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Aberdeen 2 - 1 St. Johnstone

HT Score: Aberdeen 1 - 1 St. Johnstone

Aberdeen scorers: Stavrum 21 (Pen), Winters 49.
St. Johnstone scorers: O'Neil 15

05/02/2000 | KO: 15:00

Winters winner moves Dons off bottom spot

Aberdeen took advantage of Kilmarnock being on cup duty to drag themselves off the bottom of the league for the first time this season. In an exciting match at Pittodrie in front of a 17,500 crowd the Dons recovered from an early setback to pick up all three points. St. Johnstone's Gary Bollan who was lucky to stay on the park after a wild tackle on Stavrum and despite his indignant appeals that he won the ball the TV evidence clearly showed he was late. He could have been booked in the first half for an assault on Zerouali and can thank himself lucky he stayed on the park

Aberdeen's first real chance of the game was a Stavrum strike in the 8th minute that was easily held by Main. Soon after, the Dons fans were up in arms when Bollan felled Zerouali. Referee Clyde took no action but Zerouali required a fair amount of attention from the physio. Within a minute Leighton brought of a world class save as he denied McBride after an unfortunate ricochet in the box. Anderson who had suffered a clash of heads with Solberg earlier was forced to go off and was replaced by Phil McGuire. The youngster moved to right back with Perry switching to the centre. Another fine save by Leighton denied the Saints in the13th minute, but Jim was finally beaten two minutes later when O'Neil latched on to a back heel from Simao to fire the Saints ahead.

Two minutes later, Aberdeen were denied what looked like a stonewall penalty when Winters was dragged to the ground by Frail. However, by the 21st minute the assistant flagged for a penalty that referee Clyde appeared to have missed. Zerouali put Griffen under pressure in the box and the defender scooped the ball from the danger area with his right hand. Stavrum stepped up to fire in the equaliser. Zerouali, although a bit more subdued than his recent games, continued to trouble the Saints defence with his runs. Aberdeen should have taken the lead in the 32nd minute when Zerouali sent Stavrum clear on the right. The Norwegian sent in a teasing cross which Winters headed wide. Two minutes later Zerouali sent in an inch perfect pass to Winters who struggled to control it and let the chance slip.

Aberdeen were in control now and five minutes later Dow and Guntveit created a chance for Zero, but the Moroccan blasted over from the edge of the box. Saints had a great chance to regain the lead in 40 minutes. McBride stole between two defenders, only to see his header come off the post and back in to Leighton's arms. In injury time Winters was booked for a dive in the box and few could really argue with this decision.

The Dons pressure finally paid off when they took the lead in the 50th minute. Stavrum started the move on the half way line with a pass to Zerouali. The Moroccan delivered a dangerous ball that Dow dummied. Winters then took his time to calmly beat Main at the far post. A minute later Stavrum had a powerful drive saved by Main. Saints broke up field and Leighton again made a great save when he blocked a Simao shot with his feet. Stavrum should have put the game beyond doubt when he headed a fine Winters cross wide of Mains goal, when it looked easier to score. Three minutes later Main denied Winters after a powerful drive from 16 yards. This was the striker's last contribution as minutes later he was replaced by Rutkiewicz.

In 73 minutes Main again rescued Saints when he blocked a tremendous volley from Guntveit. Belabed replaced Dow as St. Johnstone tried to force an equaliser. The Dons last chances fell to Rutkiewicz when he was unlucky with a couple of headed efforts. The last ten minutes showed how nervous Aberdeen were as Saints forced free kicks and corners in and around the Aberdeen box, with Leighton having to tip one of the efforts over the bar. The Dons held out however and were cheered off the park. Both McGuire and Rutkiewicz deserve a mention for the way they coped in difficult circumstances.

Aberdeen Teamsheet
Leighton, Anderson (McGuire 12), McAllister, Solberg, Perry, Guntveit, Bernard, Dow (Belabed 76), Zerouali, Winters (Rutkiewicz 68), Stavrum.

Unused Subs: Preece, Mayer.

Bookings:  Winters (43).
St. Johnstone Teamsheet
Main, Weir, Simao (McMahon 68), O'Neil, Bollan, Griffin, O'Halloran (Lauchlan 80), McBride, Kane, Frail, Jones (Lowndes 60) Unused Subs: Ferguson, Dods

Bookings:  Bollan
Attendance: 17,568
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: G. Clyde
Next Match
20 Apr 2024 / 15:00 / Hampden Park, Glasgow