O'Hara nets as Saints pick up a point on the road

O'Hara nets as Saints pick up a point on the road

St Mirren picked up a point at Tannadice as Mark O'Hara's second-half penalty cancelled out an early Dundee United goal. 

After a sluggish first-half, Saints were worthy of at least a point following an improved second-half performance.

Stephen Robinson made two changes with Charles Dunne suspended and Thierry Small dropping to the bench. They were replaced by Richard Taylor and Scott Tanser. New signing Caolan Boyd-Munce, who signed for Saints on Wednesday, was on the bench, while Tony Watt missed out entirely as he couldn't play against his parent club. 

United started the better and hit the front after just three minutes through Steven Fletcher. The veteran forward was first on to a Richard Taylor headed clearance and volleyed home from 20 yards to give the home side an early lead. 

The hosts went close to a second on 17 minutes when Aziz Behich sent a long-range drive just wide of the right-hand post. Three minutes later, Liam Smith had a decent opportunity when a cross from the left fell to the United full-back at the far post, but he fired into the side-netting. 

After a frustrating start to the match, the Buddies started to take a grip on the game and had their best chance to level on 24 minutes when Loick Ayina's slip allowed Curtis Main to run in behind. The forward burst into the box but struck low into the arms of Mark Birighitti in the United goal. Despite having the better of the possession in the first-half, Saints failed to test Birghitti enough in the opening 45 and went into the break behind.

It would take 10 minutes into the second-half for the first real opportunity and captain O'Hara - fresh from signing a contract extension until 2026 - almost pulled Saints level. The midfielder slid into meet a Greg Kiltie cross and was only denied by a clearance from United skipper Ryan Edwards who cleared away to stop it crossing the line. 

Stephen Robinson's men were pressing for an equaliser and Alex Greive had a decent chance on 63 minutes after a great delivery from Tanser on the left found the New Zealand striker in the United box, but he nodded wide. Saints thought they had levelled on 65 minutes when Richard Taylor headed home Ryan Strain's free-kick. The offside flag was raised and a lengthy VAR check confirmed the defender was off. 

St Mirren were awarded a penalty on 70 minutes when Main went down under the challenge of Ayina after getting in front of the United defender. Another considerable VAR check ensued, but referee Craig Napier stuck with his original decision to award the spot kick. O'Hara stepped up to fire home his eighth goal of the season and draw us level heading into the final stretch of the match.

Mark O'Hara celebrates after scoring from the spot (Image: Andy Barr)

Neither side seemed content with a point with both chasing a winner. Behich missed a big chance for the hosts just minutes after O'Hara's leveller when he blasted over from close range, while Saints substitute Thierry Small sclaffed over from inside the United box. Small looked lively after replacing Scott Tanser and sent a dangerous ball across the face of goal with no takers before crossing for Main who flicked wide. 

United almost snatched it in injury time when Kai Fotheringham cracked the post from the edge of the area. Trevor Carson then made a wonderful save to deny Mathew Cudjoe in the fifth minute of added time and when Saints couldn't clear the danger it allowed Ilmari Niskanen the chance to win it, but he somehow fired over from close range. 

Greive was inches away from a spectacular late winner when he volleyed inches over from the edge of the area as both had to settle for a point. 

Full-Time: Dundee United 1-1 St Mirren

St Mirren: Carson, Fraser, Gogic, R Taylor (Boyd-Munce 90), Strain (Flynn 83) ,O'Hara, Baccus, Kiltie (Shaughnessy 89), Tanser (Small 74), Greive, Main
Subs Not Used: Urminsky, Kenny, F.Taylor, Offord, Jamieson

Dundee United: Birighitti, Smith (Freeman 90), Ayina, Edwards, McMann (Cudjoe 88), Sibbald, Harkes (Niskanen 88), McGrath (Fotheringham 58), Pawlett (Djoum 59), Behich, Fletcher
Subs Not Used: Newman, Graham, Thomson, McLeod

Referee: Craig Napier
Assistant Referee: David Roome
Assistant Referee: Andy Milne
Fourth Official: Iain Snedden
VAR: Colin Steven
Assistant VAR: Steven Traynor

Attendance: 8,131

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