Dundee United scored twice in the final 10 minutes to snatch a draw with St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

Barry Douglas fired United into a second-minute lead but Francisco Sandaza levelled from the penalty spot.

Liam Craig rifled in a free-kick and Sandaza added a cool finish in first-half stoppage time.

Gary Mackay-Stevens knocked in from close range to give United late hope and Gavin Gunning crashed in a header to ensure a share of the spoils.

The dramatic late fight back means United are unbeaten in the last four visits to Perth and prevented Peter Houston's side from falling to a hat-trick of defeats.

United scored with the first attack of the match as John Rankin feigned to shoot before slipping a pass to Johnny Russell on the edge of the penalty area and he in turn fed Barry Douglas, who drilled home from the left side of the box.

The home side looked for an early response and United goalkeeper Dusan Pernis stooped to gather at his near post as Cillian Sheridan tested him with a shot on the turn.

The visitors went close to a second goal when Douglas found Lauri Dalla Valle 14 yards out, only for the on-loan Fulham striker to skew his shot over the crossbar.

Douglas then produced a vital block in his own box before Willo Flood was able to clear a Jamie Adams effort off the line.

Liam Craig (left) was on target for St Johnstone

Craig (left) was on target for St Johnstone in an entertaining match

St Johnstone were level on 34 minutes after referee Charlie Richmond awarded a penalty for dangerous play when Russell caught former United team-mate David Robertson in the face with his boot as he hooked a clearance over his shoulder.

Former United striker Sandaza stroked the ball into the corner, with Pernis diving the wrong way.

Saints were in front three minutes later when Jody Morris touched a 22-yard free-kick to the side and Craig found the net with a drilled strike through the defensive wall.

Deep into first-half stoppage time, Garry Kenneth made a mess of his sliding challenge, allowing Sandaza to look up and pick his spot with a composed finish.

St Johnstone continued to press after the interval, with Dave McKay seeing his shot deflected off target after a enterprising surge forward, Adams heading narrowly wide and Sheridan blazing a great opportunity high over the crossbar.

United went close when Paul Dixon picked out Russell with a fabulous cross but the striker sent his flashing header wide, with goalkeeper Peter Enckleman all at sea.

Russell and Flood then wasted shooting opportunities before the visitors were handed a lifeline with 10 minutes remaining.

Russell did well to squirm through two challenges and square the ball for Mackay-Stevens right in front of goal and, although the substitute hammered his shot straight at Enckleman, the ball ended up in the net.

St Johnstone survived a scare when Craig was inches away from putting the ball into his own net but from the resulting corner Gunning powered in a headed equaliser.

With Saints in disarray, Dalle Valle warmed the palms of Enckleman with a rising shot from 18 yards and the Saints keeper had to get down smartly to smother another effort from the lively Finn in the dying minutes.

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