Aberdeen went down to their first defeat of the season at St Mirren Park. In truth the 1-0 scoreline is an unfair reflection of the game as the home side could and should have won by more. They enjoyed the majority of possession throughout and missed an number of good chances. With Mawene, Fyvie, Jack and Clark all out the patched up Dons started slowly and never really got going. Saints summer signing Nigel Hasselbaink ran the show and it was fitting he scored the only goal of the game on 49 minutes after a fine ball by McGowan.
In the first half Thompson and Hasselbaink missed really good chances and Lee Mair had a header cleared off the line after the break. Gary Teale, who also impressed, had a couple of close efforts as well. Apart from a Vernon header and a Paton drive from the edge of the box with went just past, Craig Samson in the St Mirren goal had a very quiet afternoon as the Dons again failed to create much.
Craig Brown was forced into three changes as Mawene and Fyvie picked up injuries in training during the week and Ryan Jack was suspended after his red card against St Johnstone. Kari Arnason come in to partner Andrew Considine in central defence, Clark Robertson came in for Ryan Jack at full back, he played at left back and Richard Foster moved to the right. Josh Magennis replaced Fyvie in midfield and again he went to the left with Pawlett being moved to the right.
There was a bright start from the home side with summer signing Nigel Hasselbaink looking lively In the opening minutes. He forced a corner after good defending by Considine. The corner was claimed by Gonzalez, the ball appeared to be nudged from his hands but the referee waved play on and the Dons defence were only just able to scramble the ball clear.
Clark Robertson was booked early on for a tackle on Steve Thompson. The former Rangers striker was none too pleased with the challenge. Referee Norris seemed to indicate the yellow card was for his second foul. Shortly after that the striker failed to control a simple pass, much to the pleasure of the Red Army.
St Mirren continued to dominate and Steven Thomson, the midfielder not to be confused with Steve Thompson, put a shot just wide. Then on 12 minutes after another good move Hasselbaink crossed for Teale at the back post. Clark Robertson did really well to head the ball behind to prevent the former Scotland International from scoring. From the corner the ball was knocked down and from about five yards out Thompson put his effort over the bar. It was a really bad miss. It was also bad defending from Aberdeen though to allow the knock down and to allow Thompson room in the box.
At this stage the Dons were really struggling to get their midfield into the game, and in particular to get Milsom on the ball. On 20 minutes the Saints right back van Zanten flattened Pawlett who had beat him all ends up. The referee decided just to speak to the St Mirren player. Hard to see what was different to that of Clark Robertson's foul which cost him a yellow card. From the free kick Milsom swung the ball in and Magennis just failed to connect at the back post.
Back came St Mirren. On 25 minutes Teale cut inside and fired just over. Again a player of his ability was given far too much room. Vernon was then booked just before the half hour mark for an alleged elbow on Jim Goodwin. A strange decision. If it was an elbow, (which it wasn't), it's a red card. There was nothing in the challenge and Goodwin had been dishing it out to Vernon and Mackie the whole game.
Kari Arnason then put in a goal saving tackle to stop Thompson from scoring. Arnason was one of the few Aberdeen players who had a good game.The Dons on 31 minutes managed to get out of their half on a rare occasion and Milson set up Robertson who put in decent cross. Moments later there was more work to be done when Vernon's shot was spilled by Samson but there were no Aberdeen players following up.
In between those chances Magennis got a knock in the head after a clash with Goodwin. On 34 minutes Milsom was pole axed by Goodwin and this time the Saints defender was booked.
Hasslebaink then fired just wide after more good play. The Dons were really struggling to pick him up. Goodwin then took down Pawlett for a free kick on the edge of the box. It looked a cynical challenge and the player had just been booked before that. Milsom found Scott Vernon with the free kick but there was no power or direction in the header. Vernon was by now beginning to get to grips with the game and although the service he was receiving was not great, he winning a few headers which was at least an encouraging sign.
On 38 minutes the Dons had a great chance to score against the run of play. After receiving the break of the ball in the middle of the park Osbourne picked it up with the St Mirren defence out of position. Isaac's pass was behind Mackie, but he was still in on goal. He crossed to Vernon but Mair had read the situation well and put in a good block. A good opportunity missed. Vernon then set up Pawlett but he failed to connect properly with his shot.
Just before half time Teale almost set up Thompson but he was ruled offside and then a minute before the break the miss of the game. The ball was played wide to Teale who put in a fantastic cross to Hasselbaink who somehow failed to hit the target from right in front of goal.
At half time Craig and Archie made some tactical changes. Peter Pawlett move to the left wing, Josh Magennis was pushed up front and Darren Mackie went back to right midfield. Despite the changes the second half started the same as the first with Hasselbaink running at the Dons defence and on 49 minutes the goal finally came.
Aberdeen were actually on the attack but the move broke down and Paul McGowan played a great ball in from the left which cut the Dons defence open. Hasselbaink ran in on goal with no one near him and the former Hamilton Accies man scored with ease.
Darren Mackie was then booked for next to nothing and shortly after that Josh Magennis was booked for lunge. At least the Dons were showing some fight. Vernon was unlucky with a header from a free kick which was taken by Milsom. The ball was tipped just wide by Samson and the keeper appeared to be struggling to get across his goal in time to make the save. Milsom then at the other end had to clear the ball off the line after Lee Mair had got a header in. On 57 minutes Michael Paton replaced Josh Magennis. There were further subs to follow as Mitch Megginson came on for Peter Pawlett and finally Nicky Low came on for Scott Vernon.
Arnason was then short with a back pass which allowed in Hasselbaink. Gonzalez did really well get out early and block. Arnason was on hand to clear the danger. Credit to skipper Foster who tried to inspire his team mates and in the final stages Megginson fired over on 75 minutes and on 80 minutes Michael Paton's drive had the keeper scrambling and the Dons fans on their feet but the ball went just wide. As they did on Monday night St Mirren appeared to tire near in the final 15 but Aberdeen looked a well beaten team.
The final action saw Norris book Megginson for a very soft foul. Seven yellow cards did seem a bit excessive for a game that saw little trouble.
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