Four goals in the second half helped the St Andrews Men’s second team beat Dundee 5-0 to secure the win in the final game of a weather-affected football Varsity programme.
The featured fixture between the St Andrews and Dundee first XIs was called off after the Dundee bus crashed earlier in the day and then when the team got back on course, the Tay Bridge was closed as a result of Storm Ali.
That unfortunate set of events meant that the twos’ game took centre stage in the wind and rain and they secured a very impressive victory through goals from Robbie Turnbull, Will McIlveen, Justin Verissimo, Ben Lintern and Nick Lewis.
St Andrews began the game the brighter, with Dan Cohen and Robbie Turnbull missing early chances, and the home side eventually made their pressure tell with an opener on 28 minutes. A corner to the back post was headed back across goal and Turnbull stabbed home from a couple of yards out.
That goal seemed to wind Dundee and the pace of the game slowed considerably before the break, although the Saints were almost caught cold. A hopeful cross from the left evaded the entire defence and clipped the crossbar with the St Andrews keeper completely beaten. From that Dundee fashioned another chance but the Saints captain Joel McInally showed impressive bravery to get down and block the shot.
If the final 10 minutes of the first half were quite flat, the first 10 of the second half were all action. St Andrews doubled their lead on 51 minutes through McIlveen’s tidy finish and it was 3-0 just two minutes later. A quick break from the Saints allowed Sam Beer to break through on the right, with the midfielder then squaring for Verissimo to score on his debut.
From there, Dundee were able to exert some pressure and came close to scoring. McInally played a role in keeping Dundee scoreless, making a few key stops and when he eventually was beaten, the long legs of Endika Rodriguez cleared the ball off the line.
As the game moved into the final 10 minutes, the superior fitness of the Saints began to tell as they added two more goals. The fourth came from a corner as Ben Lintern escaped his marker to power home, with Dundee being reduced to 10 men moments later. It was the Dee right-back, who had looked tidy all game, who saw red after getting the wrong side of the Saints winger and taking him out with a poorly timed two-footed challenge.
Then, in the closing stages, the Dundee centre-half hacked down Daniel Cohen after a mazy run and the winger was down for a lengthy period whilst he received treatment. When the game did resume, Nick Lewis put the penalty away to cement St Andrews’ five-star performance as the referee blew the final whistle.
It was a thoroughly impressive performance from St Andrews, as whilst they were rarely tested, they looked fit, hungry and impressive in attack and fairly composed under pressure – promising signs for the season ahead.
Their victory ensured that St Andrews went 4-1 over the Varsity fixtures to take place at University Park last Wednesday. The Men’s fives and The Women’s ones both recorded 2-0 triumphs, whilst the Men’s third team picked up a 1-0 win. The only side to taste defeat from a St Andrews perspective were the Men’s fours, who came up just short in an entertaining 4-3.
The Women’s first team rounded off the day under the floodlights with an exhibition game against the Raith Rovers Women’s team. Raith ran out 3-1 winners, with Kate Little grabbing a late consolation for the home side in a game that will have offered them some invaluable minutes ahead of their new season.