Hermes 1 SAINTS 2
Both teams were pointless at the bottom of the Superleague, so something had to change regardless of the result. Hermes had beaten Saints 4-0 four weeks previously in the GA Cup 1st Round, so they were the favourites to get some points on the board.
Hermes were on top right from the start and went ahead on 12 minutes when ex Saints player Andrew Close half hit a shot which keeper Nico Berton could only palm over his head and into the corner of the net.
Not the best of starts, but despite the home side having the better of the game, Saints grew in confidence. The home goal was rarely tested but a couple of efforts did go close but did not bother keeper Sweeney.
Despite having the better of the first half Hermes could not find another goal to increase their lead.
It was evident from the start of the second half that a half time Manager’s talk had done something to pep up the players. A back post corner was headed into the side netting by Presly.
Then a series of substitution made all the difference for Saints. Steve Travers was replaced by Conran Wilson followed minutes later by Ryan Whelan coming on for Taylor Christie.
And within ten minutes the scores were level when Jamie Buglass won the ball on half way and sent in a slide rule pass to Seamus Croll who beat two defenders and the keeper to side foot the ball into the net for the equaliser on 22 minutes.
A few minutes later a Hermes forward made a late challenge on keeper Nico Berton as he gathered the ball and although a booking was perhaps deserved, the referee showed him the red card.
Hermes down to ten men but they missed a glorious chance when Close missed an open goal with his header from 6 yards. The game was getting rather fractious now as the home side began to lose their patience and self-control. A second yellow card for Courage meant he also had an early bath, reducing the home side to nine men with 10 minutes remaining.
Presly who had already been booked was replaced by Mike Bruce just in case. This two extra men left plenty of space for Saints and on 39 minutes Bruce was sent clear with only Sweeney to beat and as he rounded the home keeper he was brought down, with Craig Simpson scoring from the penalty spot.
Despite the numerical advantage, Saints were not taking full advantage and continued to give Hermes opportunities to move forward with some erratic passing. It should have been 3-1 two minutes into injury time when Sam Smith was straight through on Sweeney but his weak shot was easily saved.
That was the last of the chances as another three minutes elapsed before the final whistle. A well-deserved three points for Saints after the second half display certainly surprised Hermes which neither their players or touch line could accept at the final whistle.
This win must give the boys confidence now in preparation for the next two games in September, the second of which is the Scottish Junior Cup 1st Round tie away to Kilbirnie Ladeside on 24 September.
Team: Nico Berton, Kieran Davidson, Craig Simpson, Jack Mitchell, Josh Robertson, Steve Travers (Conran Wilson), Taylor Christie (Ryan Whelan), Jack Presly (Mike Bruce), Jamie Buglass, Seamus Croll, Sam Smith. Subs: Darren Reid, Andrew Shepherd.