Connor Ronan’s sublime finish gave St Mirren’s top six hopefuls a serious blow to the arm.
The Buddies entered tonight’s clash at SMISA Stadium knowing that a win over the Dons would see them within three points of their sixth-place opponents.
The first half was not an event, with the Saints sitting deep to thwart the lives of an uninspiring Aberdeen side who struggled to break through the stubborn hosts’ defence.
And that defensive quality paid dividends as Ronan produced the only quality piece of the night, collecting the ball on the edge of the box at the hour mark before cutting and hitting into the far corner past Joe Lewis.
And the Buddies easily held their own to maintain their 100 per cent winning record since returning from the winter break, with the three points lifting them to seventh in the Premiership table, just three points behind the Dons. .
Jamie McGrath was surprisingly restored straight into the Saints’ starting XI having held clear talks with Jim Goodwin on Monday, with the Ireland international deployed in an unknown left wing role.
Alan Power returned to the heart of midfield, with Eamonn Brophy also back to lead the line after both were rested in the club’s 2-1 Scottish Cup victory over Ayr United three days earlier.
The Buddies entered the game buoyed by two straight wins and almost took an early lead when teenager Jay Henderson’s half volley flew over the crossbar.
Marcus Fraser then saw a header deflected wide of the left post as the hosts put some early pressure on the Dons.
Scott Brown breathed a sigh of relief when Greg Kiltie didn’t punish his sclaffed punt, who shot wide from a promising position.
The hosts pressed much less than usual from the start, content to let the visitors keep the ball in their own half.
The game meandered at a pedestrian pace in the first half hour, with the Dons almost bringing it to life as Lewis Ferguson hit just inches wide with Saints goalkeeper Jak Alnwick looking unlikely to reach him had he slipped. inside the post.
St Mirren were frustrating life for Aberdeen, with Lewis Ferguson firing over the bar from distance as the visitors continued to struggle to break down the defence.
While working well in the back, the Buddies offered little to no threat at the other end, with Joe Lewis serving as a virtual spectator for the first 45 minutes.
Alnwick had to be on the alert to launch a Calvin Ramsay cross over the crossbar just before half-time, with both sides looking bereft of ideas before the break.
Aberdeen started the second half brilliantly, with a clean move down the right wing that put Brown on the edge of the box. He huddled over the bar as the visitors looked to reassert themselves in the game.
Charles Dunne nearly shot himself in the foot when he headed a Ryan Hedges cross out of Alnwick’s hands, and teammate Scott Tanser came to the rescue to block Brown’s low shot down the line.
Christian Ramirez then shot wide from a corner as the Dons continued to lock the Buddies in their own half.
Referee Grant Irvine was at the end of a torrent of boos from the Saints crowd after Teddy Jenks appeared to drive on the ground as the home team looked ready to tear up the field, with the man in black guilty of more than a few questionable decisions. throughout the match.
With an hour played, the Buddies had barely bothered Lewis. But it didn’t take long for the Dons goalkeeper to get the ball out of the back of the net when, after a cross from Brophy dribbled around the area, Ronan was there to collect it before skinning Ramsay and lobbing an unstoppable shot into the widest angle. far to break the bow. Deadpoint.
The Saints gave a home debut to the recent addition of Alex Greive, who replaced an exhausting Brophy with 20 minutes left on the clock.
The New Zealander almost made the perfect impression when he burst deep into the Dons box, only a well-timed tackle stopping him from firing.
While many in the stands hoped that an Aberdeen attack would have been behind them, the response was notably disappointing.
The Buddies barely struggled in the closing stages, with Jim Goodwin clearly more than happy with his team’s winning response after a disappointing spell in late 2021.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.