Photo by Kilmarnock Women
Kilmarnock made it three wins in a row, but they did it the hard way in overcoming St Johnstone at Jeanfield Swift’s Riverside Park in SWPL 2.
Lisa Swanson’s opener was added to by Kirsty O’Brien’s double and Georgia Crooks, although the Saints did hit back through Morgan Steedman and Ellie Cowie, but Killie held on to win 4-2 and climb to third.
It was the visitors who started the brighter of the two sides and they went close with two corners in the opening minutes, the second of which was headed over by Amy Burrows.
On nine minutes though, they did open the scoring from a set-piece. This time the ball was cleared as far as the edge of the area where Shelley Campbell fired it back goalward, with Swanson claiming the final touch on its way into the net.
St Johnstone went searching for a quick reply when Cowie jinked her way past three defenders before her ball across goal was turned behind by Laura McLaughlin, with a foul awarded against the Saints when the corner was swung in.
Instead, the second goal of the game would go to Kilmarnock just minutes later when the ball fell to O’Brien on the left side of the box, and she sent it flying over Megan Sidey into the far corner to double the away side’s lead.
Once again though, St Johnstone would go close immediately after, with Steedman guilty of missing two glorious chances. Her first effort came when she was found in space on the angle, with her shot only able to hit the side netting, before being played through on goal less than a minute later and this time shooting wide of the target when it looked easier to score.
Saints continued to push and had another effort midway through the half. Niamh Irvine this time missing the target, firing over after a good pass from Brodie Clark.
Much like the first half, the second began at a frantic pace with three goals scored within the first quarter of an hour of the restart.
St Johnstone were first to threaten, and this time Steedman was able to find the goal, showing good composure to round former Saints’ keeper Molly Reeve and slot the ball into the net.
Abby Robinson fired over for Killie on 56 minutes, but their third goal wasn’t long in coming, with St Johnstone inadvertently managing to knock the ball through to Crooks who showed no mercy as she bent a lovely shot beyond Sidey.
The lead was cut to one again just two minutes later though, with Nicole Carter’s corner being headed home by Cowie to give the hosts hope once more.
They really should have been level just beyond the hour mark when the two scorers combined to play Cowie through on goal, but just as she looked odds on to make it 3-3, Reeve came from her goal and did well to block the shot.
Killie themselves then went down the other end and almost extended their lead with Alex Middleton’s cross having to be headed off the line by Nicola Jameison before Monica Harty took the ball around Sidey and shot into the side netting.
The end-to-end football in the second half continued with Alix Moodie’s powerful strike from distance smashing against the post and Steedman then glancing a header wide.
By this stage, St Johnstone were on top, but they couldn’t turn that pressure into goals, and they were caught deep in stoppage time as Killie secured the win with their fourth. O’Brien found herself in space on the edge of the area again and was able to send another shot high past Sidey to round off the scoring and move Killie above Boroughmuir on goal difference.
St Johnstone: Sidey; Colyer, Wight (Cullie, 84), Jameison, H.Clark; Irvine (Trialist, 58), Moodie; B.Clark; Carter, Steedman, Cowie
Kilmarnock: Reeve; Connolly (Gray, 72), Burrows, McLaughlin; Robinson (McCulloch, 90), Campbell, Swan (Galt, 72), O’Brien; Harty; Crooks (Middleton, 59), Swanson
St Johnstone Coach, Murdo Steven:
Kilmarnock Assistant Head Coach, Michael McDougall:
Kilmarnock Goalkeeper, Molly Reeve: