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St. Johnstone 1 - 1 Aberdeen

HT Score: St. Johnstone 1 - 0 Aberdeen

Scottish Premiership
St. Johnstone scorers: S Lappin 30.
Aberdeen scorers: Rooney 57.

23/01/2015 | KO: 19:45

All Square as Rooney Hits 20 mark in 50th Appearance

Aberdeen missed out on the chance to go back on top of the SPFL Premiership but Adam Rooney's oustanding second half goal earned them a point after an entertaining encounter at McDiarmid Park. Simon Lappin had given the home side a deserved lead after a slow start from The Dons but they grew more into the game and Rooney's magnificent volley from outside the box got them back level. There were chances for both sides after that - David Goodwillie went close with an overhead kick while Scott Brown made a trio of brilliant saves deep in injury time to prevent Saints from taking all three points. Attention now turns to next week's League Cup Semi Final against Dundee United at Hampden.

Derek McInnes was forced into one change with the absence of Ashton Taylor through injury. Willo Flood came back into the side, Jonny Hayes went to left back and Andrew Considine moved over to centre half. So the Dons lined up with Brown in goal, Logan at right back with Reynolds and Considine in central defence and Hayes at left back. Jack was the sitting midfielder with Flood and Pawlett alongside him. McGinn and Rooney covered the wide areas with Goodwillie upfront. St Johnstone made six changes to the side which lost to Inverness on Tuesday. Some due to injury, others tactical.
On 3 minutes a mistake in the Dons defence let in youngster Chris Kane who was one on one with Scott Brown and the keeper did very well to get off his line and smoother the shot. Steven MacLean then went down in the box and appealed for a pen but the referee waved play on. The home side, who by all accounts had been very poor on Tuesday night, started this game very strongly. On 4 minutes Simon Lappin flashed a free kick at pace just past the post. Then Chris Kane had space for a shot but he dragged it just wide. Most of the Saints traffic was down the Dons left. On 8 minutes Saints opened up the Dons defence again. David Wotherspoon had acres of space to move into and he fired in a shot from about 20 yards out which just went over the bar. He had so much time for the shot he should have hit the target. A minute later Niall McGinn had the Dons first shot on goal but it was a very weak effort. In the first ten minutes the Saints were the better side and were first to every ball. It was very clear if the Dons were to win this one they were going to have to battle very hard. After 11 minutes Bobby Madden ignored a clear hand ball by Brian Easton which stopped David Goodwillie having a clear run at goal. Aberdeen were not really in the game at this stage but on 18 minutes they very nearly took the lead. A bad mistake by Wotherspoon was quickly pounced upon by Peter Pawlett. St Johnstone keeper Alan Mannus did very well to get off his line and close down his angles before Peter could set himself for the shot. Rooney got on the end of the rebound but could not direct the ball towards the net. Seconds after that McGinn fired a shot just past the post. Aberdeen were now starting to get themselves into the game and enjoying some possession. On 27 minutes ex Don Steven MacLean was booked for a rash tackle on Logan and then Tom Scobbie put his keeper in more trouble with a short back pass. Pawlett was again in attendance but this time Mannus managed to hurry a clearance into touch. Just when Aberdeen were starting to take control the home side took the lead on the half hour mark. A cross from the left was not dealt with by the Dons defence who could not clear the ball to safety. The ball fell kindly to Simon Lappin who swept the ball home with a very good finish, although he had plenty of time to pick his spot.
Aberdeen responded immediately and Ryan Jack did well to put over a dangerous low cross but Mannus' handling was sound. The goal mouths were not in a great state which made handling difficult for the keepers. A Wootherspoon shot was then only parried by Brown as the ball took a horrible bounce in front of him. The keeper then did well to get up and block Lee Croft. From the resulting corner the Aberdeen defence again failed to head the ball clear. There was a bit of a stramash before Ryan Jack was able to thump the ball to safety. Aberdeen broke at pace and a Hayes shot was deflected just past. On 38 minutes Pawlett was put in by Jack. Peter could have had a shot but chose to play it wide to McGinn. Niall's cross was cut out by Mannus. In hindsight Peter might have been better having a crack himself as he was in a good area. Then on 40 minutes the Dons came desperately close to equalising. A free kick from Hayes found Goodwillie at the back post but he twice had shots blocked on the line. Then seconds later a corner was headed onto the bar by Goodwillie. Despite the late chances, at half time you have to say St Johnstone deserved to have their noses in front.

During the half time interval Willo Flood was replaced by Cammy Smith. At the start of the second half Aberdeen had a major let off as the Saints exposed the Dons left side once again. From a tight angle Lee Croft beat Brown but his shot rebounded off the far post. As Aberdeen went in search of an equaliser the second period was certainly going to be very open. The Dons were getting themselves in some good areas but the final ball from wide positions was not causing enough problems. On 55 minutes Logan did put over a more enticing ball but Rooney could not quite get on the end of it. It was going to take a bit of inspiration from someone in a red jersey to get the Dons back into this and on 57 minutes Adam Rooney delivered as he has so often done this season. The ball sat up for him about 30 yards out and he only had one thing on his mind. He took aim and fired a shot high into the corner of the net. Mannus might have got a touch but he could not keep it out. A superb goal!
On the hour mark Lee Croft was completely unmarked in the six yard box. Scobbie's cross from the left picked him out but he was unable to get any kind of touch on the ball. On 63 minutes Considine did really well to head an Easton cross clear and then at the other end Smith should have done better on the break but his ball to Goodwillie was slightly over hit. It was certainly a very open and entertaining game. With 20 minutes to go you felt chances would come at both ends and it was a matter of who would take them. On 70 minutes Easton cut in from the right and hit a low shot just wide. Then at the other end Smith and Hayes combined well. Smith put over a good ball towards Goodwillie, he produced an overhead kick which landed on the roof of the net. On 73 minutes the Dons twice gave the ball away but thankfully the home side could not take advantage. Then Pawlett down the left crossed for Rooney but he could not get enough on it and his touch went past the keepers near post. Then Lappin fancied a second but his free kick was always rising. It was still end to end and anyone's games. On 77 minutes Shankland, who won the Dons penalty that got the Dons back into the game against Dundee, came on for Goodwillie. Aberdeen were now going for a more direct approach. It very nearly worked as within second of coming on he almost set up Rooney. On 82 minutes Logan put a quality ball into the box which picked out Cammy Smith but his diving header went agonisingly past the post. On 84 minutes Shankland had a half chance on the edge of the area. His shot was blocked, Rooney following up managed to get his shot through and in the end it was a good save from Mannus as he would not have seen the ball till late. Rooney then picked out Pawlett in the box but his looping header was always going over. With about three minutes to go Barry Robson replaced Pawlett. On 88 minutes the home side had a three on one situation after Reynolds lost out in a 50-50 on the half way line. The Dons looked in real trouble but Jonny Hayes came from nowhere to get back, tackle MacLean and save the day. Then at the other end a McGinn cut back found Shankland who did really well to get a strong shot in on the turn but it was too close to Mannus who again made a decent save. Aberdeen lost a late late goal here earlier in the season to lose the game and they were very fortunate not to do the same tonight. In injury time Brown made a quite superb triple save. A shot came in from the edge of the area from Davidson which he got a hand to. Scott then did quite brilliantly to get up and block two shots from sub O'Halloran. Then somehow MacLean failed to bundle a Caddis cross over the line.
St. Johnstone Teamsheet
01.Alan Mannus, 03.Thomas Scobbie, 06.Steven Anderson, 19.Gary Miller (05.Frazer Wright 90), 24.Brian Easton, 04.Simon Lappin, 10.David Wotherspoon, 18.Murray Davidson, 22.Lee Croft (16.Liam Caddis 75), 09.Steven MacLean, 25.Christopher Kane (29.Michael O'Halloran 80). Unused Subs: 14.Brian Graham, 15.Steve Banks, 20.Scott Brown, 45.Alexander Kitchen.

Bookings:  09.Steven MacLean (27),   18.Murray Davidson (35),   19.Gary Miller (40),   10.David Wotherspoon (58).
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Brown, Logan, Considine, Reynolds, Hayes, Flood (Smith 46), McGinn, Pawlett (Robson 87), Jack, Rooney, Goodwillie (Shankland 77).

Unused Subs: Langfield, Shaughnessy, Masson, McManus.

Bookings:  Reynolds (44),  Rooney (83),  Jack (87).
Attendance: 4,845
Venue: McDiarmid Park, Perth
Referee: Bobby Madden