United continue their recovery

St Andrews United goalkeeper Kyle MoranSt Andrews United goalkeeper Kyle Moran
St Andrews United goalkeeper Kyle Moran
Craigroyston……..…………..2St Andrews United…….….4

St Andrews United recorded back-to-back wins for the first time since December 2019 with a convincing victory at Craigroyston. Saints played towards the pavilion end in the first half but the opening stages of the encounter proved to be fairly dull as both teams struggled on a difficult surface. It was certainly proving tough to keep the ball totally under control and decent chances were few and far between as a result. The Craigroyston players also set a high line during the first period yet Grady caused problems with ongoing breaks through the home defence. Unfortunately, the United forwards did not trouble goalkeeper Ben Gibbs over the course of the first 45 minutes and the only goal of the half came at the other end of the park in the 33rd minute. A St Andrews United attack broke down when a cross from the right was intercepted and Rhys Crawford collected the ball in midfield. Crawford then found Dylan Tait with a pass through the middle and the latter gave Kyle Moran no chance with a shot smashed low to the goalkeeper’s left from just inside the box. Craigroyston subsequently pushed more players nearer to the visitors’ area as the interval approached and Moran did well to claim a cross not long after conceding. Amazingly, St Andrews United earned eleven corners to Craigie’s one during the first half so the away supporters were disappointed with the conversion rate. Thankfully, the Saints’ forwards made amends at the start of the second half as substitute Evan Stanfield equalised in the 50th minute when he made perfect contact with a Reece Redpath pass. Lewis Sawers then gave United the lead less than a minute later as the Craigroyston backline was again caught napping. Ross Cunningham chipped a delightful ball between full back and centre half, and Sawers took a touch with his chest before firing a low shot into the bottom right-hand corner of the net. St Andrews United looked to move out of sight thereafter and Jake Grady was next to beat Gibbs when he caught up with a long pass from Fraser Anderson prior to chipping the goalie from the edge of the box. The Craigroyston players thus upped the pace in a bid to get back into the contest and Moran made a couple of good saves, including a solid catch from a long-range effort by Sam Tait. Craigie manager Ryan Dinse also substituted both of his centre backs in the 69th minute and his team responded by creating further chances, including a shot that narrowly sailed over Moran’s bar. Indeed, a brief period of pressure resulted in the home team halving the deficit in the 82nd minute when a long ball through the inside right channel gave Chris Jack the chance to run at Moran one-on-one. The goalie almost did enough to block the chance by sliding outside his box but the ball deflected off Jack’s chest and the replacement striker took full advantage of the lucky break to make the score 3-2. That effort caused concern to Saints at the time yet Grady put the result beyond doubt following the very next attack. Straight from kick off, the ball was played back to Moran and the goalie’s long punt was headed up in the air by a defender. Grady consequently took the opportunity to find the net with a terrific half volley from the edge of the box and St Andrews United’s victory was well-deserved in the end.

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