January 18, 2019

Report: Stenhousemuir 1-3 St Mirren

By James Hunter at Ochilview Park

Saints geared up for their League Cup opener against Livingston next week with a 3-1 win over Stenhousemuir at Ochilview. Alex Rae fielded a strong team with match fitness clearly the aim ahead of the Betfred Cup tie next Saturday at the Tony Macaroni Arena.

It was a scrappy affair early on with Rocco Quinn skewing a shot wide after getting into a good position to latch on to Calum Gallagher’s cross. It was the hosts though who took the lead with just 13 minutes on the clock. A ball down the right found Jack Smith who had escaped from Gary Irvine and broke into the box before drilling the ball beyond Gallacher.

Calum Gallagher stung the palms of Stenny goalkeeper Colin McCabe with the nearest Saints had come to an equaliser moments before Stenhousemuir’s Jamie McCormack had a goal ruled out for offside.

The Buddies were level minutes after the offside call with David Clarkson tapping in from a few yards out. Ben Gordon’s shot was saved by McCabe but the ball fell kindly at the feet of Clarkson who was on hand to turn the ball into the gaping net.

Half-Time: Stenhousemuir 1-1 St Mirren

It took until the hour mark for anything major to happen in the second half and it came in the shape of two goals in two minutes to put St Mirren firmly in control of the match.

John Sutton grabbed the first of the two, adding to the two goals he scored in a closed door game on Tuesday night. The Englishman had all the time in the world to calmly slot the ball beyond McCabe after being played in by strike partner Clarkson.

Little more than a minute later Clarkson got himself on the scoresheet for the second time when he brilliantly lobbed McCabe from outside the box.

There were calls for a penalty when Nathan Flanagan fell over in the box, as he went down under the challenge of a trialist for Stenhousemuir but the referee was uninterested in the appeals.

Just before the final whistle blew, Clarkson almost got his hat-trick with a strike that went just over the bar.

The Saints will play one more closed door game next week ahead of the Betfred Cup group stages getting underway next Saturday.

Full-Time: Stenhousemuir 1-3 St Mirren

Stenhousemuir: McCabe, McCormack, Summers, Meechan, Kerr, Millar, McCroary, Stirling, McMenamin, Smith, Trialist.
Subs Not Used: Nash, Trialist, Cook, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist, Robertson (GK).

St Mirren: Gallacher, Naismith, Webster, Gordon (Baird 66), Irvine (Stewart 79), Clarkson, Quinn, Sutton, Mallan, Gallagher (Flanagan 61), Hutton (Morgan 53).
Subs Not Used: Fawkes, McAllister, McLear, Langfield (GK).

Referee: Alan Muir.
Assistant Referee: Mark McLean.
Assistant Referee: Tony Kelly.

Attendance: TBC (TBC St Mirren fans)

St Mirren manager, Alex Rae said after the game: “At the half time stage we decided that we needed to get a wee bit more intensity to our play, we were laboured. We got an intensity which ultimately came from the two strikers trying to press the ball up the field and that allowed our backline to get higher. We need to play with that purpose that we finished with.”

Speaking on the partnership between David Clarkson and John Sutton, the manager said: “They seem to be building up a nice little partnership. They’ve got a good understanding of where they want to be, they take up good areas and it is bearing fruit in front of goal. I think if you are a striker coming into a season and you manage to score goals in the pre-season friendlies then it can only bode well for the season starting.

“We’re always trying to push the boys for more and trying to get a wee bit more structure to what we’re trying to do. We had an hour and 20 minute meeting on Friday with video analysis and I can see it is painful for them but it needs to be done and then we did a practical session. When I look at the game today in terms of the structure, it was so much better than it was midweek against Stirling. It’s a process, it’s going to take time and we just need to keep pushing the boys and hopefully when it comes to matchday we’re ready.”