Vine seals win for Saints

PA Sport
Rowan Vine grabbed a late winner for St Johnstone

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Rowan Vine grabbed a late winner for St Johnstone

Rowan Vine struck two minutes from time to hand St Johnstone a 2-1 victory over Kilmarnock in what was a bad-tempered clash at Rugby Park.

Home captain Manuel Pascali was controversially sent-off after four minutes, for a two-footed challenge on Nigel Hasselbaink.

Murray Davidson slotted the away side ahead on the half-hour mark, however the hosts battled back and grabbed a deserved equaliser seven minutes from the end when Michael Nelson headed home from James Dayton's free-kick. The game looked set for a stalemate but Vine fired home on 88 minutes to clinch all three points for Steve Lomas' side.

Referee Stevie O'Reilly infuriated the home support after dismissing Pascali for what he deemed to be a two-footed challenge on Hasselbaink after just four minutes. Killie boss Kenny Shiels was enraged at the decision and was sent to the stands after a heated debate with fourth official Andrew Dallas.

The game took a while to settle following an action packed opening and Steven MacLean passed up the first scoring opportunity of the match when he headed straight at Cammy Bell after Gregory Tade's flick-on.

Hasselbaink was feeling the wrath of the home supporters every time he touched the ball, however the effects of Pascali's challenge became evident as he hobbled off on the half-hour mark to be replaced by Vine.

The visitors made the breakthrough two minutes later when Tade laid the ball to Davidson and the midfielder slotted low past Bell for his fifth goal of the season.

Saints looked the most likely to add to the scoring and Liam Craig ended an excellent breakaway by flashing an effort just wide of the target after 58 minutes.

Shiels introduced Danny Racchi and Dayton in place of Jeroen Tesselaar and Borja Perez with 10 minutes remaining and the hosts reaped the rewards almost instantly. Dayton's deep free-kick found Nelson who angled a superb header beyond the despairing Alan Mannus.

Racchi saw his effort deflected wide and Mohamadou Sissoko headed past the post as the hosts heaped on the the pressure in the closing stages. There was still time for another twist though and Vine charged through on goal before firing past Bell to ensure all three points for St Johnstone.

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