What a difference a week made for United

editorial image

What a difference a week makes!

Disappointment which shrouded Recreation Park like a persistent sea haar was replaced with bright sunshine on Saturday after St Andrews United came back from a trip across the Tay with all three points from the proverbial six-pointer at Lochee United.

Saints boss Jim Hardie reverted to the formation that had proved to be successful at Cumnock and Kilbirnie, which meant Gary Sutherland dropped to the bench to be replaced by Sam Buchan and Johnny MacRae came in for Ryan McInnes. Lochee kept the same side that had defeated Bathgate the week before which meant Paul Blackwood and Grant Lawson could only find places on the bench.

The home side were the first to show when a long ball was flicked on by Voigt to Irons but the former Dundee man was adjudged offside.

Lochee had certainly had the better start but St Andrews could have taken the lead when Dignan beat Browne with ease before whipping the ball across the box to Patrick whose vicious effort was well-blocked by McGuire.

On the 10th minute, Irons lost his marker on the right but saw his shot well saved by Bennett in the Saints’ goal.

Porteous was harshly penalised for a foul on Voigt but the free kick went high and wide without troubling anybody.

Phil Hagen who, up until the 15th minute, had been largely anonymous, broke free past Fotheringham but his cross was cleared behind for a corner.

St Andrews began to grow in confidence and when a free--kick found Patrick in the box, Van der Deyl had to pull off a brilliant save to deny the Saints’ skipper.

St Andrews took the lead after 29 minutes and what a stunning goal it was, a throw-in on the right from Patrick was knocked back to McMullan and the full back launched a missile of a shot in to the far corner, well beyond the keeper’s reach.

Lochee looked stunned and United should have made it two after fine work from MacRae and McMullan, when Suttie let fly but his shot went inches wide with the keeper beaten.

Suttie was rewarded when he rose to flick home a MacRae corner, giving United a deserved 2-0 lead, and went close again but saw his shot well saved by Van der Deyl.

Saints were forced in to a change at half time, with Allan Ramsay replacing Adam Porteous who had a slight knock, but continued to look in control and had the ball in the net on the 56th minute but Fotheringham had handled during its passage and was shown a yellow card for his troubles.

Saints pressed on, playing flowing football, and a good move on the left saw Dignan feed the ball through to Watson who was just offside.

Lochee made a double substitution, with Lawson and Blackwood replacing Irons and Gallacher.

The MacRae/ Watson combination on the left was working well and Watson saw himself in acres of space before firing the ball across goal which was deflected wide for a corner.

Buchan was shown a yellow card for a late challenge on Hagen, who got up to take the free kick. The referee then gave Lochee a lifeline when he adjudged that Hay and been pushed in the box, and the defender took the kick himself and stroked it beyond Bennett and into the net.

Ryan McInnes replaced Ryan Suttie for St Andrews before former Saint Ross Grant replaced Bannon for the home side. United held firm under increased Lochee pressure and most attacks came to nothing.

Bennett brilliantly turned a Voigt effort round the post before Rattray made a stunning goal line clearance from Blackwood on full time.

United have five more league fixtures to go, starting with Kelty tomorrow (Saturday), another two victories should see them safe.