Hibernian 3 - 2 St Johnstone
Hibs secured their first home league win since February with a battling performance against St Johnstone.
Ivan Sproule's 17th-minute strike was cancelled out by a Liam Craig drive two minutes later.
Garry O'Connor continued his rich vein of form with a low shot before the interval, then added another from the penalty spot after the hour mark.
A late shot from Cillian Sheridan gave St Johnstone a ray of hope, but Hibs held out to claim three crucial points.
The win edges Hibs on to nine points alongside Dunfermline and leaves St Johnstone in fifth place on 12 points, level with Hearts and St Mirren.
Jody Morris returned to the St Johnstone team after overcoming a hamstring injury to replace Willie Gibson in the only change from the side that beat Hearts on Sunday.
Hibs striker Leigh Griffiths shook off a foot knock to keep his place while Ivan Sproule came in for David Wotherspoon.
Sproule's emphatic finish handed the hosts the lead in the 17th minute, blasting into the back of the St Johnstone net after good work by Junior Agogo.
Saints could have gone ahead on the half-hour mark after Agogo lost the ball to Morris inside his own half. Morris fed Francisco Sandaza, who turned Sean O'Hanlon one way and another but slipped the ball inches wide of the far post with his left foot.
Two minutes later, St Johnstone's Liam Craig replied with a right-footed shot that struck the inside of the Hibs post and rattled off the inside netting.
Sproule's pace took him past Mackay and into a great position at the other end following Isaiah Osbourne's pass, but he elected to cross when he had little support and had a reasonable angle.
Hibs were soon back in front as O'Connor continued his hot goalscoring streak in the 37th minute.
The forward was outnumbered in the box but the ball broke invitingly for him and he shot powerfully low into the net from 16 yards.
The visitors pushed for an equaliser before the break when Graham Stack was forced off his line to block from Sandaza following Cillian Sheridan's through-ball and then got down well to push past Craig's powerful 25-yard drive.
O'Connor went close again with another left-footed drive from inside the box but Saints keeper Peter Enckelman parried.
But the Scotland international handed Hibs a half-time lead with eight minutes of the half remaining, driving low into the bottom of the St Johnstone net.
With 15 minutes of the second half played, O'Connor extended Hibs' lead and doubled his personal tally for the evening from the penalty spot after being fouled in the area by St Johnstone's David McCracken.
A defensive mistake by St Johnstone's Dave MacKay almost killed off the match, but Enckelman was quick off his line and swept up the mess.
With two minutes of the match remaining, Sheridan shrugged his way through the hosts' defence and finished off a fine effort to give the visitors a ray of hope.
A late free-kick for Saints could have salvaged a point, but Hibs managed to anxiously see out the time added on by referee Steve Conroy to secure their first home league win since February.
- 01 Stack
- 04 Hanlon
- 05 O'Hanlon
- 06 Murray
- 25 Towell
- 17 Sproule (Stevenson - 72' )
- 19 Palsson
- 24 Osbourne Booked
- 09 O'Connor (Sodje - 80' )
- 18 Agogo
- 28 Griffiths (Scott - 54' )
- 31 Brown
- 03 Booth
- 20 Stephens
- 07 Wotherspoon
- 14 Scott
- 16 Stevenson
- 23 Sodje
- 01 Enckelman
- 02 MacKay
- 06 Anderson
- 12 Maybury (Gibson - 65' )
- 18 McCracken (Haber - 87' )
- 04 Morris Booked
- 07 Millar
- 10 Craig
- 14 Moon (Robertson - 83' )
- 11 Sheridan
- 21 Sandaza
- 15 Mannus
- 25 Durnan
- 26 Caddis
- 16 Robertson
- 22 Gibson
- 27 May
- 23 Haber
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee brings the game to a close.90:00 +2:31
Inswinging corner taken by Martin Scott.90:00 +1:26 Booking
Booking Jody Morris receives a caution.90:00 +0:50
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Francisco Sandaza by Ian Murray. Liam Craig restarts play with the free kick.90:00 +0:04
Marcus Haber is ruled offside. Graham Stack restarts play with the free kick.87:57
Marcus Haber provided the assist for the goal.87:57 Goal scored
Goal! - Cillian Sheridan - Hibernian 3 - 2 St J'stone A goal is scored by Cillian Sheridan from the edge of the penalty area to the top right corner of the goal. Hibernian 3-2 St Johnstone.86:07 Substitution
Substitution Marcus Haber joins the action as a substitute, replacing David McCracken.84:13
Francisco Sandaza concedes a free kick for a foul on Richie Towell. Graham Stack takes the free kick. Effort from the edge of the area by Junior Agogo goes wide of the right-hand upright.82:40 Substitution
Substitution David Robertson joins the action as a substitute, replacing Kevin Moon.81:55
Chris Millar sends in a cross.80:13
Isaiah Osbourne gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Chris Millar. Jody Morris takes the direct free kick.78:53 Substitution
Substitution Akpo Sodje joins the action as a substitute, replacing Garry O'Connor.78:53
Isaiah Osbourne concedes a free kick for a foul on Cillian Sheridan. Free kick taken by Liam Craig.77:39
The ball is sent over by Victor Palsson, save by Chris Millar.74:44
Liam Craig takes the free kick.74:44 Booking
Booking Booking for Isaiah Osbourne for unsporting behaviour.74:28
Isaiah Osbourne challenges Cillian Sheridan unfairly and gives away a free kick.71:41 Substitution
Substitution Lewis Stevenson on for Ivan Sproule.69:11
The ball is crossed by William Gibson.
Corner taken left-footed by William Gibson. Foul by Ian Murray on Francisco Sandaza, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by William Gibson.63:51 Substitution
Substitution (St Johnstone) makes a substitution, with William Gibson coming on for Alan Maybury.63:51
Francisco Sandaza has an effort at goal from 18 yards. Save by Graham Stack.62:03 Goal scored
Goal! - Garry O'Connor - Hibernian 3 - 1 St J'stone Power penalty scored by Garry O'Connor. Hibernian 3-1 St Johnstone.60:52
David McCracken concedes a Penalty for a foul on Garry O'Connor.59:40
Chris Millar has an effort at goal from outside the area missing to the wide right of the target.54:53
Liam Craig takes the inswinging corner, Sean O'Hanlon makes a clearance.53:59 Substitution
Substitution Martin Scott comes on in place of Leigh Griffiths.53:14
Francisco Sandaza fouled by Isaiah Osbourne, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Liam Craig.48:54
Chris Millar takes a shot. Save by Graham Stack.45:55
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jody Morris by Ivan Sproule. Liam Craig takes the free kick.45:01
The second half kicks off.45:00 +1:09 Half time
Half Time The referee blows for half time.45:00 +0:14
Francisco Sandaza takes a shot.44:40
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Cillian Sheridan by Isaiah Osbourne. Direct free kick taken by Cillian Sheridan.43:01
Garry O'Connor takes the chance to get an effort at goal.42:24
Francisco Sandaza is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Indirect free kick taken by Graham Stack.41:36
David MacKay takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post.41:15
Liam Craig takes a shot from 35 yards.39:56
Francisco Sandaza takes a shot. Save made by Graham Stack.38:49
A cross is delivered by Ivan Sproule, save by Peter Enckelman.36:45
Junior Agogo provided the assist for the goal.36:45 Goal scored
Goal! - Garry O'Connor - Hibernian 2 - 1 St J'stone Garry O'Connor fires in a goal from inside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Hibernian 2-1 St Johnstone.36:00
Ivan Sproule takes a shot.32:54
Effort on goal by Ivan Sproule from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the target.29:57
Effort from deep inside the area by Francisco Sandaza misses to the right of the target.23:43
Inswinging corner taken by Jody Morris.20:48
The assistant referee flags for offside against Junior Agogo. Indirect free kick taken by Peter Enckelman.20:00
Volleyed shot by Liam Craig.18:45
Assist on the goal came from David MacKay.18:45 Goal scored
Goal! - Liam Craig - Hibernian 1 - 1 St J'stone Liam Craig fires in a goal from inside the area to the top right corner of the goal. Hibernian 1-1 St Johnstone.17:55
Free kick awarded for a foul by Garry O'Connor on David McCracken. David McCracken takes the free kick.16:41
The assist for the goal came from Garry O'Connor.16:41 Goal scored
Goal! - Ivan Sproule - Hibernian 1 - 0 St J'stone Ivan Sproule finds the back of the net with a goal from the edge of the area to the top right corner of the goal. Hibernian 1-0 St Johnstone.14:46
The ball is sent over by Ivan Sproule.13:25
Foul by Alan Maybury on Leigh Griffiths, free kick awarded. Richie Towell takes the free kick.11:19
Liam Craig challenges Leigh Griffiths unfairly and gives away a free kick. Richie Towell takes the free kick.9:11
Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Leigh Griffiths.8:15
Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Leigh Griffiths from the left by-line to the near post.4:04
The referee blows for offside against Junior Agogo. Peter Enckelman restarts play with the free kick.2:59
Francisco Sandaza is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Graham Stack takes the direct free kick.1:39
David McCracken fouled by Leigh Griffiths, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Peter Enckelman.0:00
The referee gets the game started.
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