Callum Hendry came off the bench to score a last-gasp winner yesterday to get St Johnstone their first win of the season on the tenth attempt.
The home side fell behind midway through the first-half, before turning it around and moving 2-1 ahead. Steve Davies came on to covert a penalty five minutes from time and it looked as if Accies were going to a steal an undeserved point. However it wasn’t to be as Hendry swooped in at the back-post and fired into the roof the net to seal the points for the Saints a couple of minutes from full time.
It was Tommy Wright’s men who started the much better side and created the first opportunity after three minutes, when a cross from Anthony Ralston found the head of Stevie May, but his header was tame and was easily gathered by Owain-Fon Williams.
On the 17th minute The Saints came inches away from opening the scoring when the ball was perfectly teed up for Murray Davidson on the edge of the box and the midfielder’s powerful effort came crashing back off the bar, with Fon-Williams well beaten.
After struggling to get out their own half for the first 20 minutes it was Hamilton who took the lead against the run of the play on the 24th minute. It was a fantastic pass from Adrian Beck to find Mickel Miller, as he latched onto the pass and rolled it under Zander Clark.
Some thought that the home side might have crumbled after falling behind, but the Perthshire side responded well and found an equaliser through David Wotherspoon, who was playing his 250th St Johnstone game. His first effort was blocked initially but the Canadian was the quickest to react and he curled his effort beyond Fon-Williams.
The Saints finished the half strongly and missed a glorious opportunity to go ahead when a Matthew Kennedy cross found Drey Wright at the back-post, but he somehow skied his effort over the bar from a couple of yards out.
Half-Time- St Johnstone 1-1 Hamilton
After a quiet start to the second-half, the game burst into life as Saints on the 55th minute when a long-ranged effort by Wotherspoon hit the post, before the follow-up went over the bar.
Hamilton once again gave Wotherspoon to much space and paid the price five minutes later as he scored his second of the afternoon and put his side ahead as the winger cut inside onto his preferred right foot and curled his effort into the far corner.
There was a growing frustration as the away fans weren’t pleased with what they were seeing and some of the subs left them baffled. In all honestly at this point I thought we were going to lose another goal or two as we were absolutely abysmal and looked like conceding every time St Johnstone went forward.
The game should have been dead and buried as the McDiarmid Park side spurned another excellent opportunity. It was Wright who was the provider as his cross found the hat-rick seeking David Wotherspoon at the back-post, but he put his effort over with the goal gaping.
Out of no where Accies were handed an opportunity to equalise from the penalty spot for the third time in four weeks as Murray Davidson handled the ball in the box. With regular spot-kick taker Ross Cunningham on the bench, the ball was handed to Steve Davies and he made no mistake as he sent Zander Clark the wrong way to get Hamilton level.
Credit has to go to Tommy Wright as he threw on Callum Hendry and went for it in the final five minutes, and within three minutes of coming on the 21-year-old repaid the faith put in him as he fired home the winner with two minutes remaining.
Full Time- St Johnstone 3-2 Hamilton
Yesterday was a terrible watch. We didn’t deserve anything at all and I thought 3-2 flattered us. If we left with a point it would have been daylight robbery. The team left me baffled as well as the substitutions. Why was our top goal scorer(Ross Cunningham) and our best winger(Lewis Smith) on the bench to start with, never mind not even coming on?.
We have been awful the last four games now and have picked up four points. You cant play terrible every week and expect to get a point.
We play Aberdeen on Wednesday and Ross County on Saturday and I expect four points. A draw during the week wouldn’t be to bad, but Saturday is simply a must win as these are the types of games that can defy your season.
What The Gaffers Said To BBC Sport
St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright: “We’re just pleased for the players and fans. It has been a long time coming. We showed everything today. Throughout the performance there was a lot of quality.
“And then at the end the team have shown character because with the run that we’re in, to concede another soft penalty, you then think ‘here we go again’ but we kept at it, still played on the front foot and we were really positive all afternoon. It would have been a total injustice because we were so dominant for the whole game.”
Hamilton manager Brian Rice: “When we got back to 2-2 we should have seen the game out. We lost three goals and that’s very unlike us.
“If you want to come and see five goals it’s a great advert for the league but my concern is losing three goals and coming away from home and scoring two goals without taking anything out of the game. That’s my big concern today.”
St Johnstone XI
Clark, Ralston, Kerr, Duffy, Tanser, Davidson, McCann, Wright(85), Kennedy(90), Wotherspoon, May(73)
Subs- Parish, Vihmann, Craig(90), Swanson, Hendry(85), Kane(73), O’Halloran
Fon-Williams, McGowan, Stubbs, Easton, McMann, Martin(57), Gogic, Hughes, Miller, Beck(71), Oakley(62)
Subs- Gourlay, Hamilton, MacKinnon(57), Smith, Cunningham, Moyo(62), Davies(71)
Referee- Alan Muir
Assistants- Daniel McFarlane + Ralph Gordon
Fourth Official- Kevin Clancy
Goals- Wotherspoon(36,60), Miller(24), Davies(84), Hendry(88)
Yellow Cards- McGowan(79)
Red Cards- 0