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Youth Cup: St Mirren 0-1 Ross County



by James Hunter at the Paisley 2021 Stadium

St Mirren were edged out of the Little Big Shot Youth Cup after a late Ross County goal put the Staggies through to the next round. It was a scrappy, even game for the most part with very few clear-cut chances. It seemed like the type of fixture where one goal would be enough and that proved to be the case as County scored the winner with less than 10 minutes to play.

The Saints went into the match without the likes of Lewis Morgan, Kyle McAllister and Jaison McGrath and their absence showed in the early proceedings with St Mirren not able to create any openings. Ross County went close when one of their players flicked the ball on from a corner but it sailed over the bar. County’s Ross Malcolm went close as he managed to burst through on goal but smashed his shot high and wide.

St Mirren’s best chance of the half came with a little over 20 minutes on the clock when Lewis McLear sprang the offside trap to bear down on goal but saw his effort hit the side netting from a tight angle. A few moments later a good reverse ball to Cameron MacPherson put Saints in on goal again but his opportunity didn’t threaten Mark Foden in the Ross County goal as it went by the post.

Dan Wilks played his part in making sure it stayed 0-0 soon after as he made a terrific block to deny Darren Moffat. The Staggies number 7 was in acres of space inside the box but Wilks got down quickly to keep the score level. The Saints defence was asleep a few minutes later as they allowed Russell Dingwall to ghost through but the shot was fired straight at Wilks.

The Buddies came out after the break with an added urgency and Kyle Magennis was the first to go close as he blasted a shot just wide. Jack Harrison, who had come on in the first half for the injured Darren Whyte, had what was perhaps the best chance of the game with 53 minutes on the clock. A free kick was floated deep into the box and found the unmarked Harrison whose effort was superbly stopped by Foden.

Harrison went close a few minutes later as he got his head onto the end of a corner but the ball went agonisingly over the top. A similar Ross County opening presented itself soon after as Greg Morrison headed a free kick just by the post.

The game descended into a bit of a scrappy affair with not many opportunities created by either side for a spell. Saints looked like they were on the ascendancy beginning with a Jordan Stewart deflected strike easily into the arms of Foden. McLear was desperately unlucky not to have opened the scoring in the 75th minute as he rose above Foden to nod MacPherson’s free kick goal-bound only to see a Ross County player on the line that headed away.

The deciding goal game in the 82nd minute after a slack pass back allowed Ross County’s Darren Moffat to knock the ball past Wilks and tap in to the empty net. Saints made a final change with Matthew Reilly coming on to try and turn the game but it was too late and Ross County progress.

St Mirren: Wilks, Morrison, Stewart, Beattie, Whyte (Harrison 35), McDonald (Cameron 62), Magennis, Cuddihy, McLear, MacPherson (Reilly 85), O’Keefe.
Unused Substitutes: Docherty, Willison (GK).

David Longwell said after the match: “It is a very disappointing result especially with a bad error costing us the game.

“Unfortunately we were missing too many of our quality players today through injury and suspension and we lacked the quality in scoring the goals we needed. We had opportunities but didn’t take them and then got done with the sucker punch when a bad error resulted in County scoring with minutes left. Credit to County though in their organisation and work ethic to not concede.

“It’s as much disappointing for the ones that were missing today, as the opportunity of a semi final was up for grabs but unfortunately the players on the pitch couldn’t take their chances today.”

Match report pictures and match gallery pictures © John Millar.

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