Aberdeen took all three points with a 3-0 win against Saints at McDiarmid Park on Saturday afternoon; a result which keeps the Dons ahead of Saints in the SPL.
Gary Bollan returned to the first team line up along with Darren Dods as Saints were unable to field both David McClune and Ross Forsyth. Meanwhile Under 18 players Martyn Fotheringham and Mark Ferry took up their places on the subs bench.
Saints started well and enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the first half. Gary Bollan had the first effort at goal only to see his long-range effort sail just over Ryan Esson’s crossbar. Momo was next to try his luck but after some good build up play, the midfield maestro shot well wide of the right hand post. Aberdeen had a good chance when Arild Stavrum beat the offside trap although Alan Main did well to dive at the Aberdeen striker’s feet and save an imminent goal.
Aberdeen took the lead after twenty five minutes when Darren Mackie beat Bollan to a through ball and poked the ball past Alan Main from the edge of the box. The Aberdeen winger then scored his side’s second goal on the stroke of half time. It appeared that Stuart McCluskey was hauled to the ground however referee Mike McCurry waved play-on and Mackie beat Alan Main when one-on-one with the Saints keeper.
Saints couldn’t get themselves together for the second half and showed little of the attacking threat they posed at the beginning of the game. John Paul McBride and Nathan Lowndes were the substitutes introduced early in the second half at the expense of Momo Sylla and Paul Hartley although neither player could break down the well-organised Dons defence.
Tommy Lovenkrands had Saints’ best chance of the second half when he found himself through on goal after beating Derek Whyte to a high ball, but the Danish winger tumbled inside the box just as he was about to shoot, with no penalty being awarded. Jim Weir saw his header from a corner go harmlessly wide and his long range shot blocked by an Aberdeen defender before Darren Mackie had an excellent chance to notch his hat-trick: he was clean through on goal but shot well over the bar from 18 yards out. Aberdeen didn’t have long to wait for their third goal however, as after seventy nine minutes Arild Stavrum beat Stuart McCluskey to a high ball and poked the ball into the net off the near post with Main stranded.
Martyn Fotheringham was introduced to make his Saints debut with ten minutes left to play but by this time it was too late for Saints, and Aberdeen headed back north with the three points.
SAINTS: Main, Dods, Weir, McCluskey, Bollan, Hartley (Lowndes 55), Dasovic, McCulloch (Fotheringham 80), Lovenkrands, Parker, Sylla (McBride 57).
SUBS NOT USED: Cuthbert, Ferry.
ABERDEEN: Esson, McNaughton, Whyte, Solberg, Clark, Rowson, Guntveit, Young, Mackie, Stavrum, McAllister.
REF: Mike McCurry
MoM: Keigan Parker