Irn Bru Cup Semi Final
St Mirren 4
The New Saints 1
THE New Saints hopes of winning the Irn-Bru Cup were dashed as Scottish Championship side St Mirren hit back to book a final date with Dundee United.
The match hinged on the dismissal of Steve Saunders for a reckless lunge on home captain Stephen McGinn, allowing St Mirren to take control.
The Saints stepped up to the challenge in a scrappy first-half with Ryan Brobbel drilling a low shot from the edge of the area which goalkeeper Billy O’Brien did well to tip around the post.
Soon after Wes Fletcher rose to meet Chris Marriott’s right wing corner on the far post but could only steer wide.
However TNS led at the break when Brobbel broke before curling an unstoppable 25 yard shot into the top corner to the delight of the small band of Saints supporters.
The home side sparked into life upon their return for the second-half with captain McGinn blasting St Mirren back on terms with a sensational 20 yard shot.
St Mirren pushed forward and the pressure prompted a panicked tackle from Saunders on McGinn to earn his marching orders with 25 minutes remaining.
From the resulting free-kick Mallan curled a low shot around the wall and beyond Harrison to leave TNS facing an uphill struggle.
TNS lost their shape and discipline in the closing stages with Aeron Edwards inexplicably raising his hands to block Lewis Morgan’s left wing cross on 78 minutes.
Harrison saved Edwards’ blushes with a save to deny John Sutton from the penalty spot but seconds later the home side celebrated their third with Sutton atoning from close range.The Welsh champions heads had now dropped as St Mirren added a fourth at the death with Mullan’s free-kick rolled into the path of the unmarked Rory Loy to fire home.
TNS Harrison, Spender, Marriott, Baker, Brobbel, Fletcher, Mullan, Saunders, Rawlinson, Ciewslewicz, Edwards. Subs: Seargeant, Draper, Quigley, Wycherley, Leca, Darlington, Pryce.
Att – 2044