Bog standard friendly draw restores some normality to goal-laden St Andrews United fixtures

St Andrews United go up against Broughty. Pic Blair Smith.
St Andrews United go up against Broughty. Pic Blair Smith.

A low-key 1-1 midweek draw with Hill of Beath brought some sort of normality to what has been a high octane pre-season for Saints.

A Ryan McInnes penalty cancelled out a counter by the Haws as Andy Brown’s side continues to build up fitness ahead of the new season.

The club has already played a handful of friendlies - including a bizarre ten goal encounter with Broughty.

It’s safe to say things got off to a disastrous start for United, shipping seven goals in the opening half.

But they managed to regroup and restored some respect, eventually losing 7-3.

Broughty took the lead in the just the second minute when Marc Scott capitalised upon a terrible mix-up between Josh Fital and goalkeeper Matt Curtis.

Scott doubled his side’s tally moments later with a well-placed shot.

The visitors continued to dominate proceedings as the first half progressed and Gary Fraser added number three by converting a well-worked free kick in the wake of a pass back that was handled by Curtis before Scott cut-in from the left wing to complete his hat trick.

The Broughty players were quicker and passed the ball better than their hosts throughout the first half as well as using two wingers to great effect so the contest was very one-sided.

Goal number five came from a superb Ryan McCord free kick before Fraser curled a great shot past Curtis from the edge of the box.

St Andrews United’s Dylan Honeyman subsequently fired a shot over the bar when he really should have hit the target.

But Broughty moved further ahead in the 43rd minute when another move down the left ended with Scott calmly picking his spot past a helpless Curtis.

The Saints’ players looked deflated at that point yet a well-taken Charlie King penalty following a trip on Honeyman stopped the rot right on the stroke of half time.

Indeed, the introduction of Ryan McInnes for Stephen Stark at the start of the second period, combined with the Broughty players easing off the gas as they played up the slope, made for a more evenly matched contest thereafter.

Daryl Falconer missed a glorious chance in the 70th minute when he shot straight at Gordon Chalmers and the frustrations of several players resulted in the referee showing his yellow card more than desired.

However, Anesu Sweeney pulled another goal back with a fantastic long-range effort that curled away from the outstretched hand of Chalmers.

McInnes grabbed a third when he tapped home a rebound from inside the six-yard box.

The was still time for Broughty’s Derryn Kesson to be sent from the field for raising his hands to Fital and the St Andrews United right back was lucky to stay on the park for his role in the incident.

A clubs spokesman said following the game: “Saints will not face too many teams as strong as Broughty Athletic during the ensuing East of Scotland season but the performance levels will need to increase when the competitive action begins at the end of the month.”

Stirling University (LL) 4-0 St Andrews United

Saints lost by four goals for the second time in two days at Stirling University but a host of players were again missing from the squad.

Jason Penman, Josh Fital, Michael Fleming, Scot Cunningham, Nick Rendall and Jake Grady were all absent, yet Ross Cunningham made the bench after his holiday, whilst Anesu Sweeney made a rare start.

United were looking for improvement, but again came up against a really strong outfit in Stirling.

Unfortunately, Stirling University’s first team regulars dominated the match from start to finish, though it must be noted that they will compete two tiers above St Andrews United next season.

Louis Kennedy opened the scoring following a terrific solo run through a flat-footed defence then Aidan Peden beat Matt Curtis with a superb left-footed volley from 25 yards.

The students therefore led by two goals at half time before Conor Doan added a third with a dipping free kick that deceived Curtis in the 47th minute.

Doan subsequently notched his second of the friendly to round off a neat passing move but Saints’ boss Andy Brown was not too disheartened after the game.

He said: “We have faced two really good sides in less than 48 hours so the boys have been made to work hard.

“Obviously the display during first 25 minutes against Broughty was totally unacceptable but we had a talk during half time on Thursday and performed much better in the second half.

“We are still working on our shape and fitness levels so the game at Stirling was a useful exercise.

“Facing a side from a much higher level without half a dozen players was always going to be tough, even in a friendly, but the result does not really matter.

“We will continue to work on improving aspects of our play throughout the next two friendlies and I’m sure we will be ready to hit the ground running at the start of the new league campaign.”