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Saints 1-4 Aberdeen
It looks like a return to the relegation battles of old for Saints after a crushing defeat at the hands of Aberdeen this afternoon.
We didn't deserve to lose 4-1 but while we could complain about being behind at the break, we could have few complaints about losing the match. Yes, we had plenty of possession but we did little of note with it. Chances were few and far between and even when we forced seven or eight corners in the first half we couldn't make any of them count.
Five league defeats in a row leaves us in big trouble at the bottom. We're just four points above a terrible Dundee side who we play in a fortnight. Danny Lennon is under serious pressure, with the home support extremely restless by full time. We may be in a cup semi-final but the league form is what really matters at the moment and is absolutely woeful.
Jon Robertson was the man given the nod to take over from Jim Goodwin in midfield. It made sense but it was a bit of a surprise to see Thomas Reilly dropped after impressing last week. His place was taken by Gary Teale as Danny Lennon kept faith with Sam Parkin and Steven Thompson up front. Aberdeen paired in-form Niall McGinn with Josh Magennis as Scott Vernon was left on the bench, with Johnny Hayes and Ryan Fraser providing the danger from the wings.
But it was ourselves who threatened first from the wings, Teale passing to David van Zanten before cleverly collecting the return pass, but his cross wasn't quite right for Sam Parkin and the ball bounced off his head and over the bar. We looked threatening, so you can guess what happened next. Hayes tried to play the ball into the box but the delivery was poor and it camestraight back to him. Given a second chance he decided to shoot this time and had much better luck as the ball skidded off the surface past Craig Samson. Behind after 10 minutes. Another long afternoon was in prospect.
We should have been level moments later. Vanzy was flattened by Clark Robertson and Teale whipped in the free-kick, Steven Thompson desperately unlucky to see his header tipped onto the bar by Jamie Langfield. The much hyped Fraser then took a tumble under a challenge from Marc McAusland, Cheesy given a ridiculously harsh booking for what was barely a foul and possibly adive. Chris Clark showed what is really worthy of a booking when he blocked Teale as he rampaged down the wing and he was also booked, before Fraser saw his attempt to double Aberdeen's lead blocked by a van Zanten. Teale was having a rather good game and producing some decent crosses, his latest being headed narrowly off target by Thompson.
We were, arguably, on top and had a ridiculous number of corners without having a real chance. Aberdeen were rarely attacking but created a chance just about every time they did. Mark Reynolds showed there's no need to pass the ball through four folk when a simple, long ball over the top will do - Magennis collecting it before racing in on goal and letting fly, Samson doing well to keep it out. Magennis was booked a couple of seconds from the break for fouling Paul Dummett and Teale's free-kick caused Aberdeen some problems. However, after they hooked the ball clear it made its way to Fraser, who was given far too much space on the left. He cut inside and slid the ball through to McGinn, who looked a ridiculous amount offside. Incredibly, the flag stayed down and he thundered in Aberdeen's second - and his seventh in as many league games. We should, at worst, have been level at half-time but instead were two goals down. Why? Because while we had plenty of possession, Aberdeen created a chance just about every time they went forward.
At least we seemed to have learned a ball from deep can cause problems as Lee Mair picked Thompson out perfectly with one. He exchanged passes with McLean but his shot appeared to be sliced and was always going wide. Instead, we should have been dead and buried a few minutes later when Hayes roasted Dummett only to shoot wide. Not content with that, we gifted the Dons another chance when we messed up the goal kick and McGinn won possession, McAusland tried to win it back only to knock it to Fraser, who then saw his shot blocked by Samson at the expense of a corner. From that Hayes had yet another opportunity but this time Samson produced a great save to tip it over the bar. From the corner Russell Anderson headed wide before we had a penalty appeal turned down as Dougie Imrie was bundled over by Magennis, but no foul was given.
Moments later Robertson was hooked, Reilly coming on in his place, before McAusland clattered into Fraser as he went for the ball. The officials decided he'd won it and Aberdeen were furious as Fraser lay on the deck, requiring treatment before being replaced by Vernon. A few minutes later Parkin was replaced by Lewis Guy and we had a couple of long range shots, McLean shooting wide and Imrie's deflected into Langfield's arms. Imrie was then replaced by Graham Carey.
We had to wait for the last 10 minutes for anything else to happen and it did not make good viewing if you were a Buddie, even though Vanzy went close to sparing himself his end of season singing session when his drive stung the palms of Langfield. It provided false hope as Aberdeen then added two relatively simple goals. The first saw Vernon lay the ball off to Clark who slotted it under Samson with the help of a deflection, before we then allowed defender Reynolds to wander forward and test his luck from the edge of the box. There might have been a deflection but it would probably have flown into the top corner anyway, Samson having no chance.
It was not a good afternoon, Thompson's late goal after a nice pass from Reilly providing little consolation before Teale's long range effort was tipped over the bar. That was it in terms of chances. Teale's display was one of the few good things of a dismal display that should make Thursday night's question and answer session interesting to say the least as the management team are now under serious pressure.
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Source: Mirren MAD
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