Dons dominate to down Saints
Issac Osbourne and Jonny Hayes provided the goals but the score
does not come close to describing the visitors’ superiority,
particularly in a second half where Aberdeen controlled the play in
the St Johnstone half and created numerous chances.
Nigel Hasselbaink added a late consolation for the hosts, but
the defeat from the season home opener leaves St Johnstone with
only a point from their first three SPL games.
Before kick-off St Johnstone boss Steve Lomas was dealt a blow
as illness prevented Craig Beattie from making his debut.
Instead, Lomas went for Sean Higgins through the centre in a
three-man attack that featured Hasselbaink and Liam Craig cutting
in from either wing. Gregory Tade and Rowan Vine missed out through
An injury to Niall McGinn forced Aberdeen manager Craig Brown
into a similar line-up reshuffle. Ryan Fraser came in and started
on the left of a three-man attack with Scott Vernon through the
middle and Jonny Hayes on the right.
Aberdeen started the brighter of the two sides with Fraser’s
direct running giving the visitors an early spark, and it was
through the youngster that Aberdeen were able to open the scoring
on 15 minutes.
Fraser’s cross from the left was flicked on by Scott Vernon and
dropped nicely for Isaac Osbourne arriving into the box. The
makeshift right-back controlled the ball with one touch before
smashing it low into the corner for Aberdeen’s first league goal of
The young attacker was at it again five minutes later after
being played through on the left by a clever reverse pass from
Vernon. The ball was passed across the face of the goal but Fraser
Wright was able to clear before it reached the feet of the arriving
The hosts had looked disjointed in attack throughout most of the
first half and Lomas reacted to this by withdrawing Murray Davidson
and replacing him with Gary Miller, with the team reverting to a
Within two minutes of the restart the change almost had an
immediate effect, but Higgins fluffed a glorious chance when
Craig’s free-kick was deflected into his path six yards out.
Any momentum that could have been taken from carving out such an
opportunity was gone 20 seconds later when a calamitous error
gifted Aberdeen a two-goal lead.
There appeared to be little danger when a through ball for Jonny
Hayes was comfortably covered by Fraser Wright.
However, the defender elected against putting the ball into the
stands and waited for the oncoming Alan Mannus to clear. The
indecision allowed Hayes to nick the ball from the pair and roll it
into the empty net.
On 57 minutes Scott Vernon wheeled away in celebration having
seemingly put his side 3-0 up with a bullet header inside the area,
but his jubilation was cut short by the raised flag of the far side
The visitors felt aggrieved again after an initial Hayes shot
rebounded off the post and back to Vernon in the penalty area.
His first time shot evaded Mannus but was deflected beside the
post by one of the covering defenders. Aberdeen were incensed,
feeling the deflection came via an arm.
The linesman’s flag then denied Vernon and Aberdeen once again.
The striker could not miss after running on to the end of a Fraser
free-kick, but he was adjudged to have started his run too
Hasselbaink pulled a goal back late on after side-footing home
from 10 yards, but the game should have been over as a contest long
before this consolation, and the visitors were able to ride the
nervy finish for a thoroughly deserved three points.