No way through as~Killie hold out

St Mirren striker Jim Hamilton and Kilmarnock midfielder Mehdi Taouil both hit the bar in an otherwise uninspiring 0-0 draw at Love Street.

Last Updated: 16/08/08 at 19:15 Post Comment

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In the 53rd minute, following an especially dreadful first half, Hamilton climbed high at the back post to meet a Jack Ross cross but powered his close-range header off the woodwork.

With six minutes to go, Saints goalkeeper Mark Howard, who had made a fine save from Conor Sammon's close-range header, fisted clear a Garry Hay free-kick only to see Taouil's return volley crash off the bar.

Both moments of excitement were out of place during a game that was littered by far too many unforced errors.

The kindest thing that could be said about the first half is that it started badly and failed to improve.

Saints set out to be attack-minded. After ploughing a lone furrow at Celtic Park last week, with little support for most of the game, Billy Mehmet was afforded a partner in Hamilton.

The latter's presence and prowess in the air promised much in the early stages but soon that promise became a casualty in the war of attrition.

The first real action arrived in the 13th minute when Kilmarnock striker David Fernandez cleverly beat debutant Scott Cuthbert wide on the right and stood up an inviting cross at the back post for Conor Sammon.

However, the big Killie striker seemed to stretch for the ball and headed over from around six yards out.

Moments later, at the other end, Hamilton neatly laid the ball off to Stephen O'Donnell 30 yards from goal but the Love Street midfielder snatched at his shot which sailed over the bar.

Nevertheless, O'Donnell's effort sparked the home side in to action for a few moments, Killie having to defend with some gusto to prevent St Mirren bludgeoning their way to goal.

That excitement quickly subsided and the match dipped back in to mediocrity as half-time approached.

Taouil's angled drive from 14 yards, which Howard saved with ease in the 35th minute, represented the first shot on target.

In the 43rd minute, in a rare moment of action inside the home penalty area, Sammon flicked the ball over Howard in the six-yard box but Saints skipper John Potter was on hand to head clear the danger before the Irishman could bundle the ball over the line.

The early moments of the second half offered hope of an improvement, Killie wide-man Danny Invincibile forging down the right-hand side with some purpose, his cross at the end of his second run bringing some panic to the Saints defence.

It was then the home side's turn to threaten and they came close to opening the scoring with their best effort of the game in the 53rd minute.

O'Donnell and Ross worked a one-two down the right and the former Falkirk full-back whipped in a cross to the back post where it was met by Hamilton.

The man of many clubs climbed high but his powerful header from six yards smacked off the bar before it was cleared to safety.

Saints had gained the ascendancy and, in the 65th minute, Hamilton's cutback across the six-yard box from O'Donnell's initial cross had the Killie defence in disarray but the home side failed to capitalise.

In the 72nd minute, Killie midfielder Craig Bryson forced Howard into a good save with a snapshot from 16 yards which the Saints keeper parried away.

Three minutes later, Howard made an even better save, this time from a close-range Sammon header which followed a fine cross from Taouil.

Then, after Howard had punched clear a Hay free-kick, Taouil's return volley from the edge of the box bounced off the bar before Saints cleared their lines.

In the closing seconds, Killie keeper Alan Combe made a decent save from O'Donnell but, by then, neither side had done enough to deserve all three points.

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