Football - Win over Well lifts Saints

St Johnstone moved into the top half of the Scottish Premiership with a 2-0 home victory as Motherwell squandered the opportunity to claim second spot.

PA Sport Report

Stevie May and Nigel Hasselbaink were both on the score sheet with second-half goals in the clash at McDiarmid Park in front of just 2,449 fans.

Paddy Cregg and Tom Scobbie were added to the St Johnstone starting line-up for the visit of Well, replacing the suspended Frazer Wright and the injured Steven MacLean.

New signing Sanel Jahic was named on the bench after penning a short-term deal earlier in the week.

Motherwell also made two changes, with Bob McHugh and Paul Lawson added to the side, and Zaine Francis-Angol and Henri Anier both dropping to the bench.

The home side enjoyed the better start to the game and Cregg saw his shot flash wide from 18 yards in the opening minutes after being teed up by Hasselbaink.

Brian Easton then picked out David Wotherspoon in front of goal but his header was deflected past the post for a corner that Saints failed to capitalise on.

At the other end, Well came close with the best chance of the first half when John Sutton threw himself in front of a decent cross from Simon Ramsden and nodded on the wrong side of the upright.

With half-time approaching and the match still deadlocked, Wotherspoon resorted to a shot from distance that was off-target and did little to trouble Gunnar Nielsen in the Motherwell goal.

Saints then passed up another chance to open the scoring before the break when the ball broke for Gary McDonald in front of goal and he connected awkwardly and finished poorly.

The breakthrough came four minutes after the restart when the home side surged into the lead.

Nielsen produced a great save to prevent McDonald's impressive overhead kick from finding the back of the net but May pounced to slot home the rebound from close range.

Motherwell could have been back on level terms but goalkeeper Alan Mannus came to the rescue with a point blank save to deny Shaun Hutchinson from six yards out.

Instead, it was Saints who had the net bulging again on 64 minutes.

Nielsen slipped on the slick surface while trying to deal with a Ramsden passback, allowing Hasselbaink to claim possession and rifle into the far bottom corner.

Hasselbaink could have claimed his second of the day when he collected a fine pass from May and found himself one-on-one with Nielsen, but the keeper went some way to making amends with a decent block.

View comments (0)
  • Inside Football With: Paul McVeigh - Why City are hot and Chelsea are not

    Inside Football With: Paul McVeigh - Why City are hot and Chelsea are not

    Former footballer and now mental performance coach Paul McVeigh digs into why Manchester City is firing on all cylinders and why Chelsea aren't - and it's not to do with talent. More »

    Inside Football - Tue, Sep 1, 2015 09:28 BST
  • Andy Cole: Time for United and de Gea to move on

    Andy Cole: Time for United and de Gea to move on

    Andy Cole gives his verdict on the David de Gea transfer saga, and where both club and player need to go now. More »

    Andy Cole - 20 hours ago
  • Premier League - Noble has red card rescinded

    Premier League - Noble has red card rescinded

    Mark Noble will be available for West Ham's first fixture after the international break against Newcastle after the red card he received against Liverpool was rescinded. More »

    Eurosport - 48 minutes ago
  • Ones to Watch: Nolito

    Ones to Watch: Nolito

    Our latest La Liga player to watch is from unfancied Celta Vigo, but who is better than Lionel Messi. (At least in terms of average key passes per game) More »

    Andrew Gaffney - Tue, Sep 1, 2015 10:49 BST
  • West Brom's Berahino given time off to consider future

    West Brom's Berahino given time off to consider future

    West Bromwich Albion's England under-21 striker Saido Berahino will be given time off until next Monday to consider his position after suggesting he would not play for the club again, sources close to the player said on Wednesday. Berahino was furious after negotiations on a proposed move to Tottenham Hotspur broke down on the final day of the transfer window, with Albion chairman Jeremy Peace blaming Spurs for undervaluing and unsettling the player with four different bids. "I can officially say I will never play (for) Jeremy Peace," Berahino tweeted on Tuesday. More »

    Reuters - 3 hours ago