Report as St Johnstone come back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at Kilmarnock; Chris Burke and Aaron Tshibola had given the hosts a two-goal cushion before Guy Melamed, Murray Davidson and Ali McCann responded for the visitors
By PA Sport
Saturday 30 January 2021 17:44, UK
Kilmarnock boss Alex Dyer will find himself under renewed pressure after watching his side throw away a two-goal lead to crash 3-2 at home to St Johnstone.
The Rugby Park manager was looking for some respite from the growing grumbles he has faced on the back of just two wins in Killie’s last 10 games.
Things looked to be going to plan when Chris Burke and Aaron Tshibola put the Ayrshiremen ahead at the break.
But Callum Davidson’s Betfred Cup finalists responded brilliantly after the break and claimed a precious win which eases their relegation fears thanks to goals from Guy Melamed, Murray Davidson and Ali McCann.
Both teams started the game locked together on 24 points – but it is Saints who now move seven points clear of the relegation zone as they leapfrog Killie into eighth place.
Dyer was without Stuart Findlay – injured against Livingston in midweek – but skipper Gary Dicker was back on the bench after two months out.
Melamed returned to the Saints’ side after sitting out Wednesday’s goalless draw with Aberdeen.
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But it was clear early on this would be no dull contest, with the hosts striking first.
George Oakley’s flick-on landed in front of both Nicke Kabamba and Saints defender Jason Kerr but it was the Killie man who got a toe to the ball, prodding it into Burke’s path.
The veteran winger still had work to do but he made the most of the opportunity as he turned Scott Tanser inside out before drilling the ball across Zander Clark for his seventh goal of the season.
And they went on to double their lead after 31 minutes.
Rory McKenzie dug a cross past Shaun Rooney to find Kabamba. Tshibola got in the way as he blocked his team-mate’s shot but saved his own blushes by hooking home himself.
It should have been three by the break when Alan Power robbed McCann. Oakley then fed Burke but the pass pushed the former Rangers man wide and Clark was able to parry his shot out for a corner. It proved to be a costly waste.
St Johnstone merited more from the first half than to be two down.
And they got the lucky break they deserved within nine minutes of the second period as they pulled one back.
Chris Kane failed to control Tanser’s cross but the ball broke kindly for Melamed, who poked home just his second Saints goal from close range.
From being in control, Killie were now clinging on.
But they could not cope with Saints’ constant pressure and found themselves behind after conceding twice in just four minutes.
The leveller came on 68 minutes as Kerr headed David Wotherspoon’s swirling free-kick from deep back into the six-yard box, where Davidson bundled it over the line.
And before the hosts could gather their thoughts, they were behind as McCann collected Melamed’s pass before drilling home with a sublime 20-yard finish.
Killie could have salvaged a point late on but Kabamba hooked a golden chance over.
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