half and protected the lead in the dying moments of the second half. His two goals from set pieces showed him to be a handful in the box and a useful man to apply the finish for St Johnstone.
Kilmarnock's Dean Hawkshaw was a thorn in the side of the Saints defence for the entirety of the game. His fifth minute goal was only a sign of things to come, with a very positive ninety minutes from Hawkshaw. Not only was his first half finish of some quality, he was able to lend a hand at his own end in the second half when St Johnstone were pressing hard.
Magic Moment
St Johnstone
Kilmarnock
When Jason Kerr's second goal hit the back of the net, completing a three goal turnaround, the crowd and players were visibly elated and pleased by the team's efforts.
Early in the first half, after a tense first five minutes, Sam Livingston's long ball found Dean Hawkshaw and his chipped finish over Jordan Millar was what burst the game into life.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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