Aberdeen sealed a deserved victory in Perth this afternoon when a Darren Mackie goal five minutes from the end earned all three points. Considine had the ball in the net in the first half, but referee McLean chalked it off for an infringement that he had spotted. In the second half Aberdeen were the better side and were denied a spot kick when Maguire was tripped, but the Dons were finally rewarded in the 85th minute when Aluko showed his worth as he created the winner with his perseverance. He charged down a clearance from Maybury and although it looked as if the ball would go out of play Sone kept it in and set up Darren Mackie to score the winner. Six points out of six and no goals conceded is more than anyone could hope for at this stage.
In the opening minutes both teams started cautiously with Hartley playing a role in front of the back four. Aberdeen threatened in the 5th minute as Pawlett utilised his pace and it required a combination of Maybury and Duberry to stop him. A minute later Howard required two attempts to claim a free kick and at the other end strong play from Magennis almost created a chance for the Dons. Neither side had settled but Saints went close in the 13th minute as Diamond had to look sharp to block Parkin in a dangerous position.
A minute later an Aluko free kick caused alarm at the back and Aberdeen won the first corner of the match. Hartley swung the ball in and Diamond, who had more time than he realised, headed wide. At the other end Diamond again was first to the ball as he cleared a Saints free kick that had been whipped in by Taylor. The home side then won their opening corner in the 17th minute and Folly had to scramble the ball clear when Howard missed the cross. The ball was immediately fired back in and Rutkiewicz should have scored, but screwed his effort wide.
Maguire was having a lot of success with his direct runs and Magennis was making a complete nuisance of himself as he made Maybury's debut uncomfortable. A McArdle cross was cleared by Rutkiewicz in the 26th minute, but the match did not have much of a pattern at this stage. On the half hour mark a Dons corner failed to threaten and two minutes later a Taylor effort went well over at the other end. Maguire tested Enckelman in the 34th minute, but the Finnish keeper saved easily. In the build up to the move Liam Craig pulled up with an injury and had to be replaced.
A minute later Pawlett was taken down and from the resultant free kick Considine steered a Hartley free kick into the net. Referee McLean spotted an infringement that no one else in the stadium appeared to see and the goal was chalked off. A minute later Magennis fired wide as Aberdeen started to look dangerous. A Grainger free kick in the 40th minute was well handled by Howard and a minute later Parkin was penalised for pushing. A late Aluko free kick was collected by the keeper and at the other end Howard made a terrific save as the half ended goalless.
In the opening minutes of the second period St. Johnstone were awarded a throw in despite no Aberdeen player touching the ball. The red army were getting annoyed with much of the decision making as the game suffered from too many stoppages. Maguire and Folly combined well in the 52nd minute and Rutkiewicz was forced to concede a throw in. At the other end Davidson headed over under pressure. Pawlett went close in the 56th minute after he had been set up by Aluko with a great reverse pass but his shot curled wide of the target.
Two minutes later Magennis flicked a Howard clearance on to Maguire who in turn was brought down in the box. The referee decided that there was no infringement and awarded a corner. When the ball came across a Saints arm appeared to go up and handle the ball, but once again nothing was given. Aberdeen were enjoying a lot of pressure at this stage, but decisions were not going their way. Tempers were starting to flare on the pitch and on the touchline after a challenge between Davidson and Hartley.
Morris earned a yellow card from the incident and the referee spoke with both benches. A minute later the referee evened things up with a yellow card for Considine's first offence. In the 67th minute Diamond did well to prevent Parkin from getting a header on target as he conceded a corner. Aberdeen eventually cleared and then Mackie and Vernon replaced Maguire and Magennis with 68 minutes on the clock. Vernon immediately won a free kick in a dangerous position, but the wall did its job and blocked Hartley's effort.
Aberdeen then forced a corner kick and with Considine looking in a good position to score McArdle steered the ball wide. McGhee made his final change in the 75th minute as Fyvie replaced Pawlett. Substitute Samuel almost took advantage of a slip from Diamond, but partner Ifil rescued the situation. Mackie had a half chance, but looked tentative then in the 80th minute a free kick was squandered with a poor delivery from Aluko.
Hartley then created a chance, but appeared to stumble before Folly became the second Aberdeen player to collect a yellow card. With five minutes remaining Aberdeen were pushing forward for a winner as Aluko fired over. A minute later the Nigerian showed his worth as he created the winning goal with his perseverance. He charged down a clearance from Maybury and although it looked as if the ball would go out of play Sone kept it in and set up Darren Mackie to score his first of the season. A Saints corner was easily collected by Howard then Grainger was cautioned when he pulled Mackie back as the striker tried to break.
In the final minute Vernon looked to have come from an onside position, but the assistant raised his flag. The fourth official indicated three minutes of injury time and in the second minute Considine failed to hear Howard in the noise and took no chances as he conceded a corner. As the ball came across Rutkiewicz headed over and Aberdeen comfortably held on for a well deserved victory. The side looked solid at the back and the togetherness showed at the end as they acclaimed the huge travelling support.