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Aberdeen 1 - 0 St. Johnstone

HT Score: Aberdeen 0 - 0 St. Johnstone

League Cup Quarter Final
Aberdeen scorers: Rooney 90.

22/09/2016 | KO: 19:45

The Reds Go Marching On to the Semi Final

Derek McInnes was forced into making a change to his side just minutes before kick off, having to replace Jonny Hayes, who had pulled up in the warm-up, with Niall McGinn. There were two other changes to the side with Jayden Stockley and Wes Burns starting the game after making an impact last Sunday's win against Dundee.

The Dons looked sharp in the first five minutes with young James Maddison pulling the strings in the midfield. He played a nice ball forward to Shinnie who sprayed it wide for Stockley. The big striker crossed low for McGinn whose shot took a deflection out for a corner. The set piece produced no real chance with Ash Taylor too far from goal to cause trouble with his header.

St Johnstone got themselves close to opening the scoring when David Wotherspoon caught Ash Taylor, although most inside Pittodrie felt he was offside. His cross was fizzed across goal, but with no takers it ran out for a throw in. Joe Gormley was not far away.

The visitors continued to cause problems with Steven McLean trying a hopeful lob from outside the penalty area but it was just over Joe Lewis's crossbar. It was proving to be quite an even contest and even at this stage it looked like the first goal was going to be crucial.

A quick spell of action saw chances for both teams. Aberdeen danced around the outside of the box, the ball eventually fell to Kenny McLean who drove in a low shot which appeared to have beaten Zander Clark but Steven Anderson made a very good block. The Saints not for the first time broke up the park and managed to unlock the Dons defence through the middle and Graeme Shinnie was forced to take a last ditch booking for the team to prevent a goal scoring opportunity.

With half time approaching James Maddison launched a Dons counter attack. He played the ball forward for McGinn to chase. Niall's tremendous pace was enough to help him get the ball into the box for Wes Burns, sadly Wes couldn't get his body into the right position and his volley went wide.

The last kick of the ball came from a free kick hit by Maddison, unfortunately it thundered off the wall from 30 yards out. Craig Thomson blew time on a very even half of football. Aberdeen had plenty of the ball but St Johnstone worked very hard to close them down and there was very little space to work in.

HT Aberdeen 0 - 0 St Johnstone

St Johnstone made a change early on the second half, taking Joe Gormley off and replacing him with Michael Coulson.

The Dons lined up a free kick on the edge of the box on the 51 minute mark. Maddison floated a tempting ball into the box and it was Andy Considine whose glancing header was wide of the goal.

Going forward, it was a familiar showing to what the first half had produced for the Dons. Plenty of neat build up play but lacking a killer pass. St Johnstone were quick to close down spaces which slowed down play.

There were also a lot of free kicks which further broke the play up.

The best chance of the game came just before an hour of play. A corner kick found Kenny McLean in space from six yards out. His run into the six-yard box had gone untracked. Unfortunately it was a fraction too close to Kenny who put the ball over the bar with a first time volley. Kenny looked gutted that he hadn't made more of the chance.

The red army had their hearts in their mouths when St Johnstone had the ball in the net after a nice break up the pitch. Fortunately for the Dons, Wootherspoon timed his run a fraction early and was caught offside. A huge let off...

Derek McInnes made a double substitution 72 minutes in, as Burns and Stockley came off for Peter Pawlett and Adam Rooney. Could they be the key to unlocking the visitors' defence?

As we moved into the last 15 minutes of the match the Dons were throwing everything at St Johnstone but still couldn't find an opening. Another Maddison free kick into the box went unfinished. It was beginning to look like extra time.

There was late drama at the other end of the pitch with five minutes to play. After the Dons had given away a cheap free-kick David Wotherspoon struck a free kick from 30 yards out which glided over the wall and was goal bound. Had it not been for a wonderful save from Joe Lewis it would have been a disastrous end for the Dons. Joe managed to tip the ball onto the post and Ash Taylor was thankfully there to clear the danger.

Sometimes in football you need to ride your luck, and bide your time.

Aberdeen just seconds before the board was due to go up for stoppage time, Graeme Shinnie made a run down the left and chipped the ball in with his weaker right foot and, as he so often does, Adam Rooney headed home with his back to goal. We had to wait 90 minutes for the Pittodrie roar, but it worth the wait. The stadium erupted. It was the best cross of the game and Rooney did what he does so well by finding the net.

Derek McInnes was taking no chances as the Dons now had the lead. The manager called time on James Maddison's evening. The 19-year-old walked off to a hero's ovation having put in such a huge amount of work in the midfield. On came the reliable figure of Mark Reynolds.

Aberdeen did really well to run down the clock with three minutes of stoppage time without any alarm.
Niall McGinn even had a great chance to really finish off the visitors when Peter Pawlett broke up the pitch and the Dons had a three on tow situation but Niall went for goal and Clark saved. It did not matter as the final whistle sounded seconds later.

Aberdeen showed real grit and determination to set themselves up for a semi-final against Moron in October.

FT Aberdeen 1-0 St Johnstone
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Lewis, Logan, Considine, Taylor, O'Connor, Shinnie, Burns (Pawlett 72), McGinn, Maddison (Reynolds 90), McLean, Stockley (Rooney 73).

Unused Subs: Storie, Wright, Storey, Alexander.

Bookings:  Maddison (6),  Shinnie (34).
St. Johnstone Teamsheet
12.Alexander Clark, 06.Steven Anderson, 14.Joseph Shaughnessy, 23.Liam Gordon, 24.Brian Easton, 08.Murray Davidson, 10.David Wotherspoon, 11.Daniel Swanson (26.Liam Craig 77), 18.Paul Paton (25.Christopher Kane 90+2), 09.Steven MacLean, 20.Joe Gormley (17.Michael Coulson 49). Unused Subs: 01.Alan Mannus, 04.Blair Alston, 29.Graham Cummins, 39.Aaron Comrie.

Bookings:  14.Joseph Shaughnessy (11),   10.David Wotherspoon (45),   18.Paul Paton (51),   11.Daniel Swanson (67),   08.Murray Davidson (80).
Attendance: 8,829
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: Craig Thomson
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