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Ladbrokes Premiership Rd 2 | St Mirren v Aberdeen Preview
Aberdeen travel to Paisley looking to maintain their 100% record in the Ladbrokes Premiership against a new look St. Mirren side on Sunday.
The fixture is sandwiched in between The Dons UEFA Europa League tie against HNK Rijeca and after the disappointment on Thursday night the manager recognises the importance of bouncing back straight away against Jim Goodwin’s outfit.
The gaffer told Red TV: “It’s the first disappointment for this team this year and it’s important we try and respond the right way. We need to pick ourselves up.
“There was a lot of energy given out there and a lot of tired boys and disappointed boys in the dressing room but it’s important we use that disappointment and channel it the right way.
“We want to maintain our league form with a win at St Mirren and then we will concentrate on Rijeka again.
“But I need to stress, I feel we have that performance in us that can reverse the deficit and give us the opportunity to go through.”
The Manager has a very good record against the Paisley side, as does striker Sam Cosgrove.
As Aberdeen boss McInnes has met St Mirren on 12 occasions in the league, winning eight times and drawing four.
One of those draws was of course the last time the sides at Pittodrie last season.
In February Sam Cosgrove 15th goal in 14 games rescued a point for Aberdeen who came twice from behind against a Saints side fighting for their lives. Duckens Nazon put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot before Lewis Ferguson headed in an equaliser. Tommie Hoban was sadly stretchered off that afternoon before Saints’ Kyle McAllister curled one into the top corner. But Cosgrove evened things up again and though Aberdeen pressed strongly for a winner, it would not come and St Mirren left with a deserved point.
Earlier in the season Sam scored his first goal for Aberdeen in a 4-0 Betfred Cup win over the Saints in August at Pittodrie. Then in October Sam scored his second goal for the club in a 4-1 league win. He would go on and score a double in that game. Connor McLennan, on his first start, made it two with Max Lowe scoring a third before the break and then Sam added the fourth to help an injury hit Dons side to an impressive win.
The last time the reds travelled to Paisley it was Sam again who was on target on a freezing Saturday afternoon in December. Stevie May scored from the penalty spot, but within five minutes Saints were level through youngster Cameron MacPherson. Then Cosgrove headed a second-half winner for the Dons despite the best efforts of keeper Lyness who had a superb game.
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No joy for Dons as Saints pick up the points : Live
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No joy for Dons as Saints pick up the points
An afternoon in Paisley where the Dons had most of the ball ended up with the paying the price for conceding early on – but what a difference it might have made had Aberdeen been awarded a blatant penalty on the hour.
Derek McInnes shook things up for the Dons after the defeat to Rijeka on Thursday with Zak Vyner coming in for Shay Logan to make his debut. Scott Wright started the game in place of Jon Gallagher, Connor McLennan replacing Niall McGinn, those three Rijeka starters dropping to the bench. Curtis Main came in for his first senior start in place of the absent Sam Cosgrove. The hosts made two changes from their 1-0 defeat at Hibs, Waters and Obika in for MacPherson and Mullen.
With the St Mirren pitch having taken a pounding from the rain, which continued to pour down, conditions were awkward with patches of standing water on the surface.
Four minutes in, Main did well to earn the Dons a corner on the left, but St Mirren cleared their lines in comfort. Five minutes later, the Aberdeen wall did its job to fend off a fierce free-kick from Durmus, then St Mirren repelled two Dons corners in quick succession in a very scrappy opening.
The hosts finally put a move together in the 13th minute, a break down their right from Magennis, getting him into a good position to play a precise square ball into the run of Durmus who produced a neat first time finish just inside Joe Lewis’ post from just inside the box to give St Mirren the lead.
Aberdeen responded in the 16th minute, a Greg Leigh throw reaching Main who turned sharply but turned his shot behind from a tight angle. Durmus could have had his second a minute later, heading over when unopposed on the penalty spot after a fine cross from Waters, a let off for the Dons who were struggling to get a foothold in the game amid the torrential rain.
Another golden chance went begging for St Mirren when, after McLoughlin stood the ball up to the back post, Mackenzie headed over from six yards in the 21st minute, then a minute later, Scott McKenna had to find a fine last ditch tackle to deny Obika who was in on goal.
Good feet from Connor McLennan won the Dons a free-kick 30 yards out on the half hour mark, Aberdeen eventually working the ball into a shooting space for Ryan Hedges, his 20 yarder going straight down the goalkeeper’s throat.
The Dons were gradually improving and another free-kick came their way in the 37th minute, some 35 yards out. Lewis Ferguson took a pot shot at goal but the ball flashed well over the bar.
Another corner was won down the left a minute later, McLoughlin hacking clear in the six yard box from a teasing Wright delivery in, but still the visitors could not fashion a real opening.
Yet another corner came from the same side in the 43rd minute, half cleared to McLennan whose thumping drive was blocked away for another which again came to nothing. Six first half corners without creating a semblance of a chance was frustrating fare.
St Mirren almost finished the half on a high, a quick break ending with an overhead kick from Durmus that was well handled by Lewis, bringing the first 45 minutes to an end.
HALF-TIME: St Mirren 1 Aberdeen 0
No changes to either side – or to the weather – at the start of the second half, the rain still hosing down in Paisley.
A period of sustained possession opened the half for Aberdeen, culminating in Main firing not far over from the edge of the box in the 48th minute but again, the game struggled to find any pattern early on.
Some 54 minutes in though and the Dons came close, Ferguson up well to head Vyner’s penetrating cross goalwards, Hladky doing well to tip it over, a fine save. By now, the Dons were dominating possession, but good organisation from the hosts meant there were precious few gaps.
Controversy flared in the 57th minute when Main felt Hladky had lost possession of the ball on the touchline with just one hand on it. The striker flicked it away from him and tucked the ball away but the goal was not given.
Just short of the hour, Flynn tangled with Ferguson to give the Dons another free-kick on the corner of the box, Hedges’ skimming ball in fisted away by the goalkeeper.
More controversy in the 61st minute when Hedges’ ball in was clearly handled by Flynn, the referee ignoring the penalty appeals and booking Vyner for dissent – if he’d seen the replay, he’d have understood the full-back’s frustration for it was an obvious penalty kick.
Derek McInnes made a double change on 62 minutes as on came Niall McGinn and Jon Gallagher for McLennan and Wright as Aberdeen looked to capitalise on this building momentum. Eight minutes later, Jim Goodwin made his first change, McAllister on for goalscorer Durmus.
Goodwin should have had himself another goalscorer almost immediately, a teasing cross on the run from full-back McGinn finding Andreu just six yards out but somehow, he shaped his header wide of goal when he should have at least hit the target. St Mirren then made a second change on 75 minutes, Obika replaced by Mullen.
Aberdeen almost unlocked the door on 76 minutes, McGinn’s fierce cross blocked at the near post by a defender. It nearly dropped for Main but Hladky was quick off his line to smother. Ojo collected a yellow for a rugby tackle on Foley in the 78th minute as the Dons began to lose a little patience. The hosts had the next chance though, good work from Magennis working a shooting chance that Andy Considine had to block behind.
They had another chance to seal it in the 82nd minute, McAllister picking up a loose pass from McKenna before driving forward 40 yards and firing over from the edge of the box.
James Wilson was Aberdeen’s final change in the 87th minute and he quickly created a shooting chance for Hedges but he didn’t catch it how he wanted and Hladky had another comfortable save to make. Almost immediately, Breadner replaced Andreu in the hosts’ final substitution.
A ridiculous challenge on Ferguson saw Mullen into the book and from the resulting free-kick, the Dons finally worked an opening, Considine’s clipped cross finding McGinn unmarked at the back post but from a tight angle, his shot smashed against the post and away behind.
The Dons laid siege to the St Mirren goal in the four minutes of added time, Ojo drilling a 25 yarder just past the post but for all their dominance of possession, Aberdeen could not find a way through and came home defeated.
FULL TIME: St Mirren 1-0 Aberdeen