The Dons lined up this week with Considine at left back, Reynolds and Mawene in the centre of defence and McArdle at right back. In midfield Megginson played wide left, Arnason, Rae and Fyvie in the centre with Ryan Jack wide right. Scott Vernon was up front on his own.
St Mirren forced the pace in the early stages and forced a corner in the first minute. The Dons were able to clear and Marc McAusland was injured in the box. After some treatment he was able to continue. The break in play allowed the Dons to get organised properly.
On 5 minutes a long throw by Arnason led to the Dons first corner. Mitch Megginson took a low one which was comfortably dealt with by the Saints defence. On 9 minutes Mawene misjudged a ball in the wind which let in Hasselbaink but his shot was comfortably held by Brown. Hasselbaink had destroyed the Dons the last time the teams met at St Mirren Park and in the early stages of this game he was looking lively again. Although the conditions were generally good the odd gust of wind was causing problems.
On 12 minutes a free kick played in by Carey was very well defended by Reynolds. Then Megginson was fouled by Goodwin which gave the Dons a free kick in a good position. First of all Fyvie hit the ball into the wall then Arnason volleyed his effort over the bar. A waste. Minutes later a long deep cross by McArdle gave Arnason a chance at the back post. He decided to take it first time and although his side foot shot was on target it was too near Samson. Then on 26 minutes another chance for Kari. A good move involving Fyvie and Jack set him up on the edge of the box and the Icelandic international had time and space to hammer in a shot but he pulled it just wide. Arnason was having a much better game than in previous weeks. The Dons midfield were also linking better than they had done in previous games. The influence of Gavin Rae was already having an impact. Rae was sitting in allowing Fyvie and Arnason to advance forward. They were also frustrating a St Mirren side used to getting plenty of possession and the home fans were beginning to get on their backs.
On 28 minutes Fyvie and Arnason combined again this time to play in Megginson. From a tight angle he put his shot just wide. The striker's reaction suggested he was disappointed not to have scored although it was not an easy chance. On the half hour mark a rare forward move from the home side. Carey fell over just outside the box. Arnason went to challenge him but there was no contact. Justice was done though as the same player took the free kick and it hit the wall.
Referee Mclean though was pulling the dons up for any challenge. He was refereeing the game very strictly. Fyvie was booked on 36 minutes for an innocuous challenge. Shortly after that he rightly booked McGowan for a foul on Megginson.
In the closing stages of a poor first period McArdle shot over from 40 yards - would go in the category of slightly ambitious. Aberdeen continued to press high up the field. This led to Fyvie stealing the ball and being fouled.It again gave Arnason a chance to hit a free kick about 25 yards out. His shot was deflected was just wide. The deflected beat Samson but unfortunately went past the post. From the resulting corner Arnason just missed getting his head on it.The Dons then won a throw in which Arnason took (fair to say Arnie was in the thick of the action) to Fyvie who crossed to the back post. Ryan Jack came in to score and the midfielder finished the chance well but before he could celebrate the linesman raised his flag. It looked a tight decision although there were few complaints from anyone in a red jersey. TV evidence afterwards showed he was just offside.
Just time at the end of the half for another player to be booked - McAusland for foul on Megginson. That was his last involvement as he was substituted at half time.
The home side improved after the break and they put the Dons under a bit of pressure but it was Aberdeen who should have taken the lead. A McArdle clearance was met by former Don Lee Mair. He tried to play it back to his keeper but it difficult conditions the ball held up and was hopelessly short. Fraser Fyvie was onto it in a flash and with the goal gapping he hit a shot but from a tight angle pulled it wide. Not an easy one but Fraser had more time than he thought. He should have hit the target or taken the decision to pass the ball to Scott Vernon who would have had a tap in.
Then on 54 minutes another great opportunity for the Dons. Arnason played a through ball to Fyvie. From the left his cross was cleverly dummied by Megginson. Ryan Jack came in behind him but his left footed side foot shot was blocked. Again a great chance and Jack might have been better putting his foot through the ball than trying place it. A Fyvie corner was then headed over by Considine.
The Dons were made to pay for those misses. On 56 minutes disaster for the Dons.
Just as the announcer was thanking the 565 Aberdeen fans for travelling to the game, Nigel Hasselbaink, who had been so well watched by the Dons defence all afternoon, got an opening after Mewene slipped. The striker had time and space to dispatch the ball into the corner of the net away from Brown who had no chance. To add further misery to the Dons TV replays showed the Saints player was offside.
In the past that goal would have knocked the stuffing out of the side but this Dons team are different. The response was immediate. Rae battled hard to win the ball well in midfield. Although his threw ball was cleared back to Mawene, the Frenchman cleverly chipped a ball forward into the box. Megginson did really well to lay it off for Vernon who finished brilliantly. It was encouraging to see the way the two strikers had linked up.
The game had come to life. Arnason put Megginson in. His cross was met by Mair but Goodwin appeared to handle the ball right in front of the referee. No protests from the Aberdeen players helped make the decision easy for the ref. St Mirren should then have taken the lead. Aberdeen were caught on the break and Carey picked the ball upon the left in acres of space. Jack was miles out of position. His cross picked out Teale in the middle but thankfully the ball just escaped the former Scotland International. A major let off.
The game made far better viewing as it opened up. The Dons had kept the impressive McGowan quiet but he was just starting to see a lot more of the ball. Craig Brown made the first tactical change of the afternoon when Fallon replaced Mawene. Ryan Jack went back to right back.
A free kick from Arnason almost fell to Vernon. So many balls just won't break for the Dons in the box. Then some more bookings. McArdle for foul on Carey. Then Goodwin for a lunge at Fyvie. Seven players were booked in total which was a lot considering it was not a dirty game. It was surprising though how Goodwin managed to stay out of the book for so long.
On 81 minutes Megginson came off and Pawlett came on. The youngster has been out for a while with injury but scored a hat-trick in a bounce game at Forfar on Monday night. Aberdeen looked the more likely team to score in the closing stages. Vernon put a header just past the post, then Fyvie picked the ball up in a great area but frustratingly put his cross into the crowd. Arnason then picked the ball up on the edge of the box. He played it to Fallon, who played it to Vernon, who played in wide to Pawlett whose shot hit the side netting. Someone should have pulled the trigger before passing to Pawlett. Then in injury time Fallon held the ball up for Pawlett who broke on the left. He left the defenders for dead with his pace. He had all the time in the world to pick a red shirt out in the box but agonisingly his cut back just missed three Aberdeen players. Too often the Dons were making the wrong decisions in the final third of the park. The last chance came when Teale cut inside and hit a powerful shot but it was well held by Brown.