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AFC - Match Report
match report 2019-20 fixture list
Scottish Premiership 
14/09/2019
 
Aberdeen 1 - 1 St. Johnstone
Kick Off:  3:00 PM   Hedges 28.        
Attendance: 13,272 (Visitors: 373)
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Dons blown off course at Pittodrie
With the return of the Scottish Premiership following the season's first international break, Derek McInnes named an unchanged side after the team had signed off for the break with a 3-0 win over Ross County. Shay Logan returned to the matchday squad, taking a place on the bench after injury ruled him out against Ross County.

St Johnstone made three changes after their 1-0 defeat at home to Kilmarnock in their previous game, Duffy, Craig and Kane all missing out, Ralston, Holt and the returning Stevie May all included in the starting XI on am increasingly blustery afternoon at Pittodrie.

Perhaps those conditions contributed to an extremely scrappy opening, neither side able to settle in the early stages, unable to put any constructive football together as the swirling wind posed plenty of problems.

Good work from Kennedy on the St Johnstone left finally created a semblance of an opening after 13 minutes, his cross reaching Davidson who stubbed his shot well wide from 20 yards.

Beautiful football from the Dons almost broke the deadlock in the 17th minute, a clever switch of play and then good feet from Greg Leigh giving him space to flight in a dangerous cross. Sam Cosgrove got there first, lobbing his header over the goalkeeper, only to see it strike the post and bounce to safety.

Good persistence from the Dons finally found that goal in the 28th minute of the game. Saints were penned in before Leigh, growing in stature with every game, drove forward to the edge of the box, a pass forward clipping Lewis Ferguson on its way to Ryan Hedges just inside the box and he slotted the ball through Clark's legs with all the calmness of a natural goalscorer.

It was due reward for the Dons who had been gradually increasing the tempo through the half.

It could have been two in the 35th minute, McGinn skying the ball over from 15 yards after nice approach play from Craig Bryson and Cosgrove, the ball having dropped awkwardly for the Northern Irishman. Three minutes later, Kennedy put the ball well over the posts for a conversion from 15 yards out - nice try.

A neatly worked offside trap between Andrew Considine and Michael Devlin stopped a dangerous looking break for May in the 40th minute as Saints gave a reminder that they were still well in the game.

That was proved two minutes later, O'Halloran given acres of space on the edge of the box to strike a low shot through a crowd of players and into the bottom corner via a slight deflection, the ball squirming past Joe Lewis who would ordinarily have backed himself to save it - a poor goal to concede all round.

HALF-TIME: Aberdeen 1 St Johnstone 1

The visitors were buoyed by the goal and , winning their first corner of the game in the 51st minute, Davidson timed his run nicely to get on the end of it but made a hash of his header, directing it wide from 10 yards, a good opportunity. Gordon was the first name in the referee's book a minute later.

The Dons were opened up by a swift break from Saints, Tanser releasing Kennedy on the charge. He picked out Holt and then on to Davidson, Lewis saving a ferocious shot well at the near post.

John Gallagher then entered the action coming on to replace Bryson in the 56th minute.

Saints turned up the heat around the hour mark, Aberdeen struggling to clear their lines amid a flurry of corners and an optimistic call for a penalty after May went to ground. At this stage, the visitors were looking the more likely to score, though referee McLean's decision to point to the spot when Kennedy fell over under no challenge in the box looked a bizarre way of trying to make it come about.

Thankfully he was overruled by his assistant.

Connor McLennan joined the fray in the 66th minute in place of McGinn, looking to replicate his impact for Scotland's Under 21s against Croatia in midweek. With the game in danger of petering out, wright replaced O'Halloran for the visiting side in the 77th minute. Ralston was booked for a foul on Funso Ojo almost immediately thereafter.

Ojo could not continue after treatment and was replaced by James Wilson in the 80th minute. May was then replaced by Hendry two minutes later as the game continued to drift, Saints digging in to ensure that the Dons could find neither time nor space to create anything of note.

Wotherspoon for Kennedy was the last change of the game as we headed into three minutes of stoppage time. Ferguson won the Dons a free-kick some 30 yards out from goal, the final throw of the dice.

Ferguson took it himself, his powerful effort taking a hefty deflection that looked as if it might take it into the net, lark hurling himself to his left to claw the ball away, a terrific save.

An afternoon where the blowy conditions did little to help either side, but one in which neither team could find the quality to overcome them.

 

The Manager - Post Match Quotes & Injury Update

Penalty Claims

"It was the right decision. We didn't need VAR we just needed a good linesman because I couldn't believe that the referee had given the decision. I think the referee knew right away that having given it he had got it wrong and the linesman confirmed it.

"It wasn't a penalty.

"I thought we should have had a penalty in the first half.

"I think (Scott) Tanser has handballed it from Sam Cosgrove's header - the one that hits the post.

"I would need to see it again but certainly I thought it was a handball and disappointed that we never got it."

Losing the Goal

"Disappointed from a winning position and being so good up until 42 minutes that we haven't gone on to win the game. We have allowed an equalising goal and there were similarities to last season - that type of goal, giving the opponent encouragement.

"We were dominating with our play with a lot of the stuff we were doing, switches of play quickly, getting balls in the box, asking the question.

"It was everything that I wanted, and we should in that type of position go on and win the game.

"We allow St Johnstone to counter on us, when we didn't need to. We allow the cross to come in when we shouldn't have, and we allowed O'Halloran too much space and we allowed a weak shot to get into the net.

"A cumulation of all of these things have given St Johnstone the equaliser.

"For that type of goal to be lost isn't good enough."

Second Half Performance

"At half time we said, now the game has become a 45 minute game, rather than a 90 minute game.

"We have caused that situation. We had to go and show our confidence to go and deal with the game and I just felt that we lost our way in the second half.

"I thought that we were too rushed, too hurried. We played the ball forward too quickly, we never got enough of our quality players, players that can do a wee bit on the ball, doing enough for us.

"St Johnstone, as a consequence of that, were a team that looked more assured in the second half.

"I thought they were worthy of their point and we didn't do enough to get all three.

"The changes to Bryson and Ojo going off didn't help with trying to get that control. The second half performance wasn't good enough and ultimately having lost such a poor goal we needed more in the second half to win the game.

"With Bryson and Ojo going off I just thought the dynamic of the team wasn't quite right in the middle of the park, but it still is no excuse. We should still be asking the questions later on in the game to try and win the game.

Injury Update

"They are both a concern Funso Ojo and Craig Bryson.

"As well, Jon Gallagher with the challenge with Liam Gordon, which was a fair challenge, he is on the way to hospital.

"We think he has got a problem with his tibia and he is getting it x-rayed. He was struggling after the tackle to have any real impact in the game. That one doesn't look good.

"Bryson isn't looking great at the moment either and Ojo we will need to wait and see how that settles.

"Bryson - it is his other ankle. He came to us (from Derby) with a problem with his ankle, but it wasn't the one he done today. He just landed awkwardly, and he's felt it jar.

"We will need to see how that one is once it has been scanned.

"Ojo felt both hamstrings a bit tight when he went into the challenge, so we will need to see how that settles.

"I do think that the injuries could be a reason why we only picked up a point but it is not the only reason and that's why I am disappointed.

"At the end there you've got McLennan and Gallagher playing behind Cosgrove with Wilson and Hedges in support.

"I just thought that we needed a bit more thought as well. We never got any consistent pressure.

"It's a point. We had been keen to build on the last couple of home performances with the two wins we had, and I thought from the winning position we had we should have gone on to win the game. I think that St Johnstone were certainly worthy of their point, especially with their second half performance."

Aberdeen Teamsheet:  Lewis, Vyner, Devlin, Considine, Leigh, Ojo (Wilson 80), Ferguson, Bryson (Gallagher 56), McGinn (McLennan 66), Hedges, Cosgrove.

Unused Subs: Logan, Main, Anderson, Cerny.

Bookings:

St. Johnstone Teamsheet:  01.Clark, 21.Ralston, 15.Kerr, 23.Gordon, 03.Tanser, 33.Kennedy (Wotherspoon 90+1), 08.Davidson, 19.Holt, 18.McCann, 14.May (Hendry 82), 17.O'Halloran (Wright 77).

Bookings:  23.Gordon(52) 21.Ralston (77).

Referee: Steven McLean

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