Jutkiewicz was on the bench at the start and O’Brien started. Murphy was a bit of a lone striker as we played with five across the middle. O’Brien and Humphrey made use of the wide pitch but it was the right winger who made the early impression with an impressive run the length of the pitch in the second minute. He delivered a good cross to give Sutton a half chance.
Humphrey continued to lead our best moves in the first half and there were several occasions when he cut inside to vary the pattern of play. A Hammell free kick gave Sutton a good headed opportunity but a goal lone clearance denied us, but not for long. Murphy took the ball wide on the left of the penalty box he rounded Smith who was well out of goal. He needed two attempts but scored to give us the perfect start.
A first half chance for Sutton
St Johnstone are a big physical team and they know how to play to their strengths. Lots of long balls were launched at Deucher and Milne and it was no surprise when they levelled in twenty six minutes. It was a scrappy affair but the ball fell to Milne and he managed a shot which beat Ruddy in front of the Motherwell support.
The game had surged from end to end as both teams were determined to win the game but the pace slackened a bit before the break. There was on last chance before the managers had their say when Hammell’s low drive to the near post was met by Sutton. He beat the keeper with his glancing touch but the ball ran wide of the far post.
Sutton was presented with the first chance of the second half when a fine move on the left wing orchestrated by O’Brien and Murphy presented the striker with a fine chip but he could not manage a clean header. A quick free kick released Murphy inside the box but his goal bound effort was deflected to safety.
The first goal celebration
A double substitution saw O’Brien and Lasley replaced by Jutkeiwicz and Forbes. The game seemed destined to finish level and it probably would have been accepted by everyone as a fair result but the visitors were to score the winner with five minutes remaining. The attack came from the left and Jutkiewicz’ shot was parried by Smith into the path of the lurking striker. Sutton made no mistake and celebrated with his team mates in front of the cheering Well fans
Craig Brown’s honeymoon continues and we look forward to another episode in Paisley on Tuesday night.