The Dons gained their first away win of the season in an eventful match in atrocious conditions. Aberdeen grabbed an early lead when the Saints keeper was unable to hold a fierce shot from Jack and Vernon showed his striker instinct as he followed up to net the loose ball. After the break Arnason crashed the ball off the post then substitute Chalali was a yard on side as he went one-on-one with Enckelman, but the assistant raised his flag to stop play. The Saints keeper then made another mistake with a poor clearance. Jack pounced on the ball and showed great composure to net from 2 yards inside the Saints half. Just as it looked like being the perfect evening Considine received a second yellow as the match official failed to take the conditions into account. The Dons then conceded a late goal in injury time, but held out for a deserved win and move up to ninth spot. A great result, but Considine misses Saturday now and Mawene and Clark both went off injured.
This game was in serious doubt when the Aberdeen team arrived just before 7.00pm. Referee Steven McLean, who called off the original fixture between the teams, sent out the St Johnstone goalkeeping unit to test the strength of the wind. He then consulted with both managers and needed them both to agree for the game to go ahead. Thankfully for the 300 or so Aberdeen fans that had travelled to the game it went ahead and the Dons lined up with Isaac Osbourne at right back, Ryan Jack moved into centre midfield with Chris Clark coming into the side for the suspended Fraser Fyvie
Aberdeen kicked off playing into the wind. Well, it was a more like a hurricane and with the wind swirling around it was difficult to see which team if any had the advantage.
On 3 minutes Osbourne, playing at right back for the first time in an Aberdeen jersey although he has played there before in his career, deflected the ball away for a corner. An early test for the Dons defence. Brown punched clear but the ball went only as far as Chris Millar. He shot from distance but his shot was saved. It was certainly the right idea to test the Dons keeper. This was not a night for goalkeepers as the conditions made their jobs almost impossible at times.
The home side had the better of the early exchanges. A cross was well held up by Parkin who played a neat ball into the path of Craig. A after a bit of a stramash Jack did well to come across and dribble the ball to safety.
Thankfully the conditions were improving slightly, from deplorable to atrocious.
On 7 minutes the Dons mounted their first attack. A good cross from Clark just went over the heads of Fallon and Vernon. Then from a long clear out Considine did really well when the ball hung in the air and despite pressure from the very tall Parkin the defender was able to head back to his goalkeeper.
On 12 minutes the Dons won their first corner. The first attempt did not get past first defender but went behind for another corner. The second and then third attempts from Clark were better and the ball held up in the wind. The Saints eventually cleared their lines and Foster gathered on half way. He played the ball to Milsom who then picked out Clark who was still over on the left hand side. The midfielder cut inside and crossed. The Saints defence failed to deal with it and the ball was played back into the path of Ryan Jack who was in acres of space on the edge of the box. He hit a great strike which he did well to keep down. The keeper blocked well but Enckelman could not hold on and Vernon was on hand to tap in for his seventh goal of the season. The St Johnstone defenders half heartedly appealed for off side but TV replays showed the Dons striker was well on when Jack hit the shot.
On 18 minutes a free kick was played in and Parkin, who was by far the tallest player on the pitch, won the header but the ball looped up into the grateful arms of Brown. Then at the other end the other keeper almost gifted Aberdeen another. A long ball by Mawene seemed innocuous enough but Enckleman misjudged it, he then fumbled it and he only just managed to lunge and grasp it before Scott Vernon got his foot to the ball. The keeper was tested again shortly afterwards when Vernon set up Clark who cut inside. His shot was deflected which took the power off it and Enckleman dealt better with this one.
The conditions were back to deplorable again.
At the other end St Johnstone played a good ball into the box. Brown elected to punch. A very wise choice in these conditions. On 25 minutes Jack, who was having a greater influence on the game by this time, played it to Osbourne who had made a fantastic over lapping run. He put in a great cross but the ball was just cut out by a Saints defender. Two minutes later Fallon linked up well with Clark. Vernon then laid the ball off to Milsom who played it back to Foster who shot from distance but the ball sailed well over. The captain was quite entitled to hit a shot in these conditions.
Then the captain was involved in a big moment of the game at the other end. Parkin played a clever ball over the top for Craig. Foster chased him down and clashed with Saints player on the edge of the box. Foster was booked as the home fans appealed for a penalty and a red card. The incident was clearly outside the box and at that angle there was no way it could be a red card. Foster injured himself in the process and had to go off for treatment.
Whilst the Dons were still down to ten men Osbourne put in another brilliant cross but again no takers. One of the strikers should have anticipated a cross. Thankfully Foster was able to continue.
Another weather update. Playing into the swirling wind actually seemed marginally easier. Most of the St Johnstone through balls were skidding off the surface through to Brown. Whereas the Aberdeen balls were holding up nicely.
A scare for the Dons on 35 minutes when Davidson was played in. When one on one he shot across goal and put the ball just wide. However even if he had found the net it would not of counted as he was off side anyway. Then on 40 minutes Parkin chested the ball down to Craig but his effort went well over the bar.
The half finished with a flurry of activity. On 43 minutes a great passing move from the Dons. From the right across to the left. Milsom feed in Jack. He put in a good cross but Enckelman just got to it ahead of Vernon. Just before break the Dons carelessly gave away possession. The ball was played inside Mawene to Craig. He had a chance to shot but decided from a tight angle to cross. The ball came back came back again though and a better cross picked out Parkin. His header deflected just wide with Brown scrambling to get across to his top hand corner.
You felt both teams could have been found guilty of over playing it at times in the first period. With the conditions a more direct route might have proved to be more fruitful. The second half started off with Clark making a good run down the right and finding space but his cross again failed to find head of Vernon or Fallon
Jason Brown then made an outstanding save at his near post from almost point blank range from Haber. This was after the Dons had failed to clear their lines and Jack instead of clearing put the ball back across the face of goal. Brown a minute later then cut out a cross from the same Saints player. Good handling from the Welsh keeper. The Dons then won a corner. The ball was cleared but played back to the taker Milsom. He played in a great ball and Osbourne had a free header but he got too much on it.
Then on 50 minutes a major let off for the Dons. A simple through ball allowed in Davidson. The Dons defence had fallen asleep. When closing in on goal Davidson decided to chip Brown. The ball went harmlessly over to the relief of Aberdeen. Davidson did not realise just how much time and space he had. The midfielder also had Haber alongside him. They could have walked the ball into the net.
Then a blow for the Dons when Mawene had to go off with an injury. Rory McArdle came on giving him a chance to show what he can do in his proper position of centre half. Most of his Aberdeen career had been spent at right back. Rory went on to have a very fine match. A nice dummy from Vernon gave Fallon his first glimpse of goal but although he got his shot on target the shot was weak.
Another change in the weather. The rain had turned to snow, although it was more of the sleet variety as opposed to the white stuff. With an hour or so gone St Johnstone were the better team at this stage and worryingly the Dons were defending deeper and deeper. Then another chance for the Saints. Haber played the ball down to Parkin but from 18 yards he put the ball over. Another let off.
The Dons finally managed to get some possession outside their own half. On 65 minutes after some tidy play down left Fallon laid it off. The ball was worked into the centre of the park. Arnason picked it up and only had one thought on his mind. He set himself and hit a fantastic shot which clipped the edge of the post. So unlucky. He really is a class act.
With about one quarter of the game to go more substitutions. Ex Don Alan Maybury, who had a fine game, was replaced by Willie Gibson and then Fallon came off and Mohamed Chalali came on.The Moroccan striker very nearly scored with one of his first touches. Vernon played it through to him but he was ruled offside. He looked a mile on side at the time. A shocking decision. TV replays back this up. He was a yard on!
At this stage Dons defence were holding firm. Throwing themselves into tackles and putting their bodies on line. And they got their rewards for it. Arnason went for a 50-50. Another excellent tackle. The ball broke away up field and Enckelman came along way out to meet the it as Vernon chased it down. Vernon put in some shift. The keeper went for distance but tried too hard and miscued his clearance to Ryan Jack who was standing on the half way line. With the keeper well out of his goals Jack hit a shot from all of 40 yards past him and into the net. It really was an outstanding finish. Ryan did so well to keep his shot down. His technique was fantastic.
Whilst all that was going on Chris Clark took a knock and was replaced shortly afterwards by Peter Pawlett.
Then just when you thought the game was over Considine received a second yellow after a mistimed tackle on Parkin. It seemed a harsh decision and the referee obviously did not bother to take the conditions into account. Arnason went back into centre half.
The Dons hit on the break and had a three on one. Jack played in Pawlett and with the Saints defenders not even attempting to get back the Dons should have scored but they messed it up. The home side not surprisingly had all the possession in the final stages but never really looked liked scoring and again it was the Dons and Jack who again broke forward. This time he tried to pick out Chalali but the danger was cleared.
Then in stoppage time from nothing a goal. A deep cross from the right picked out Haber at the back post. Osbourne did not get close enough to him and the striker put the ball back across goal into the corner of the net with a good header. The last few minutes were nervous. Far more nervous than they should have been. Richard Foster then almost gave everyone in the Aberdeen dugout a heart attack when he gave the ball away in the centre circle. Saints hit quickly and put in a good cross but thankfully McArdle cut it out. Chalali then had another chance on the break but tried to beat one man too many.
Relief when the final whistle sounded. Aberdeen made heavy weather of it in the end but that was hardly surprising considering they have not been in a winning position on the road too often in recent times. This was a very good and important victory.