Hibernian 2-3 St Johnstone

By Fraser GibsonBBC Sport

St Johnstone snatched a dramatic late winner to pile on relegation fears for Hibernian in a whirlwind finish at Easter Road

Debutant Lee Croft's 18-yard effort put the visitors ahead on the half-hour mark, but Hibs levelled following Leigh Griffiths' penalty.

Liam Craig instantly restored the lead with a composed finish and Callum Booth curled past Peter Enckelman for 2-2.

However, Francisco Sandaza's pinpoint shot clinched a vital three points.

St Johnstone debutant Croft was at the heart of the action early on and the on-loan Derby man committed a two-footed challenge on Hibs' Isaiah Osbourne with studs showing, but referee Euan Norris opted for only a yellow card.

Hibs' Garry O'Connor forced Enckelman into action for the first time when he let fly with a left-foot effort that was turned away for a corner after Booth's ball over the top.

However, St Johnstone were also beginning to look dangerous in attack and Sandaza tricked his way into the Hibs box and found space but took the shot on himself from an angle rather than search for a team-mate.

The visitors' breakthrough was not far away and it came through new boy Croft. He drove forward and unleashed a shot from around 18 yards that Paul Hanlon did well to block, but the ball rebounded to the Saints man and he let fly again with his right boot to put his side ahead.

Steve Lomas' side came closest to another goal before half-time when Craig's inswinging corner found the head of Dave Mackay but was tipped over by Mark Brown.

The second 45 minutes began at a frantic pace and Hibs midfielder Lewis Stevenson miskicked in front of goal when he found himself free in the penalty area.

David Stephens then had to clear an effort from Marcus Haber off the line despite keeper Brown getting a good hand to it.

The Perth side had more chances to kill the game as Pat Fenlon saw his side's defence began to crumble. Sandaza looked to pick out his Canadian strike partner, but he checked out of his run when he would have had a tap-in.

Next, the Spaniard fooled Stephens with a dummy as he glided into the penalty area, but Brown blocked well.

The game took a dramatic twist on 70 minutes when the home side were awarded a penalty for a Steven Anderson push on Griffiths and the striker stepped up to send Enckelman the wrong way from the spot.

However, St Johnstone were back in front instantly when the Hibs defence switched off. Craig latched onto a ball from halfway and, as defender Stephens dithered, the midfielder robbed him of the ball and netted with a composed finish.

Hibs come so close to an equaliser as Griffiths' header hit the bar from Eoin Doyle's cross, but they did not have long to wait as Booth finished off a give-and-go with a shot that curled past Enckelman.

The scoring was still not complete and Sandaza stuck a dagger through Hibs hearts with three minutes remaining as he collected a cross from the left, swivelled and squeezed a shot past Brown to seal St Johnstone's three points.

Live text commentaryexternal-link

Top Stories