Photo by Malcolm Mackenzie
A professional second half display from Dundee United was enough for them to respond from a goal down to go top of the league, winning 5-1 at Station Park against St Johnstone.
The away side took the lead after 10 minutes with the visitors showing an effective approach to their play. A looping ball over the top by Hannah Clark found Morgan Steedman who beat the offside trap and produced a stunning lob beyond the reach of Lauren Perry from 20 yards to open the scoring for the visitors.
Graham Hart’s side looked for a route back into the game with numerous set-pieces which failed to trouble the St Johnstone backline. Cassie Cowper attempted to retrieve matters for the hosts midway through the first half with a swinging free kick but nobody in Tangerine was reactive to the situation.
Cowper then attempted an illustrious free kick from 30 yards which sailed over the bar, the story of Dundee United’s half predominantly where they tried to break the St Johnstone door open but were resorted to legitimate long range efforts going over Megan Sidey’s bar.
Dundee United got the equaliser they craved seven minutes before the break though. Cowper put an immaculate delivery into the box which broke to Rachel Todd, slicing the ball into the bottom right corner past the swamped St Johnstone defence to guide a fine effort into the net. Unfortunate for a resolute St Johnstone side but an excellent response for Dundee United after going a goal behind.
The hosts took the lead six minutes after the restart, the ball breaking to Robyn Smith after a good ball down the left and Smith produced a sublime finish, slotting the ball into the bottom left corner from just outside the box past substitute goalkeeper Rebecca Cameron to put United in pole position.
Smith was a proactive figure for United and stepped up a gear in the second period. After the goal, she sent in a great corner from the right which eventually found Danielle McGinley who headed in but she was thwarted by the offside flag.
Both players then combined to double the advantage for United. Smith found McGinley who got her rewards for a fine display, her header cannoning off the crossbar and into the net to make it 3-1 United after 57 minutes.
McGinley was in the mood for more afterwards and after Cowper spun a free kick into her direction, her powerful effort towards goal was tipped around the post superbly by St Johnstone custodian Cameron, who kept the visitors in the contest despite the predicament her side faced in the second period.
Neve Guthrie killed the game off as a contest with 11 minutes remaining, getting on the end of a Smith cross before slotting home at Cameron’s near post in what was a fine afternoon’s work despite going a goal behind.
The scoring was complete in the dying stages of the match with Smith going down under the challenge of Nicola Jamieson. Up stepped McGinley for her second of the game, marking off a good performance from the experienced forward, making it 5-1 United in the process.
Not to be for St Johnstone but full credit to Dundee United who showed resilience before stepping up the performance levels in the second half. If St Johnstone replicate their first half display then they’ll continue to challenge and be competitive.
Dundee United: Perry, McMillan (Burns 67), Ross (Kern 71), Smith (Laing 86), Todd, McLaren, McGinley, Clemison (Henderson 83), Cowper, Guthrie (Robb 83), Foote: Subs not used: Airlie, Ballach
St Johnstone: Sidey (Cameron 40), Irvine (Ovens 44), Jamieson, Wight, Hannah Clark, Moodie, Carter (Maciver 64), Brodie Clark, Cowie, Steedman: Subs: Cullie, Newbigging
Dundee United Head Coach, Graeme Hart:
St Johnstone Coach, John Fettes:
Dundee United Midfielder, Rachel Todd:
St Johnstone Forward, Morgan Steedman: