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AFC - Match Report
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SPL 
19/02/2012
 
Aberdeen 0 - 0 St. Johnstone
Kick Off:  12:45 PM          
Attendance: 6,936 (Visitors: 219)
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Stalemate Against the Saints

Stephen Hughes in action For the sixth time this season so far, Aberdeen were involved in a stalemate. In a bright but cold day at Pittodrie, neither the hosts nor the visitors St Johnstone could make the breakthrough in another match of few clear cut chances. On the positive side, the Dons continue unbeaten in 2012 and look solid defensively .

Craig Brown made two changes from the side that defeated Queen of the South at the end of Tuesday's Scottish Cup replay. Gavin Rae made his debut following recovery from injury while Ryan Jack took his place after being left out on Tuesday for disciplinary reasons. Rory Fallon and Youl Mawene were dropped to the bench as the Dons went in search of the win that would take them just three points behind fourth placed Hearts.

Scott Vernon created the Dons first meaningful chance when he went on a mazy run through the St. Johnstone defence but his shot was weak and went wide of the target. Mitch Megginson then went close but his snatched effort also failed to trouble Saints goalkeeper Alan Mannus.

Aberdeen should have taken the lead just moments later. Stephen Hughes passed to Gavin Rae who released Jack down the right wing and from his resultant cross Fyvie headed just wide of the post to deny the Dons.

Both teams looked fairly comfortable but a short back pass from Mark Reynolds allowed Sandaza to get a powerful drive on target that Jason Brown had to gather at the second attempt.

Ryan Jack was harshly booked on the half hour mark for a challenge on Liam Craig but St Johnstone failed to make anything of the resultant free kick.

The game was still very even in the run up to half time although Scott Vernon did have sight of goal when a neat pass from Stephen Hughes released him but the shot again went well over the bar to the disappointment of the home support.

Just prior to the half time interval Stephen Hughes had to be replaced by Nigerian Daniel Uchechi with the manager later confirming that the hamstring injury for Hughes would keep him out for at least a month. Uchechi however came on to make his Pittodrie debut but had little chance to make an impact before the half time whistle went at 0-0.Kari Arnason was playing up front today

HT

The Pittodrie faithful were looking for a more exciting second half and the Dons did start brightly. Arnason's early attempt was wild though and went well wide of the goal. Soon after a long ball from McArdle released Vernon. The Englishmen crossed the ball to Mitch Megginson who's header missed the target.

Uchechi was showing a few glimpses of his capabilities and he drew a foul from Frazer Wright on 54 minutes that resulted in the St Johnstone defender receiving a yellow card from referee Salmond. The resultant free kick was again poor as the Dons tried to put pressure on the Saints defence.

Megginson was next to have a shot at goal but from a tight angle his shot went over the bar and failed to trouble goalkeeper Mannus. And Aberdeen were lucky not to go behind when St Johnstone broke up the other end of the pitch. Several St Johnstone players found themselves in acres of space but Fran Sandaza's shot was well off target after the ball took a touch off Rory McArdle on its way through to the Spaniard.

In an attempt to break the deadlock, Darren Mackie replaced Gavin Rae, who despite having very little of the ball showed in glimpses that he will be an asset to the Dons for the remainder of the season. Mohamed Chalali also replaced Mitch Megginson on 75 minutes.

The Dons push for a winner late on Much of the rest of the second half continued to be played in midfield with neither goalkeeper nor defence having to work particularly hard. Both sides had half chances but nothing clear cut until the 80th minute when a cross from Uchechi was slashed wide by Darren Mackie.

With the clock ticking down, Aberdeen did up the tempo slightly and began to create more promising openings. Arnason unleashed a shot on 83 minutes that was well held by Mannus and 4 minutes later had another shot that went just wide of the target.

In the 88th minute, Chalali then had a chance from an Arnason cross but again the shot went wide.

St Johnstone could have won it in the final minute but Marcus Haber's header went well wide under pressure, much to the relief of the home fans and players. It was a third scoreless draw in four games for Aberdeen who, despite continuing their unbeaten run, will need to find a creative spark from somewhere if they are to finish in the SPL top six with tough games to come.

Aberdeen Teamsheet:  Brown, Jack, McArdle, Reynolds, Considine, Fyvie, Arnason, Rae (Chalali 65), Hughes (Uchechi 45), Vernon, Megginson (Chalali 76).

Unused Subs: Langfield, Magennis, Fallon, Mawéné.

Bookings:  Jack (30).

St. Johnstone Teamsheet:  Alan Mannus, David MacKay, David McCracken, Frazer Wright, Callum Davidson, Chris Millar (Lee Croft 63), Jody Morris, Murray Davidson, Liam Craig, Cillian Sheridan (Marcus Haber 81), Francisco Sandaza.

Unused Subs: James Keatings, Kudus Oyenuga, Greg Mitchell, Peter Enckelman, Alan Maybury.

Bookings:  Callum Davidson (26),   Frazer Wright (54),   Murray Davidson (88).

Referee: George Salmond

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