Aberdeen 0-0 St Mirren: Stalemate as Dons fail to box clever
ABERDEEN’S home form has been causing their faithful followers grief for a long time now. For this season they have come up with a new variant on the familiar theme – actually playing rather well but being completely unable to finish the job off by putting the ball in the back of the net.
Bookings: St Mirren - Van Zanten, Barron, Goodwin
Craig Brown is renowned for his fondness of match statistics, but the Dons manager must look with some bemusement at the cold, stark numbers for their outings at Pittodrie in the campaign to date – played three, drawn three, no goals scored. There was plenty of constructive play by his side, but for all their laudable efforts the fact was that St Mirren goalkeeper Craig Samson actually had precious few telling saves to make.
Debate will rage as to whether it is just a case of waiting for the Dons’ luck to turn or whether something fundamental needs to be looked at – such as their lack of composure in the box or the use of Scott Vernon as a solitary striker. For the moment, however, Brown is not too perturbed.
“If we continue to play like that, we can’t complain,” he said. “We’ve hit the post and hit the bar. It’s been a great performance by the team and I’m content that this is a good Aberdeen team that can compete well in the SPL. We were still missing four key players today, so we’ve put in a great effort.”
Nobody, let alone his counterpart, Danny Lennon, who was fulsome in his praise for the work being done by Brown and assistant Archie Knox at Aberdeen, would quibble with that. Yet from early on it seemed this game was going to follow a familiar template for the Dons.
Lots of energy and territory but no end product. They moved the ball around with a tidy crispness and a willingness to try to pick out their colleagues. As a result, the visitors’ rearguard was feeling the strain for long spells.
“We’re absolutely delighted to come up and get a point,” was Lennon’s candid verdict. “We’ve had to do it in a way that we’re not accustomed, in that we’ve not had a lot of possession. But the boys have rolled up their sleeves and given us everything.
“Aberdeen will be frustrated, no doubt about that,” he continued. “Some of their play was nice to see. They’ve got a philosophy of trying to play it out from the back and I’ve got to compliment Craig and Archie for what they’ve been building here”. Alas, plaudits do not equal three points and there will surely be some inquests into some of the chances that got away, such as a fiery low cross by Jonny Hayes that seemed destined to be met by Vernon at the far post inside the first ten minutes, but it just eluded the outstretched boot of the home striker.
The pressure on the visitors was pretty incessant, with only the occasional hopeful ball sent in the direction of the always eager Steven Thompson offering Saints any hope of relief. Isaac Osbourne stepped up with a thunderous effort that Samson was mighty grateful to see flying about a foot over the crossbar, and as the traffic continued its progress towards the visitors’ goal, Josh Magennis was the next to be denied as his close-range header bounced off a post.
There was a scare for the dominant hosts just before the interval, however, when Kenny McLean slung over a cross which Thompson deftly flicked on and Van Zanten should have at least tested Jamie Langfield with his volleyed effort.
The second half may have started off as a more evenly balanced affair, but soon normal service was resumed. Young Ryan Fraser was popping up to test the mettle of the St Mirren defence on a regular basis and after Van Zanten picked up a yellow card for a challenge on the winger, the Irishman was quickly withdrawn from the action by Lennon to make sure he didn’t collect another.
On the other flank, Hayes was also showing bursts of the sort of devilment which enticed Brown to lure him to Pittodrie over the summer and a wonderful jinking run really should have ended the craving for a breakthrough, but substitute Cameron Smith winced in frustration as his header hit the bar before being scrambled away.
Despite such misfortunes, the Dons never stopped probing away, but either they failed to get enough bodies in the St Mirren box to pick up the half chances or, if there was a recipient, the finishing was wayward. The inability to put it away continued right to end when Vernon summed up an afternoon of personal and collective profligacy by his side by sending the ball skywards as
the ball dropped at his feet in the six-yard box.
Aberdeen: Langfield; Magennis, Anderson, Reynolds, Considine; Hughes, Osbourne, Rae, Hayes; Fraser, Vernon
Subs: Clark for Hughes, Smith for Fraser
Subs not used: Jason Brown, Low, Megginson, Shaughnessy, Jordan Brown
St Mirren: Samson; van Zanten, McAusland, Mair, Carey; Teale, McGowan, McLean, Goodwin; Thomson, Guy
Subs: Barron for van Zanten, Imrie for Teale, Robertson for Guy
Subs not used: Smith, Dummett, Parkin, Reilly
Referee: Brian Colvin
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Friday 24 May 2013
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