Derek McInnes made two changes to the side which beat Falkirk so comfortably in the League Cup last week. Andrew Considine came back into the side in place of Clark Robertson and Nicky Low was replaced by Scott Vernon. The manager also changed to a 4-3-3 formation. The Dons therefore lined up with Langfield in goal, a back four of Shaughnessy, Hector and Considine with Reynolds moving over to the left back spot. The midfield trio were Smith, Jack and Pawlett and upfront it was Vernon, Zola and Hayes.
Niall McGinn was back in the squad and given a place on the bench, as was skipper Russell Anderson but Barry Robson is still unavailable.
It was 108 years to the day that Aberdeen and St Mirren first met in a competitive fixture. Aberdeen lost that one and before tonight the Dons had only beaten St Mirren once in the last 10 games between the sides.
In the first minute the Dons created a good chance. Ryan Jack played it down the line and Hayes put in a good ball which Zola was not far away from. The ball was deflected behind for a corner. St Mirren managed to clear but the make shift Saints defence did not look comfortable dealing with the Dons aerial threat. On three minutes the Dons broke down the right again when Hayes played in Smith. Cammy beat the full back with ease but his low cross was too close to Dilo in goal.
The opening exchanges of this game were going to be crucial. Without a win all season, the confidence of the home side may have been very low but they did come out fighting. They were quite happy to play the long ball to Steven Thompson which made the first ten minutes fairly forgettable - and the first 45, the Saints fans were at least happy to see some fight from their players.
On 14 minutes Vernon got a looping header on target but he was too far out to get any pace or direction on the ball. The frantic nature of the game continued and there were interesting battles developing all over the pitch. On 20 minutes Langfield had an early kick out which set Pawlett free, Dilo was forced to come well of his line to head clear. By the 25th minute mark the Dons were just starting to get on top. A minute later though the Dons gave the ball away after a slack pass by Hector. John McGinn picked it up and hit a low powerful shot from about 30 yards but Langfield saved well and showed good handling to hold on. On the half hour mark McGinn was then booked for a bad tackle on Shaughnessy.
Zola and Mair were having quite a tussle and referee Murray had to have a word with both players after they clashed off the ball. On 31 minutes a great ball over the top by Considine found Zola but McGregor made a well timed tackle to put the ball behind for a second corner. Again the Saints defence did not look convincing but kept the Dons out when Hector was ruled off side. The Dons were now on top but still not getting any time or space to create anything. St Mirren were defending very deep which did not allow the Dons a chance to utilise the pace in the side. They were also struggling to get any players in good positions in wide areas. On 39 minutes Zola was booked for another clash with Mair. McGregor then put a dangerous ball into the box and Ryan Jack had to cut it out. They did not look threatening but were doing enough to lift the home fans and keep them onside.
Derek McInnes looked happy to hear the half time whistle so he could regroup.
During the interval the manager decided to replace Vernon with Nicky Low. The striker appeared to take a knock during the first half. On 50 minutes Low found Zola and his ball was laid off to Jack. From about 20 yards his placed effort was on target but Goodwin deflected it behind for a corner.
The game had become very stretched as Aberdeen tried to up the tempo.
On 53 minutes the ball was played into the box by McGowan and his cross found Thompson. There were enough defenders round about him but somehow he managed to wriggle free and get a shot away which beat Langfield. Only the Saints fourth goal of the season and the first the Dons had conceded in 5 games.
The home side had not been good at holding onto leads and a minute later Zola knocked it down for Pawlett who had an opening but the Saints defence did brilliantly to block the shot. On the hour mark Aberdeen won a free kick in a dangerous area. Hayes took it and curled it round the wall but Dilo was able to dive and force it clear. A decent save. Zola, who it looked like had picked up a hamstring injury, was replaced by Josh Magennis.
Nicky Low was doing his best to try and lift the Dons. He picked out Pawlett on 63 minutes. He got to the by-line and his chipped cross was deflected clear by Dilo who managed to get a hand on it. The keeper was very lucky as the ball could have gone anywhere but did not land at the feet of an Aberdeen player. On 65 minutes a Jack free kick was headed over by Magennis and then a minute later Low's cross was not far away from the head of Smith.
Aberdeen were at least now creating chances but the home side were still showing a great work rate. The Dons failed to put the Saints defence under any
On 70 minutes McLean caught the ball sweetly but his low shot just went past Langfield's left post and then a long throw caused problems for St Mirren and Peter Pawlett, who got his head on the bouncing effort, saw his effort just go over the bar. On 73 minutes Aberdeen made their final change with Niall McGinn replacing Cammy Smith.
On 83 minutes Aberdeen wasted a golden opportunity to get back on level terms. A mistake at the back set McGinn free. The striker strolled forward, waited for the keeper to dive and put it past him but the ball rebounded off the post. Full back Kelly very nearly put the rebound into his own net but the ball was deflected behind for a corner. Hayes swung in the corner. After good play at the back of the area by Considine the ball was laid back to Pawlett. His shot from the edge of the area was deflected and went past Dilo into the net. The Dons were back on level terms, just as the game seemed to be drifting away from them.
Game on as both teams pushed for a winner.
McGinn almost found Hayes with a cross on 87 minutes. On 90 minutes- after a clever back flick by Magennis- Niall beat his man but elected to shoot instead of squaring the ball to the unmarked Hayes. St Mirren also had efforts on goal. Goodwin hit a shot from about 30 yards but Langfield was able to watch it go past the post.
In the end a draw was a fair result. The Dons did not do enough to deserve the three points.