Saints mark historic evening with 3-2 win over Kennoway
St Andrews United and Kennoway Star Hearts made history by playing a semi-professional football match under floodlights in Fife’s Auld Grey Toon for the first time ever.
United manager Barry Cockburn was unable to select Lewis Sawers, Adam Davidson and Jason Penman due to illness but named local youngsters Cameron Sneddon, Scot Cunningham and Innes Hegg as trialists on the bench.
Star Hearts started strongly and Lee Bryce thought he had scored in the third minute, only to be denied by a late flag from linesman Dave McLaren.
Jake Grady then went close at the other end of the park as he forced Andy Warrender into make a good block.
Kyle Moran produced a wonderful diving save to prevent Bryce from finding the net with a powerful header in the 15th minute.
Liam Craig opened the scoring moments later with a shot from 25 yards out.
Former St Andrews United striker Daryl Falconer missed an open goal with a back post header and Moran did well to hold a firmly struck shot from Ross Balmer as the visitors sought to make the most of their superiority.
Bryce was also guilty of wasting a glorious opportunity with a terrible miss on the stroke of half-time and Saints were fortunate to be within a goal of Star Hearts at the interval.
Kennoway added a second goal in the 51st minute when Ally Griffin poked home a loose ball at a corner.
St Andrews United boss Cockburn substituted Fraser Anderson and Cameron Sneddon for Callum Macauly and trialist Graeme Findlay as well as changing the shape of his team in a bid to shift the balance of power.
Ross Cunningham reverted to his familiar left wing berth and Evan Stanfield moved forward to partner Grady in attack as Saints adopted a classic 4-4-2 formation.
Grady reduced the deficit with a superb solo goal in the 75th minute by running from deep before curling a terrific shot just inside Warrender’s left-hand post.
Kennoway had been coasting at that point but the visitors were fuming when referee Terry Ormiston pointed to the spot three minutes later after Griffin pushed Reece Redpath to the ground inside the box.
Grady looked confident as he grabbed the ball and the young striker made no mistake from the spot to equalise for St Andrews United.
The game really burst into life and the home defence struggled to contend with a series of corners before Moran made a world class save from a point-blank effort by substitute Murray Black.
Saints were desperately hanging on to a point at that stage yet a counter attack resulted in Warrender coming out of his box to clear a dangerous long pass by Cunningham.
However, the former United goalkeeper only headed the ball as far as Stanfield and the alert striker hoisted a clever lob back over Warrender’s head.
The large crowd, numbering a total of 206 spectators, roared as the ball hit the net.
In the closing minutes Redpath received a second yellow card for a clumsy challenge on Craig Wallace.
Wallace was lucky to stay on the park for his aggressive reaction to the incident as United held on for the memorable victory.