Saints looked the better side in yesterday's quarter final, but Wolves made it an even contest in the first half. Unlike many Premiership sides, they had managed to keep Beattie fairly quiet. Saints had to rely on a fortuitous goal from Chris Marsden and an own goal to seal victory.
Saints defence were simply too good for the Wolves attack. Kenny Miller had looked promising early on, but was soon reduced to the role of spectator. On the right, Jason Dodd showed his Premiership qualities by marking Mark Kennedy out of the game. The left saw the Bridge/ Marsden partnership used to great effect. As the Wolves right winger tried to cut inside, Bridge was presented with plenty of opportunity to get forward.
Marsden was simply outstanding. As always, he covered every blade of grass, was always available in attack and performed his defensive duties admirably.
With displays like these, Wolves best bet was to force a replay. While Saints were often guilty of hitting long balls up to Beattie, there were signs of the passing flair that we all know they're capable of. Bridge on the left and occasionally Dodd on the right provided useful overlapping runs.
Brett Ormerod made an excellent contribution although in the end he really needs to get a few goals to secure a place in the side.
While Wolves boss, Dave Jones, may have brought several of the Saints players to the club, he never had them working so well as a unit or gave them the levels of fitness that Strachan has instilled. The longer the game went on, the more Saints looked like scoring.
The opening goal arrived on fifty five minutes, from the unlikely source of a corner. Anders Svensson's ball was headed away by our own player trying to flick it on. It fell to Marsden whose overhead kick was intended to back into the danger area. However, Murray in the Wolves goal assumed that James Beattie was going to connect with the ball, and allowed the ball to go under him when no contact was made.
Wolves tried their best to get back into the game. Dave Jones made attacking substitutions, but it only left more space for the Saints to exploit.
Saints second is only credited as a Butler own goal because James Beattie missed a sitter right in front of goal. Standing behind the England international, Butler could only watch as the ball went into his own net.
Confident with his side's defensive capabilities, Strachan made attacking changes of his own. The languid Jo Tessem came on for Anders Svensson while Kevin Davies cam on practically in injury time to run the clock down.
While not a vintage game, Saints will be satisfied at a job well done. Some of the attacking play could be a lot more fluid, but our defence is rock solid and we do have the second top Premiership scorer.