St Mirren 4-1 Kilmarnock- Match Report

Saints secure survival lifelineStephen Thompson took his St Mirren goals tally beyond a half-century as his under-strength side thrashed Kilmarnock 4-1.Thompson netted two second-half penalties to treble his account for the season earn the Scottish Premiership bottom club a survival lifeline as they moved seven points behind Motherwell with four games left.The Great Escape theme tune rang out over the St Mirren Park public address system after goals from Sean Kelly and Kieran Sadlier gave them a deserved half-time lead, and they quickly snuffed out Kilmarnock's comeback hopes after Josh Magennis pulled one back.St Mirren could have been relegated this weekend if Motherwell had beaten Hamilton on Friday night, but victory for Accies was followed by an unexpectedly fruitful afternoon for Gary Teale's inexperienced team as they recorded their second home league win of the season.Their biggest win of the campaign ended a run of five consecutive defeats without scoring and was only the second time in 2015 that they had scored more than one goal in a game.Kilmarnock had asked the Scottish Professional Football League for a home game to mark the 50th anniversary of their title win, but they would have wished they had been anywhere else but Paisley as they produced a string of misplaced passes in the first half

The Ayrshire side have now lost five games in a row and remain seven points above the relegation play-off place.Saints had a selection crisis with Jim Goodwin and Viktor Genev suspended and their fellow centre-back Marc McAusland having left St Mirren Park since their last game

To make matters worse, star midfielder John McGinn was sitting beside Goodwin in the stand on crutches.Teenager Jack Baird came into central defence alongside Kelly with Jeroen Tesselaar slotting into the latter's normal left-back role.But Saints made a bright start and they got the breakthrough in the eighth minute following a blunder by Nathan Eccleston.The forward collected the ball 10 yards outside his box from Craig Samson's punch following a Saints corner but passed it back to Kelly who finished across the goalkeeper.Stephen Mallan was not far over with a shot from the centre circle and Eccleston's day got worse when he got injured in a great penalty box challenge from Baird, a knock that eventually forced him off for Lee Miller.Before then, St Mirren came very close to a second when Thompson charged down Lee Ashcroft's attempted ball forward 10 yards inside the Kilmarnock half

The 36-year-old ran into the box and was just about to shoot but the defender got back to make a sliding challenge to nick the ball off his toes.Thompson soon played a brilliant pass over the head of Killie left-back Ross Barbour to spark St Mirren's second goal in the 33rd minute.James Dayton held the ball up to feed Jason Naismith's bursting run and the full-back's parried shot fell perfectly for Sadlier to nod home from three yards.Marc Ridgers foiled Manuel Pascali and Miller either side of the break but the Saints goalkeeper was soon beaten in the 53rd minute when Magennis took the ball in 22 yards out and turned and fired a powerful strike into the bottom corner.Saints restored their two-goal cushion four minutes later after half-time substitute Alexei Eremenko stopped Mallan's 25-yard free-kick with his arm, earning himself a yellow card.Thompson sent his former team-mate the wrong way from the spot to net his 50th goal for St Mirren.The former Scotland striker soon converted another penalty after Dayton went down under Pascali's challenge despite impassioned pleas of innocence from the Italian.Magennis had a powerful long-range shot parried wide and Miller headed off the post but Saints continued to look dangerous and Mallan curled an audacious free-kick off the bar in the closing stages

Source : PA

Source: PA