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St Johnstone 1 Aberdeen 1: Nine-man Saints somehow hang on for precious point against Dons

The Saints players celebrate Matty Kennedy's goal.
The Saints players celebrate Matty Kennedy's goal.

Nine-man St Johnstone lost their discipline but saved a point as they drew with Aberdeen at McDiarmid Park.

Saints survived two second-half red cards – shown in quick succession to Murray Davidson and substitute Callum Hendry – as well as a rock-solid penalty appeal to somehow hold the Dons to 1-1.

A terrific strike from Sam Cosgrove put the Dons in front on 21 minutes and they were denied what looked like a legitimate penalty when Wallace Duffy handled inside the box just minutes later.

Saints dragged themselves level, though, on 71 minutes with a well-worked goal.

It was no surprise that it was their start turn, Matty Kennedy, who provided the finish with a low, driven shot that gave Dons goalie Joe Lewis no chance.

The match then went a bit crazy as the Saints duo walked and left their teammates hanging on by a thread until full-time.

The home side had made one change to their starting line-up with Jason Holt replacing David Wotherspoon.

Andrew Considine had the honour of captaining the Dons on his 500th appearance for the Pittodrie club. The visitors fielded an attacking line-up, with Curtis Main partnering Cosgrove up front.

With a couple of minutes gone, Aberdeen’s Niall McGinn shot from outside the penalty area but the ball sailed wide.

The hosts were getting up the park but they couldn’t do anything with a couple of early corners.

The Dons came close to opening the scoring on 11 minutes and it was the legs of Saints keeper Zander Clark that thwarted them, with the big man getting in the way of Greg Leigh’s low strike.

That was a sign of danger to come, however, and the visitors took the lead on 21 minutes.

It was an excellent 25-yard left-foot strike from Cosgrove, who took a pass from Ryan Hedges.

However, from a St Johnstone perspective, he was given far too much time and space in a central area. He was allowed what seemed an age of thinking time because of a lack of reaction from the opposition.

Just three minutes later, it was nearly 2-0 when Hedges crossed to the back post for Main.

The Dons claimed for a penalty as their frontman tried to head home and the ball hit Saints defender Duffy on the hand.

It should have been a spotkick to Aberdeen but play raged on and somehow McGinn fired the loose ball the wrong side of the post from close range.

On 33 minutes, Saints created a decent move when Kennedy, who was causing Aberdeen some problems, crossed from the left to Davidson but his header wasn’t strong enough to trouble the Dons’ goal.

Logan’s name went into the book for a foul on Kennedy six minutes before the break but the home team wasted the resultant freekick.

Main blasted over for the Pittodrie side a minute later before Saints player Holt joined Logan in the book after fouling Lewis Ferguson. Duffy became the third booking right on half-time for tripping Cosgrove.

Cosgrove’s cracker was the difference between the sides at the break and Saints had to try to get the ball out to Kennedy more often.

The Dons made a change on 53 minutes when they brought on Craig Bryson for Main.

A Considine low cross for the visitors caused concern in the home goalmouth before Cosgrove just inches past at the back post after being picked out by McGinn.

Saints made an attacking substitution on 59 minutes when they replaced Holt with Chris Kane.

Aberdeen threatened again on 64 minutes when Hedges was set up by McGinn but his shot just cleared the bar.

St Johnstone then had a half-chance when the ball came out of the air and straight at Drey Wright, who was positioned just outside the box. He smacked a half-volley towards goal but it missed the target.

However, the hosts did haul themselves level on 71 minutes thanks to Kennedy, with good delivery from Jason Kerr in the build-up.

Kennedy then saw a deflected shot loop up and almost in before Lewis tipped it over for a corner.

The hosts then lost the plot when first Davidson then sub Hendry were shown red cards in the space of three minutes.

Davidson went in late on Bryson with studs showing on 74 minutes then Hendry, not long on the pitch, fouled Ferguson from with the clock showing 77.

On both occasions, ref Clancy thought the fouls worthy of reds and he looked to be correct.

With five minutes to go, home keeper Clark dived brilliantly to save a strike from Mikey Devline then, from that corner, pulled off another excellent stop to keep out Considine’s header.

The pressure continued into injury-time and first Cosgrove then Logan fired the ball at the home goal but they couldn’t find a winner.

The Saints fans greeted the full-time whistle as if it heralded a victory and no wonder.

St Johnstone: Clark, Ralston, Tanser, Duffy, Kerr, McCann, Holt (Kane 59), Davidson, Kennedy, Wright, May (Hendry 68). Subs not used: Parish, Vihmann, Wotherspoon, O’Halloran, Booth.

Aberdeen: Lewis, Logan, Devlin, McKenna, Considine, Leigh (Anderson 75), Ferguson, Hedges (Gallagher 68), McGinn, Main (Bryson 53), Cosgrove. Subs not used: Cerny, Taylor, Campbell, McLennan.

Referee: Kevin Clancy.

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