May 11, 2013
Dons held by Saints
Aberdeen extended their unbeaten run under new manager Derek McInnes to four matches but their goalless draw at St Mirren Park was a largely forgettable way to mark the 30th anniversary of their greatest triumph.
Three decades ago to the day, Alex Ferguson's Aberdeen side beat Real Madrid in Gothenburg to win the European Cup Winners' Cup but the current team are proving less effective on their travels.
Aberdeen have still not won an away game in 2013 although they came closer to three points than their hosts with Jonny Hayes seeing a goal disallowed and Marc McAusland clearing off the line from Scott Vernon.
And they looked secure at the back despite the continued absence of Russell Anderson, claiming their third clean sheet under McInnes.
Both sides lined up with two strikers and two attack-minded wingers - Dougie Imrie and Gary Teale for the hosts and Niall McGinn and Jonny Hayes for the Dons.
But the formations did not translate into much meaningful goalmouth action from two teams that have struggled in recent months.
St Mirren have now gone 10 league games without victory, although they made four changes after the Dons secured their survival with a 1-1 draw at Dundee last weekend.
Jim Goodwin, Jon Robertson, Imrie and Sam Parkin came into the starting line-up with Kenny McLean suspended, Paul McGowan absent and both Steven Thompson and Lee Mair dropping to the bench.
Aberdeen were without suspended pair Rory Fallon, who was sent off at Dens Park, and Peter Pawlett, whose dive earned his side the crucial penalty and a two-match ban. Stephen Hughes dropped out with the fit-again Hayes coming in along with forwards Scott Vernon and Cammy Smith.
It took 17 minutes for either side to come close. Vernon curled just over the top corner from 18 yards after some excellent close control from Ryan Jack.
St Mirren threatened moments later when Jamie Langfield pushed over Dougie Imrie's dipping, swerving 30-yard free-kick.
Mark Reynolds did well to head clear as Parkin looked set to finish off a cross from Conor Newton, who soon forced a save from Langfield with a 20-yard drive.
The best chance of the half fell to Joe Shaughnessy when McGinn's corner found him eight yards out but the Aberdeen right-back's downward header was stopped by Saints goalkeeper Craig Samson.
Aberdeen created the best chance of the game just after the break.
Vernon had seen a turn and shot saved before Hayes set him up three yards out with a cross to the back post. The English striker looked certain to nod home but Marc McAusland got his head in the way to divert the effort wide.
Ryan Jack volleyed wide from another decent chance after Vernon's lay-off and Aberdeen had the ball in the net in the 69th minute.
Vernon held up a long ball and laid it off to the onrushing McGinn, who helped the ball on to Hayes. The Irishman tucked the ball into the far corner from 14 yards but the assistant referee had his flag raised and it looked the correct decision despite protests from the visitors.
That was the end of the action although there was a talking point when St Mirren substitute Lewis Guy was taken off in the 80th minute, 18 minutes after coming on. The forward did not look happy as he went straight down the tunnel to be followed by assistant manager Tommy Craig.
|1 Craig Samson||1 Jamie Langfield|
|2 David van Zanten||22 Mark Reynolds|
|14 Marc McAusland||2 Ryan Jack|
|3 Paul Dummett||23 Joe Shaughnessy|
|6 Jim Goodwin||3 Clark Robertson|
|21 Gary Teale||5 Gavin Rae|
|8 John Robertson||16 Isaac Osbourne|
|24 Conor Newton||11 Jonathan Hayes|
|19 Sam Parkin||10 Niall McGinn|
|7 Dougie Imrie||9 Scott Vernon|
|77 Esmael Goncalves||38 Cameron Smith|
|44 Kieran Hughes||Dan Twardzik 20|
|5 Lee Mair||Nicky Lowrie 13|
|88 Sander Puri||Stephen Hughes 18|
|9 Steven Thompson||Robert Milsom 8|
|28 Jack Smith||Craig Storie 39|
|27 Lewis Guy||Josh Magennis 21|
|29 John McGinn||Declan McManus 34|
|Lewis Guy for Esmael Goncalves (62)||Robert Milsom for Cameron Smith (63)|
|John McGinn for John Robertson (72)||Nicky Lowrie for Gavin Rae (70)|
|Jack Smith for Lewis Guy (78)||Josh Magennis for Scott Vernon (80)|
|· Squads: St Mirren | Aberdeen|