St Mirren end three-match winless run with victory against Livingston

The Saints stay third in the Premiership with a 1-0 win.

St Mirren end three-match winless run with victory against Livingston SNS Group

St Mirren returned to winning ways after a dominant 1-0 victory over Livingston in the Premiership.

Sean Kelly turned the ball into his own net with eight minutes remaining in the first half to give Saints their first victory in four matches.

St Mirren, who remain in third place in the table, passed up numerous chances to add to their lead as well as having a goal ruled out by VAR in the closing stages.

Livingston find themselves bottom after another toothless showing.

Jonah Ayunga made his first appearance since January when he was named in the Saints starting XI in place of Ryan Strain, who has been ruled out with a groin injury. Stephen Robinson also welcomed back skipper Mark O’Hara, who missed the 4-0 defeat at Dundee due to illness.

David Martindale handed Michael Nottingham his first start for the club as the Livingston boss made three changes to the team that lost 2-0 to Rangers last time out. Jason Holt and Kurtis Guthrie were preferred to Luiyi De-Lucas and Mo Sangare, while Cristian Montano was unable to recover from a hamstring injury.

O’Hara glanced wide as the hosts began brightly, though they would find clear-cut chances difficult to come by in the early exchanges.

It was a pattern that would continue as the first half went on, however, St Mirren did have a rare sight of goal when Richard Taylor did well to find space on the edge of the area before sending an effort past the post.

Just before the half-hour mark, Mikael Mandron connected with Caolan Boyd-Munce’s corner, though he would see his effort deflected into the grateful arms of Shamal George.

Livingston had offered nothing in the way of a goal threat but they almost found themselves ahead when Nottingham glanced James Penrice’s corner beyond Zach Hemming and against the crossbar.

The home side broke the deadlock with eight minutes remaining in the first half, Greg Kiltie did well to weave his way into the box before getting a shot away which was parried as far as Kelly, who was unable to avoid diverting the ball into his own net.

All of the momentum was with St Mirren, and Ayunga almost marked his return with a goal as he looped a header against the bar just before half-time.

Taylor should have done better when the ball broke to him on the edge of the box shortly after the break, but he would blaze well over the top.

A low drive from Boyd-Muncie crept agonisingly wide as Saints looked to extend their advantage, though they would survive a scare when Taylor was forced to clear Guthrie’s goal-bound shot off the line.

Stephen Robinson was dealt a blow when Taylor was taken off on a stretcher after sustaining a nasty looking ankle injury – forcing the Saints boss to replace the defender with Charles Dunne.

The game should have been put beyond doubt when Boyd-Munce seized on a defensive lapse by Joel Nouble before teeing up Mandron who somehow failed to find the target.

Moments later, it looked as if St Mirren had clinched all three points when a scramble inside the box ended with Tom Parkes turning the ball into his own net, however, a lengthy VAR check led to the goal being disallowed for offside.

A wonderful stop by Hemming denied Nouble a dramatic injury-time equaliser following good work by Bruce Anderson, while at the other end O’Hara’s shot flew narrowly over.

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