Aberdeen 2-0 St Johnstone - report

Last updated : 02 January 2015

In-form Aberdeen defeated St Johnstone 2-0 at Pittodrie to leapfrog Celtic and move to the top of the Scottish Premiership.

The Dons dictated the play but only had David Goodwillie's spectacular goal to show for their dominance until substitute Cammy Smith finally made the points safe in stoppage time. The victory, their sixth in a row and eighth from their last nine matches, was enough to move Derek McInnes' men a point clear of the Hoops, whose fixture at Partick was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

A stunning overhead kick from Goodwillie had the Reds in front after just six minutes. With his back to goal, Goodwillie controlled Niall McGinn's chipped cross on his chest and then sent a acrobatic effort from 10 yards past the helpless Alan Mannus. The piece of brilliance ended a three-month goal drought for the former Blackburn striker and the Dons had opportunities to go further ahead in the early stages as Peter Pawlett saw a header blocked by Mannus, who then tipped McGinn's poked shot behind for a corner.

St Johnstone were edgy and were fortunate not to concede a second in the 20th minute. Jonny Hayes delivered a free-kick midway inside the visitors' half and Goodwillie flashed an eight yard header wide of the target.

It was one-way traffic but Saints were still alive thanks to impressive goalkeeping from Mannus, who made a fine save to deny Hayes with a stinging 25-yard drive. Goodwillie was as heavily involved in the action and after going close with a neat turn and shot, he thought he had laid on Pawlett for an Aberdeen second in the 37th minute but the assistant referee spotted a handball in the build-up.

Scott Brown had been a virtual spectator but he was called into action on the stroke of half time to beat away Steven Anderson's overhead kick, which came from a corner that the home defence failed to clear.

Brown's opposite number, Mannus, continued to impress and he dived to his left in the 51st minute to tip behind a curling effort from Goodwillie, who had linked with Pawlett. From the corner, Ash Taylor rose highest but could not keep his header down.

The dominant Dons continued to push their opponents back with their slick passing and movement as McGinn fed Pawlett, whose low teasing delivery from the right just evaded Adam Rooney at the back post under pressure from Gary Miller.

In a bid to stem the flow, St Johnstone made a double substitution with Steven MacLean and Lee Croft going off and their two replacements almost combined to good effect in the 65th minute, James McFadden showing neat footwork before crossing for Gary McDonald, who glanced a header wide of the target.

Aberdeen were quickly back on the attack but after slicing open the Saints defence, McGinn lost his footing at a crucial time in the penalty area and moments later, the Northern Irishman saw a 25 yard free-kick beaten away by Mannus.

It became nervy for the Dons in the closing stages but they scored a second deep in stoppage time to claim the points with a goal on the counter attack. Andrew Considine sent Rooney clear down the right and his low centre was turned in by Smith as McInnes' team climbed to the summit.

Source: PA

Source: PA

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