Match ends, Kilmarnock 2, St. Mirren 1.
Kilmarnock 2-1 St Mirren
St Mirren scored their first league goal of the season but it was not enough to end their run of Scottish Premiership defeats at Kilmarnock.
Substitute Robbie Muirhead cut in from the left to fire Killie ahead in the second half.
Adam Drury converted John McGinn's cross to level the match and give the Buddies hope of their first point.
However, Mark Connolly scored from a Sammy Clingan free-kick to secure victory for the hosts.
It will only be a small consolation for St Mirren that they finally broke their scoring duck at Rugby Park.
They have still to register a point this season and there is a growing sense of frustration and anxiety.
The visitors were looking to unburden themselves at Rugby Park. The performances have been able enough, but the lack of a clinical edge was increasingly debilitating.
St Mirren needed a goal to release the building pressure. That might have resulted in their bright opening at Rugby Park, since an attacking four of John McGinn, Kenny McLean, Adam Drury and James Marwood looked attentive and eager to trouble the Kilmarnock defence.
A familiar flaw troubled them, though, since the sparky movement and intent lacked an end product. McLean slung a deep cross towards the back post for McGinn, but his volley was comfortably stopped down low by Kilmarnock goalkeeper Craig Samson.
The home side never looked alarmed in defence, but their own attacking endeavours tended to run into futility. Tope Obadeyi was a menacing presence on the ball, since he ran forward with pace, skill and unpredictability, but he was seldom able to create an opportunity for himself or a team-mate.
On the one occasion that he did break beyond the St Mirren defence and tried to centre the ball for Michael Ngoo, St Mirren goalkeeer Marian Kello was able to cut out the delivery and prevent the Kilmarnock striker from having a simple chance to convert.
Prior to that, Josh Magennis had steered a header wide from Sammy Clingan's cross, but neither side was playing particularly effectively.
Controversy was still able to impose itself, and Jim Goodwin was booked for a heavy challenge on Clingan that prompted heavy booing from the home crowd. When Clingan returned to the field moments later, he soon caught Goodwin with a hefty tackle of his own, although the Kilmarnock midfielder wasn't booked.
St Mirren remained forlorn in front of goal after the interval. Even when Manuel Pascali gave the ball away to Jason Naismith and the St Mirren full-back played in McGinn, his cross to McLean finished with the midfielder rashly side-footing his shot over the bar.
Misfortune was lining up against the visitors, too. From McGinn's corner, McAusland rose above his marker to head the ball into the net, but the referee Alan Muir had already awarded a foul to Kilmarnock.
St Mirren might have felt that a prolonged spell of possession was a cause for optimism, but it merely underlined their ineffectiveness in front of goal. On a rare foray upfield Kilmarnock broke the deadlock, with substitute Robbie Muirhead pulling free on the left, cutting inside Jason Naismith and then steering a shot across Kello and inside the far post.
There was cruelty in the goal since St Mirren had dominated possession after the break. They were not overwhelmed by regret, though, and within 11 minutes they had equalised.
The goal brought a surge of relief - since it rescued their status in the game but was also their first in five league games - and it came from Mark Connolly being robbed of the ball inside his own penalty area by Goodwin.
He moved the ball on to McGinn, whose cross was then converted by Adam Drury as he rushed in at the back post. The goal ought to have lifted the visitors, since it showed resilience and enterprise, but instead they lost their way.
Kilmarnock reasserted themselves and Connolly redeemed himself when he met Clingan's free-kick with a powerful header that sent the ball beyond Kello's reach. St Mirren kept trying to chase the game, but while they at least broke their scoring duck, they still remain pointless in the Premiership.
- 6ConnollyBooked at 65mins
- 7McKenzieSubstituted forEremenkoat 66'minutes
- 4HamillBooked at 53mins
- 8ClinganBooked at 55mins
- 16ObadeyiSubstituted forJohnstonat 90+4'minutes
- 21NgooSubstituted forMuirheadat 56'minutes
- 5PlummerBooked at 67mins
- 6GoodwinBooked at 37minsSubstituted forCaldwellat 84'minutes
- 7McGinnSubstituted forWyldeat 76'minutes
- 10MarwoodBooked at 89mins
- Alan Muir
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Kilmarnock 2, St. Mirren 1.
Substitution, Kilmarnock. Chris Johnston replaces Tope Obadeyi.
James Marwood (St. Mirren) is shown the yellow card.
Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Eli Plummer.
Attempt missed. Robbie Muirhead (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.
Substitution, St. Mirren. Ross Caldwell replaces Jim Goodwin.
Goal! Kilmarnock 2, St. Mirren 1. Mark Connolly (Kilmarnock) from a free kick with a header to the high centre of the goal.
Mark Connolly (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Jim Goodwin (St. Mirren).
Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Marián Kello.
Substitution, St. Mirren. Gregg Wylde replaces John McGinn.
Attempt saved. Josh Magennis (Kilmarnock) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Goal! Kilmarnock 1, St. Mirren 1. Adam Drury (St. Mirren) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by John McGinn.
Foul by Josh Magennis (Kilmarnock).
Jim Goodwin (St. Mirren) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Ross Barbour (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by John McGinn (St. Mirren).
Eli Plummer (St. Mirren) is shown the yellow card.
Jamie Hamill (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Eli Plummer (St. Mirren).
Substitution, Kilmarnock. Alexei Eremenko replaces Rory McKenzie.
Corner, St. Mirren. Conceded by Robbie Muirhead.
Mark Connolly (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Mark Connolly (Kilmarnock).
James Marwood (St. Mirren) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. Jim Goodwin (St. Mirren) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Foul by Mark Connolly (Kilmarnock).
John McGinn (St. Mirren) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Goal! Kilmarnock 1, St. Mirren 0. Robbie Muirhead (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Mark Connolly.
Corner, St. Mirren. Conceded by Chris Chantler.
Attempt blocked. Jim Goodwin (St. Mirren) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Foul by Mark Connolly (Kilmarnock).
Kenny McLean (St. Mirren) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Tope Obadeyi (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Marc McAusland (St. Mirren).
Mark Connolly (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by James Marwood (St. Mirren).
Substitution, Kilmarnock. Robbie Muirhead replaces Michael Ngoo.
Attempt missed. Kenny McLean (St. Mirren) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.