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St. Johnstone 0 - 0 Aberdeen

HT Score: St. Johnstone 0 - 0 Aberdeen

Scottish Premiership

07/08/2016 | KO: 12:15

Stalemate at Saints in Leage Season Start

As expected manager Derek McInnes freshened up his side for the Ladbrokes Premiership opener with Anthony O'Connor coming into the defence and Miles Storey making his first start. Jayden Stockley also came into the starting XI with McGinn and Rooney dropping to the bench whilst Ash Taylor missed the game due to a one match suspension carried over from last season. Peter Pawlett was also suspended after his red card in the pre-season game against Arbroath. The midfielder will also miss the trip to Ayr on Wednesday night.

The game kicked off in warm but very windy conditions.

In the third minute, when the ball was eventually played on the deck, Wes Burns won the first corner of the game. Kenny McLean's ball in was over-hit and a chance to put some early pressure on the Saints defence was lost. That was to be the story of the day.

In the fifth minute, Storey's cross from the left looked to have picked out Burns but the wind pushed the ball away from the Welshman and into the arms of Mannus. The visitors enjoyed most of the possession in the early stages but were having to play from fairly deep.

In the 10th minute, Storey put over the first decent cross of the game and Shaughnessy did well to flick the ball clear with his head. St Johnstone then wasted an attacking free-kick when the ball was over-hit as both teams were struggling with the conditions. Space opened up for Brian Easton and although the shot from the left-back was a poor one it fell very kindly for Cummings inside the area and from point blank range, Lewis was forced to make a good stop - the striker really should have scored.

The wind continued to cause problems. Murray Davidson looked to have way over-hit a pass and the ball appeared to be going out of play but then it held up and Davidson was able to gather with the Aberdeen players out of position. In the end, they did well to defend the situation at the expense of the home team's first corner.

Joe Shaughnessy then put over a couple of long throws which again the Dons defence stood up to well. In the past couple of seasons, St Johnstone have tried to bully the Dons backline but they were standing up well to the physical battle today. Anthony O'Connor had a very impressive debut.

Aberdeen then enjoyed a good spell of possession 20 minutes in but frustratingly, none of the crosses picked out Stockley. On 24 minutes, Shinnie did find the Dons striker in the area with his forward pass but the knockdown by Stockley just failed to find Burns.

Referee Willie Collum award a soft free-kick to the home side in the 27th minute. The ball over from the right was won by Shaughnessy at the back post but his header was straight at Lewis. Apart from that, the referee had a good game.

On 33 minutes came a better move from the Dons. Shinnie's cross found Stockley who cleverly knocked it down to Jack on the edge of the area. The skipper controlled his shot well but it was too close to the keeper. Shinnie was now picking the ball up in some good areas and burst forward again, forcing Liam Craig to bring him down and the first yellow card of the afternoon was produced. Burns took the free-kick which was 25 yards out but from a central position, it was always going over the top.

After 36 minutes, Burns and Storey linked up well with Miles playing in Logan whose cross was inches away from Burns. Aberdeen continued to force the play as they won a corner and then another Shinnie run produced another yellow card, this time for Cummings. Disappointingly Aberdeen wasted the free-kick and the home side were able to release the pressure that had been building.

On 41 minutes, another Shaughnessy long throw caused problems. McLean was not penalised for impeding Lewis and the ball fell to Danny Swanson whose powerful shot was extremely well saved by Lewis. The big keeper would not have seen much of the ball as he had a lot of bodies in front of him.

In the final minute of the half, Storey and Burns again linked up well but Burns over-hit his cross. That pretty much summed up the half.

At the start of the second half Aberdeen won a free-kick which found the head of O'Connor inside the area but again no one was on hand to create a chance. Then at the other end, O'Connor missed a header but as the ball came back in, the Irishman made a brilliant tackle to thwart Cummings from inside the six-yard box. Lewis also did very well to spread himself and smoother the shot. Aberdeen then wasted another free-kick and corner with poor deliveries before Kenny McLean tried his luck from distance - an easy save for Mannus.

On 58 minutes, Aberdeen claimed a penalty when McLean was pushed over inside the area but nothing was given. On the hour mark, Shinnie did really well to pick up the ball after a midfield tussle. He put over a decent cross but Stockley could not get a touch. On 63 minutes, another Aberdeen set piece was wasted when McLean over hit a free-kick.

Then on 63 minutes came a double change, Rooney and McGinn on, Storey and Burns off. Both players impressed but were not helped by the dry pitch which did not allow them to utilise their pace.

On 67 minutes came some superb play by Stockley on the halfway line to control a difficult ball and then flick it over his head for McGinn to run onto. Niall had space and time which resulted in a dangerous cross which had to be headed behind for a corner. From the corner the ball eventually found its way to Considine at the back of the area. He fired in a shot but again Mannus did not have to move to make the save. A minute later, the keeper was forced to make a decent stop when space opened up for Ryan Jack. Ryan fired in a good left footed shot which forced the keeper to dive to his left to make the save.

After that, the Dons started to look tired. Having to play for much of the game on Thursday night in 30 degrees heat and with ten men caught up with the players but to their credit, they dug deep to make sure they did not concede.

On 82 minutes, a rare late attack from Aberdeen forced another corner. As McGinn was now on the pitch, there was some more quality coming from the set pieces but still they could not force an opening against a very well organised defence.

A minute later, a Shinnie cross came to McGinn at the edge of the area but his first time effort was pulled well wide. The game then finally opened up as both teams went looking for a winner. After 85 minutes, McLean's chipped cross picked out Jack and his header was pushed wide by the keeper. Rooney then teed up McGinn but his shot was weak. In the 90th minute, a St Johnstone corner produced a really brave bit of goalkeeping from Joe Lewis as he gathered the ball under real pressure from substitute Chris Kane.

In the two minutes of added time the game was end to end but both teams were guilty of wasting the final ball.
Then in the dying seconds Aberdeen could have sneaked it when Shinnie's ball in was just missed by the diving Stockley inside the six-yard box.

In the end, a fair result as both teams probably did not do enough to win the contest. Aberdeen had more of the possession but lacked that little spark though they can be very pleased with the defensive effort and the clean sheet.
St. Johnstone Teamsheet
01.Alan Mannus, 03.Thomas Scobbie, 06.Steven Anderson, 14.Joseph Shaughnessy, 24.Brian Easton, 04.Blair Alston (10.David Wotherspoon 67), 08.Murray Davidson, 11.Daniel Swanson, 26.Liam Craig, 09.Steven MacLean (17.Michael Coulson 84), 29.Graham Cummins (38: foul) (25.Christopher Kane 64). Unused Subs: 12.Alexander Clark, 15.Brad McKay, 18.Paul Paton, 39.Aaron Comrie.

Bookings:  26.Liam Craig (35),   29.Graham Cummins (38).
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Lewis, Logan, Considine, Reynolds, O'Connor, Shinnie, McLean, Jack, Burns (McGinn 64), Stockley, Storey (Rooney 64).

Unused Subs: Morris, Storie, McKenna, Wright, Alexander.
Attendance: 5,728
Venue: McDiarmid Park, Perth
Referee: Willie Collum
Next Match
24 Feb 2024 / 15:00 / Rugby Park, Kilmarnock