Another game, another 2-2 draw, but Häcken was never like this. An out of sorts Aberdeen were grateful to one of the most remarkable goals of even Jonny Hayes’ long career and the ice-cold nerves of Bojan Miovski in the 100th minute as they snatched a draw in Paisley.
There were two changes to the Aberdeen starting XI from the 2-2 draw against BK Häcken on Thursday, with Angus MacDonald and Jonny Hayes returning, Shayden Morris and Ryan Duncan starting from the bench.
After their 1-0 win over Motherwell in the Viaplay Cup last weekend, there was once change for St. Mirren, Toyosi Olusanya replacing Mikael Mandron, who were among the substitutes.
There was a lively enough start in Paisley, but in the early exchanges, neither side was able to find a telling final ball to create a real opening. Olusanya took a tumble in the box in the ninth minute and clattered into the advertising boards behind the goal, but the referee was rightly disinterested in any penalty claims.
There was a half chance for Kiltie as he stretched to try and get a deflection on a ball into the near post after 19 minutes, but fortunately he couldn’t make contact and Kelle Roos was able to collect. Baccus had the ball in the net for the home team on 21 minutes, but an offside flag quickly cut short any celebrations.
Roos had to be sharp on 27 minutes, Taylor getting a glancing header on a right wing free-kick, the goalkeeper handling well. The home side were enjoying the upper hand at this stage with the Dons struggling to raise a gallop, but the game still had to burst into any real life.
Roos was called on again on 33 minutes, Kiltie winning another header from a St Mirren corner, Roos up to tip the ball over the bar. From the second corner, Strain hurled himself to the turf as he saw Graeme Shinnie coming towards him, the referee rightly booking him for the dive. St Mirren got the ball back into the box on 35, Olusanya having a poke at goal from six yards after a scramble, MacDonald getting a solid block on it to clear.
From out of nowhere, the Dons were in front on 42 minutes, scoring from their first ball into the opposition box. Awarded a free-kick for a foul on Duk by Taylor some 30 yards out and away on the Aberdeen right, Jonny Hayes stepped up to take. Playing a curling ball towards the back post, it eluded everybody, drifted in between Hemming and his defenders and nestled in the net. St Mirren boss Stephen Robinson was booked for protesting about the free-kick in the aftermath.
HALF-TIME: ST MIRREN 0 ABERDEEN 1
Hayes was in sharp action at the start of the second half too, darting across his own penalty area to take the ball off Kiltie’s toe as he readied himself to pull the trigger on 47 minutes.
St Mirren thought they were level on 50 though, a shot through a crowd of players spilled by Roos, Kiltie on the spot to clip in the loose ball. There was a VAR check after and the goal was disallowed for an offside in the build-up against Toyosi Olusanya. Aberdeen brought James McGarry on for Hayes immediately thereafter.
The Buddies should have been level on 54, Olusanya pouncing on a loose ball from MacDonald then streaking away from Slobodan Rubezic. Closing in on goal, Roos stayed big and was able to save with an outstretched leg. Jamie McGrath and Richard Jensen were brought on after 56 minutes, MacKenzie and Dante Polvara making way.
There was no let off as the referee pointed to the spot on 58 minutes after Strain’s cross hit MacDonald on the elbow from close range. VAR eventually upheld the original decision, Kiltie ramming the spot kick into the corner of the net for 1-1.
There were two changes for St Mirren with 20 minutes to go, Olusanya and Kiltie replaced by Greive and Mandron joining the fray. Duk was booked a minute later for a nudge on Tanser. Steve Agnew followed him into the book for expressing his surprise at Duk’s yellow card.
The two St Mirren subs combined to give the home side the lead on 76 minutes. From an Aberdeen attack, Mandron beat Jensen to the ball 10 yards away from the by-line and then drove 70 yards forward before playing a nicely weighted pass into the run of Greive who advanced and swept the ball past Roos. Duk was immediately replaced by Morris. Boyd-Munce was substituted on 81, Bolton replacing him. Six minutes later, McMenamin gave way to Flynn.
Rubezic was booked for a foul on Mandron on 88 minutes, Strain’s free-kick sailing over the bar. Aberdeen huffed and puffed but it looked fruitless until the seventh minute of added time. Leighton Clarkson drove a shot at goal, Gogic slid in with his arm raised and clearly blocked the ball with it. VAR called the referee’s attention to it and a penalty was awarded.
It fell to Bojan Miovski to salvage a point, but as he stepped up to take, he slipped, but he was still able to drive the ball down the middle and in. The referee went to VAR yet again to check for a suspected double touch from the number 9, but the goal stood.
It wasn’t over yet. Fourteen minutes into added time, a Dons throw into the box looked to have attracted another handball, but there was nothing doing this time. Finally, the game was done.
3 minutes added at end of 1st half.
8+5 minutes added at end of 2nd half.