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Under 21's In More Late Drama

       
Penalty Striker Dino                         On Target Jaconelli

St Johnstone 2 - 2 Kilmarnock
(SPL Under 21 Match - McDairmid Park, 7th October 2002, 7.00pm Kick Off)

In an open match, a young Killie side managed to emulate the first team by snatching a draw from the jaws of victory in a game they should have had sewn up at half time. Early on both Di Giacomo and Murray looked lively, although it was the Saints who threatened first from a free kick on the edge of the area with just Briggs failing to connect with a rebound from the left-hand post. Murray continued to probe for Killie although too often his final cross was disappointing.

Di Giacomo looked lively up front, but his exuberance resulted in a warning for a late challenge from behind as early as the 11th minute. The youngster should have opened the scoring after 14 minutes but miss-hit his shot from only 12 yards. This chance was quickly followed by a good left-foot drive from McDonald well saved by Cuthbert in the Saints goal. Shortly afterwards, the same player forced another save from the Saints keeper after a good cross from Murray was laid back by Di Giacomo. Killie continued to dominate central midfield with Mitchell, Boyle and MacDonald controlling the game. The Killie pressure led to several more chances with further Cuthbert saves from Di Giacomo and Boyle, and a close McDonald drive cleared off the line.

Tabloid writers’ dream Manny Panther set up perhaps Saints best chance of the half on 27 minutes, but his centre across the six yard line was cleared by the Killie defence. On 37 minutes Di Giacomo was sent clear by Murray but the young striker shot weakly at Cuthbert to save comfortably. A minute later, though, Killie took the lead from the penalty spot after McDonald was adjudged to have been fouled on the edge of the area. Shaun “Dino” Dillon netted the spot-kick with ease sending the keeper the wrong way. As the half drew to a close, though, Killie opened up the Saints defence on several more occasions, but a combination of good goalkeeping and profligate finishing kept the score at 1-0.

At half-time Killie made one substitution, bringing on Liam McGuinness for Joe Coyle, with Dino switching to centre half. The second half continued in the same vein with Killie dominating possession and good work from Di Giacomo and McDonald especially. Paul managed to pick up a yellow card though in 48 minutes for persistent fouling. In 51 minutes Killie doubled their lead when Jaconelli was sent clear, his composed lob from 25 yards neatly executed. In 51 minutes an excellent passing move involving lead-up work from Boyle, Murray and Jacko ended with a volley from Bully being blocked on the edge of the area. Further chances fell to Jaconelli and Bully but to no avail.

On the hour mark, however, the pattern of play started to change with a couple of Saints substitutions paying dividends. Samson saved well from Noon’s attempted lob and then almost immediately a well-worked Saints free-kick resulted in a penalty as Bully challenged in the box. Saints’ Fotheringham blasted low into the net to pull a goal back for the Perth side. For the remainder of the game the Saints pushed hard for the equalizer, Ferry shooting weakly from 10 yards and Scates bringing a good save from Samson. Killie had a couple of chances to tie the game up but Murray – by now seemingly more interested in noising up the Perth crowd – and Canning both had shots saved. With just a couple of minutes left, St Johnstone got the leveler they probably deserved. Unfortunately for Craig Samson it was his error that ultimately cost Killie – as he flapped at mid air from a corner Darren Dods was on hand to head home to make the score 2-2.

Kilmarnock: Samson, Canning, Dillon, Coyle (McGuiness 45), Innes, Boyle, McDonald, Mitchell, Jaconelli (Logan 79), Murray, Di Giacomo.
Subs (not used): Gilroy, Gold, Bell (GK).

St Johnstone: Cuthbert, Dods, Briggs, Forsyth, Fotheringham, Panther, Ferry, Maher, Parker (MacDonald 19), Noon (Gibson 67), Dodds (Scates 59).
Subs (not used): Greenhill, Gilpin (GK).

Attendance: 150

Match report by Godflesh

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