Saints hopes of staying up suffer after 1-0 defeat

St Andrews dropped all three points at home to Hill of Beath.
St Andrews dropped all three points at home to Hill of Beath.

St Andrews United’s chances of avoiding the drop down to the Premier League were dealt a blow as Hill of Beath Hawthorn carried out a smash and grab raid.

Manager Gus Malone was once again forced in to changing his side, Barry Sibanda was injured in training and couldn’t take part, while midfielder Ryan McInnes served the first game of a two game ban.

Greg Whyte came in to the back four for his debut and Jamie Mackie replaced McInnes in midfield.

A Ross Allum effort was brilliantly blocked by Whyte on 12 minutes.

Buchan was next to put himself in the way when he got back to block a Calum Adamson cross.

The visitors continued to dominate and should have taken the lead on the half hour as both Allum and Smith left a Wardlaw cross when it needed just a faint touch to direct the ball beyond McEwan.

Saints first real effort on goal came on 35 minutes when the ball was worked back to McMullan who forced Hall in to a save, from all of 30 yards.

Just as Saints were getting hold of the game it all came unravelled.

A Mackie free-kick was charged down and cleared to Allum who raced clear of the chasing United defenders to slot the ball past McEwan.

Saints looked a bit livelier in the second half and Sutherland thought he had equalised on 51 minutes but appeared to be somewhat harshly adjudged offside.

Patrick was next to shoot wide on 69 minutes after good work be Kadela.

The visitors weren’t prepared to take any more chances and brought on midfield reinforcements who managed to stifle any attacking intent from Saints.

Worrying for United supporters was the lack of fight from the squad, but more importantly the sight of Barry Sibanda on the touchline.

Saints : McEwan, McMullan, Wedderburn, Drummond, Patrick, Buchan, Sutherland, L Sibanda, Mackie, Whyte, Kadela (Port)

Subs : Trialist, McGuire, Whyte T, Ramsay.