Killie 2 - 1 St Johnstone
SPFL Match 8 - September 9th 2015 - Rugby Park
SPFL Match 8 - September 9th 2015 - Rugby Park
No. of Shots
Shots on Target
|Goals||Magennis 40' McKenzie 60'||
21 MacDonald (Brennan - 53' ) 12 Westlake (O'Hara - 38' ), 18 Ashcroft, 05 Findlay, 22 McHattie, 23 Kiltie (Obadeyi - 76' ), 04 Hamill, 19 Slater ,11 Higginbotham, 07 McKenzie, 28 Magennis
Subs Not Used: 08 Robinson, 09 Boyd, 17 Splaine & 26 Balatoni
Killie went into today’s game against St Johnstone having only won three games at Rugby Par in 11 months and only one game in the last 15 against St Johnstone. Josh Magennis was on fire that day in Perth and the 2900 Killie fans that turned up were looking for more of the same. Under fire boss, Gary Locke, decided to stick with the team that grinded out a result at Tannadice last week, with Josh Magennis leading the line, supported by McKenzie, Higginbotham and Kiltie. Saints boss Tommy Wright was forced into a change, with last week's hat-trick hero Steven MacLean forced to sit out the match on doctor’s orders due to Killie’s dreaded artificial pitch (more on that later). John Sutton took MacLean’s place up front.
Killie started the match well enough with good hold-up play in the middle and plenty of possession. St Johnstone had a call for a penalty early in the half but the match referee Collum decided to try and stay out of the limelight and shook his head. Collum, however, had no choice but to book Slater on only seven minutes after he scythed down Michael O'Halloran on the wing. Josh Magennis had the first of Killie’s shots at goal on the 15 minute mark but he blasted high from the edge of box when a little more intelligence was required.
Then, against the run of play, St Johnstone got their first shot on target and the first goal of the game. The ball was played out to their left and as Westlake meandered out to meet the Cummins he took his time to steady himself and fire in a wicked cross. Said cross was well met by the head of an unmarked John Sutton and whilst the header beat a scrambling Jamie MacDonald, it didn’t beat the post. However, the Killie defence were slow to react and David Wotherspoon slotted home the rebound. This was just Wotherspoon's second goal in more than two years, whilst Killie’s search for a clean sheet continues.
Killie lost their way a little after the goal, but were lucky that St. Johnstone were not too bothered about searching for a second in order to kill the game off. Both Hamill and Kiltie had shots at goal but with blocks and targeting issues, Mannus didn’t have a save to make.
The hosts were forced into a change on 37 minutes after Westlake went down on the wing. Murmurs of dissent concerning the artificial pitch had started amongst the Killie faithful. Utility man Mark O’Hara replaced Westlake at right-back. Nevertheless, two minutes later, Killie had drawn level. Kiltie was fed the ball on the wing, and he had time and space to steady himself and fire a fantastic cross, Killie’s first of the game, into the box. On hand was St Johnstone nemesis, Josh Magennis, to stay onside, out-leap the Saints’ defence, and guide the ball into the back of the net. Poison identifier Magennis, quick to attempt to silence his growing number of critics. Still, it was the least Killie deserved and they went into the tunnel at 1-1.
St. Johnstone subbed Fisher for Anderson during the break but it was Killie who were forced into another substitution on the 53rd minute. Ashcroft lost out to Sutton whilst trying to marshal a ball out for a goal kick, Sutton squared the ball to his strike partner but the ball was blasted high. Meanwhile, MacDonald had twisted his knee whilst getting ready for the shot. Young Brennan came on and took a few high balls to steady the Killie fan’s nerves. Those murmurs about the artificial pitch were starting to get louder.
Nevertheless, it was more of the same in the second half. Killie had most of the possession, with McKenzie, Higginbotham and O’Hara all going on mazy runs as Hamill and Slater controlled the midfield. McHattie, quick to get up the field, had shots at goal, along with Kiltie, Magennis and McKenzie. However, it was a stroke of luck that aided Killie in their second goal of the game. After some good work down the wing from the impressive McKenzie, he attempted a cross into the box for goal-scorer Magennis. The ball took a wicked deflection off Brian Easton and just as the Killie fans were getting ready to shout for a corner, the ball slipped past Mannus and under the cross bar for the flukiest goal at Rugby Park since Pasca "would score just for fun and to have a laugh” against the now defunct Rangers.
The Perth Saints brought on Lappin for Liam Craig in an effort to try to win the midfield battle, but the impressive Hamill and Slater were having none of it. Killie pressed on and Higginbotham was unlucky not to score with a neat shot bouncing off the base of Mannus’ post.
Next up for an injury was last week’s hero McHattie. He seemed to be struggling to shake off a lower back issue with Hamill and Findlay often having to cover for his lacklustre challenges. However, Locke brought on Obadeyi for Kiltie and the English winger did well to help out in defence whilst also entertaining and annoying the Killie fans in equal measure with his unique brand of football.
Tommy Wright brought on Chris Kane for the ineffective Sutton but even after some late possession, St Johnstone could not find the equaliser.
All in all, a good win against an uninspiring St Johnstone side. However, Killie fans will be concerned about the injuries to McHattie, Westlake, and MacDonald. Next up is Hearts in the cup on Wednesday evening. Perhaps at £15 a head, more Killie fans will turn up to support their team.
Gary Locke: "To Follow"
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