Dundee Utd 1-1 St Johnstone

By Jim SpenceBBC Scotland at Tannadice

Dundee United failed to build on an early goal as St Johnstone hit back to earn a deserved draw at Tannadice.

Gavin Gunning headed the hosts ahead on two minutes but Brian McLean's own goal after the break levelled matters.

Gunning troubled the Saints throughout and the United defender could have had a hat-trick.

United keeper Radoslaw Cierzniak was also busy, thwarting Liam Craig on four occasions and making a good late block from Gregory Tade's shot.

A share of the spoils means United remain without a home win since August, while Saints have only won one of their last 11 league outings.

St Johnstone made five changes to the side that started Saturday's 2-0 loss at Aberdeen and the visitors appeared to be in for another long day when Gunning was left completely unmarked to glance in a free-kick from Barry Douglas.

It was the first of several headed chances which fell to the Irishman during the match.

Cierzniak did well to push away a powerful strike from Craig and made another fine stop from the same player soon after, gathering at the second attempt.

Gunning again found himself with the freedom of the Saints penalty box but somehow failed to make contact from a Willo Flood delivery at the back post.

Polish keeper Cierzniak saved well from a Steven MacLean half-volley after a neat knock-down from Tade, while Saints keeper Alan Mannus made heavy weather of a strong shot from Stuart Armstrong, pushing the ball up over his head before recovering.

Saints winger Peter Pawlett was lively and his cross found the head of Craig to produce another good save from save Cierzniak.

A deflected Rudi Skacel shot was tipped away by Mannus and the ball rolled towards Gunning before David McCracken made a timely clearance. From the resulting corner, Gunning should have done better than head wide.

St Johnstone were level on 47 minutes as Pawlett skipped past Douglas to fire in a low cross from the right that cannoned off the leg of McLean and into the net.

And the visitors thought they were going ahead when a flick from MacLean landed at the feet of Craig 10 yards out but the midfielder's fierce strike was blocked by the backside of Cierzniak.

United responded with a John Rankin fizzer rising over the top.

As St Johnstone's stranglehold of the midfield helped them to increase the pressure on the hosts, Murray Davidson ghosted into the box and showed neat footwork only to poke his shot just wide of the right post.

McCracken made another good clearance with Johnny Russell waiting to pounce and from the corner Paddy Cregg cleared off the line to keep out another Gunning header.

Rankin skidded a shot wide in the closing stages and an effort from United substitute Mark Millar flew a yard or so past the target.

As full time neared, Tade showed great strength to manoeuvre into a good shooting position on the right of United's box but Cierznak continued his fine afternoon's performance with a great block with his leg to ensure that the game ended level.

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