There was much discussion before the game among the fans about what formation the Dons would play, the manager sent them out in the usual 4-5-1 formation with the Dons lining up with Brown in goal, Andrew Considine moved over to right back, Taylor and Reynolds were in central defence with Hayes at left back. Adam Rooney occupied the left side of midfield when the Dons were defending, with Smith and Jack in the middle and McGinn on the right. Pawlett played his usual role in behind the striker who was Goodwillie.
In the second minute Hayes did well to win the ball down the left. He was able to get to the by-line before cutting the ball back to Ryan Jack who had continued his run into the box after starting the move. His shot was blocked but the ball looked to be landing at the feet of Rooney until Daniel Seabourne made a vital interception. The full back stopped an almost certain goal.
On 5 minutes Rooney had the ball in the net after McGinn had won the ball three times in the area. However ref William Collum felt Adam had pushed his marker out the way to make room for the shot. There were no complaints from the Dons which suggests it was the right decision.
Aberdeen started the game very brightly but were lucky not to go behind on 10 minutes when Kris Doolan did well to knock the ball down to Craigen and his shot just went past the post. He really should have at least hit the target. The same player had another chance on 14 minutes but this time Ash Taylor made a good block before he could get his shot away.
To their credit both teams were trying to get the ball down and play some football. 20 minutes in and you could see Thistle this season are a lot stronger at the back with centre half Frederic Frans giving Goodwillie very little to scrap on. On 26 minutes Thistle got a kind break of the ball which gave Doolan a one on one with Reynolds, the Dons skipper though did very well to match his run and make a tackle just at the right moment.
On 28 minutes Smith played it to Rooney whose shot on the turn from the edge of the area forced Gallacher into a good save as he turned the ball round the post at the expense of a corner - the Dons first of the game. From the corner Considine very nearly stole in at the back post.
On the half hour mark a Niall McGinn free kick from a good 25 yards out was touched away by Gallacher. The Dons kept a good spell of pressure on and Smith played in a clever ball into the box. It was dummied by Goodwillie as he was offside and in the end Gallacher made a very good reactive save as the ball took an unexpected bounce just in front of him. It could be argued that the Dons players were offside as they were in the line of sight of the goalkeeper even although they were moving back to an onside position.
The Dons second corner of the game was headed on by Reynolds and the ball was clearly handled by Abdul Osman whose hand was up protecting his face. Penalty Aberdeen. Rooney had to wait a couple of minutes but showed good composure to hammer the ball low to the keeper's right and although Gallacher went the right way he was never going to stop it. It was Adam's 14th goal of the season.
On 36 minutes the Thistle defence again failed to clear their lines and the ball fell to Andrew Considine who struck a sweat shot which Gallacher just managed to beat away. On 40 minutes Thistle themselves were shouting for a penalty when they swung in a corner but the ball actually appeared to hit Osman. It was probably just as well it did as the ball was heading goal ward.
The second half was a very scrappy affair. Three minutes in, Jonny Hayes took a sore one as he blocked a powerful shot from former Don Stephen O'Donnell. Aberdeen were down to ten men for a few minutes but thankfully Jonny was able to continue even if he was walking a bit gingerly.
The Dons being a goal ahead suited them. They were able to invite pressure from the home side and then hit on the break. Thistle to their credit were still trying to play the ball from the back and continue their slow build ups instead of going long.
On 54 minutes the first change of the game. Craigen was replaced by Gary Fraser.
On the half hour mark, Pawlett released Goodwillie down the right. The striker could have had a hit but tried instead to pick out McGinn who was unmarked at the back of the area however David's ball deflected off a defender and a good chance was lost.
On 62 minutes Lawless was replaced by Kallum Higginbotham who was directly up against Andrew Considine down the right. The Dons defender, who had a very good game, was booked for a foul on Higginbotham on 64 minutes.
Partick were now playing a more attacking formation and getting more bodies forward which you felt would give chances to the Dons on the break. On 65 minutes Pawlett turned his marker and was clear and though he initially outpaced them the defence were able to get back and crowd Peter out.
Aberdeen forced a corner on 67 minutes. They worked a short one which eventually saw Smith play in Taylor and his shot from the angle forced a second corner which Hayes swung into the near post but Thistle defended well and cleared. On 71 minutes Thistle made their final change, O'Donnell was replaced by Ryan Stevenson. A minute later Hayes played in a great chipped ball from the left. Rooney went up and planted a header down into the corner of the net. It looked a certain goal but Gallacher did brilliantly to read it, dive to his left and get a strong hand on the ball to make a very impressive save.
That lifted the home fans.
On 76 minutes the lively Higginbotham cut inside and fired a shot just over. On 77 minutes the Dons made their first change. David Goodwillie was replaced by Jeffrey Monakana. Jeffrey played wide left and Adam Rooney went up top. On 78 minutes a massive let off for the Dons. Ryan Stevenson floated over a good ball from the left which picked out Stuart Bannigan. He was completely unmarked but somehow missed from only about 8 yards out as the ball appeared to come off his shoulder.
On 85 minutes another chance for the home side. The ball was whipped in from the right and a Osman header went just over the bar. Then a great moment for young Kieran Gibbons as he came on for Cammy Smith to make his Aberdeen debut. Kieran had to fight back from a very serious injury last season so it was great to see him making his debut. He has played very well for the U20s this season.
With two minutes to go Shankland came on for McGinn. Lawrence did a good job of holding the ball up in the final few minutes and Aberdeen were able to see out four minutes of injury time very comfortably.
A very controlled performance and deserved win for the Dons.
Derek McInnes was forced to make a number of changes with Shay Logan being out suspended and Willo Flood and Barry Robson missing out through injury.