Matchzone: St Johnstone (A)

St Johnstone 2 (Hurrell, Carter)

Killie 3 (Reside, Brown 2)

Jim Chapman’s side battled the elements, a resilient Saints, and a sense of déjà vu in order to secure three crucial points on their travels.

In this season’s previous encounter at Riverside, a 2-0 lead was squandered in a 4-2 reversal.

Spare a thought then for the Killie manager as he watched Nicole Carter slide in an equaliser in the early part of the second half.

On this occasion though, in-form Dionne Brown came to the rescue with a winner in the 69th minute before late pressure was repelled in difficult conditions.

After a tentative start, the visitors made the play, opening the scoring through a Lauryn Reside effort which evaded attack and defence, ending up in the back of the net.

And a few minutes later, just before the half-hour mark, Dionne Brown nodded in another Reside delivery.

A comfortable 2-0 half-time lead was made a lot less so as the opening 45 closed, Olivia Hurrell reducing the deficit. And when it went to 2-2, the hosts now in control, a reaction was needed.

The introduction of Louise Cowan and Gemma Rae was crucial, the latter producing a terrific cross from the left which allowed Dionne Brown to grab a vital third.

In a competitive league where momentum matters, the six-point swing in this one was a huge boost for Killie. Short of key players in Laura McLaughlin and Lucie Burns, the young squad showed the desire required to not only maintain the nine-point gap between the teams, but to increase it to 12. 

In the latter stages – a disallowed goal and further questions asked – the points could just as easily have stayed in Perth.

After a fortnight’s break, nearest challengers Livingston visit Rugby Park at the end of the month in another crucial tie in the race for the play-off spot.

(Photos courtesy of Stuart Cowper)