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St. Johnstone 3 - 0 Aberdeen

HT Score: St. Johnstone 2 - 0 Aberdeen

Scottish Premiership
St. Johnstone scorers: D Wotherspoon 14, S MacLean 38, L Craig 55.

22/04/2016 | KO: 19:45

Dons Off The Pace in Perth

The post-split fixtures started with the Dons putting in arguably their worst performance of the season. They simply never got going. Aberdeen would still have been looking to put some pressure on Celtic but now they will have to focus on fighting off Hearts for second spot.

St Johnstone outfought the Dons for most of the game and thoroughly deserved the win. The Saints have now taken seven points off Aberdeen this season and scored 12 goals.

The only positive to take from the game was the performance of 16 year old substitute Connor McLennan. The young striker from Peterhead now becomes one of the Dons youngest ever players and looks to have a big future in the game. Michael Rose also made his debut this evening but had to come off at half-time with a hamstring injury.


match report

Derek McInnes made two changes to the side that lost at Hearts. Andrew Considine came back into the side and Michael Rose made his first team debut. The Dons lined up with Rose, Reynolds and Considine forming a back three. St Johnstone made five changes to the side which lost at Kilmarnock.

Rose did well in the fourth minute to win a header which led to the first corner of the game. A few minutes later referee Craig Thomson award St Johnstone another corner when former U19 team mates Joe Shaughnessy and Rose went up for a header. It was a completely wrong decision that almost proved costly when a header from Shaughnessy from close range cannoned off the bar. The ex-Don was very unlucky not to score.

On seven minutes great quick feet from Hayes won the Dons a free kick wide on the left. The initial ball in was cleared and then McGinn failed to beat Miller when he had another chance to get the ball over.

In the tenth minute Aberdeen won their first corner after a long ball from McLean found Hayes who left his marker for dead. His cross to the near post looked for Church but he just failed to flick it on. Steven Anderson did well to cover the situation. Keeper Zander Clark did not look convincing with his punch from McGinn's corner but he did just enough to get the ball to safety.

In the 13th minute a soft free kick was awarded when Jack was adjudged to have fouled. Wotherspoon curled the ball over the wall and into the corner of the net. His effort was well placed but the wall should have given the keeper better protection.

Eventually in the 19th minute Aberdeen came back into the game when they won a corner. However when the Saints cleared the deep ball to the back of the area they managed to break quickly and release Chris Millar. Thankfully he did not have enough pace to get away from Shinnie and the left back did just enough to put him off and forced Millar to shoot early, and he dragged the ball wide.

There was a lack of energy from the Aberdeen performance up to this point. The game was also very stop start with a lot of fouls which suited the home side. St Johnstone continued to look the better side. Davidson and Fisher both had shots from the edge of the area that thankfully were off target.

On the half hour mark Logan put over a cross that was just behind Church and just in front of Hayes. The Dons also at this point changing formation - going to a back with four with Shinnie moving into the middle of the park.
St Johnstone were getting the ball forward quickly and then playing an open and expansive game in the Aberdeen half - the Dons really could not get a foot hold. In the 33rd minute St Johnstone had the ball in the net again from a corner but referee Thomson had blown for a foul on Brown. Replays show the Dons were fortunate as the keeper appeared to collide with his own player.

On 36 minutes McGinn played a good forward ball into space but it was just too strong for Hayes.

A poor first half got even worse for the Dons on 37 minutes. A diagonal ball was played into the box and knocked down by Anderson who got above Kenny McLean. Steven MacLean anticipated the knock down and then cleverly got a little flick which took the ball past Brown. It was another poor goal for the Dons to lose. MacLean had another very good game against the Dons tonight. His movement was good and he was strong in the contact situation.

The half time whistle came as a relief - it was as poor an opening first 45 as the Dons have put in all season.

HT

During the interval Michael Rose was replaced by Barry Robson. Young Michael had actually looked one of the more composed Aberdeen players but had to come off with a hamstring injury.

Aberdeen tried to pick up the tempo but it was the home side who had the first chance of the half when a dangerous low ball ran away from Considine but MacLean was also unable to get a touch.

On 52 minutes our McLean from the right played a good ball in with his left foot. Keeper Zander Clark did well to hold on to the ball at his feet despite being put under pressure from Hayes.

Young goalkeeper Clark has only played a handful of games this season for the Perth side. In two matches against Aberdeen the Dons failed to test him much on either occasion which was disappointing.

Aberdeen were looking a bit more competitive with Robson involved but then they gifted a third goal. Jack's ball to Reynolds at the back was cut out. Saints quickly shifted the ball to Craig who, without the fullbacks covering back, was able to run in on goal and slam the ball past Brown.

At that stage it was game over.

On the hour mark a Logan cross from the right almost created an opening, the Dons put over very few crosses tonight. Then Murray Davidson was then replaced by Simon Lappin. On 64 minutes Hayes picked up a booking for a late tackle on Chris Miller

On 67 minutes more indecision at the back let in Miller who worked his way into the box with a clever move but his shot did not match the build-up play. On 70 minutes Simon Church then did well to work room for an opening after neat play saw him beat a couple of players but his shot lacked power. Fine play by Hayes won Aberdeen a free kick on 72 minutes. Robson whipped in a dangerous cross but the ball was headed clear. I don't think the Dons won a header inside the area all night.

In the final 20 minutes Jonny Hayes was trying to make things happen, he was popping up on both wings but nothing was coming off.

On 79 minutes Cummins was replaced by Kane. The front two of Cummins and MacLean were a real handful. On 82 minutes Connor McLennan came on to make his debut. Connor, who is only 16, replaced Niall and within a minute of coming on he won Aberdeen a corner.

Shinnie picked a booking before on 84 minutes Miller was replaced by Doyle. Two minutes later, in a similar position to the Saints first goal, a Robson free kick was very well saved by Clark.

On 89 minutes McLennan did well to shield the ball before firing a shot just over the bar. Fine play from the youngster. His appearance was the only positive to take from a very disappointing night.
St. Johnstone Teamsheet
12.Alexander Clark, 03.Thomas Scobbie, 06.Steven Anderson, 14.Joseph Shaughnessy, 22.Darnell Fisher, 07.Christopher Millar (05.James Michael Doyle 85), 08.Murray Davidson (04.Simon Lappin 61), 10.David Wotherspoon, 26.Liam Craig, 09.Steven MacLean, 18.Graham Cummins (25.Christopher Kane 80). Unused Subs: 01.Alan Mannus, 11.John Sutton, 20.Scott Brown, 36.Liam Gordon.
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Brown, Logan, Shinnie, Considine, Reynolds, McLean, McGinn (McLennan 83), Hayes, Jack, Rose (Robson 46), Church.

Unused Subs: Flood, Smith, Storie, McKenna, Collin.

Bookings:  Hayes (65),  Shinnie (84).
Attendance: 3,990
Visitors:1,431
Venue: McDiarmid Park, Perth
Referee: Craig Thomson