Soccer

St Johnstone win at Aberdeen as Neil Warnock’s wait for first league win goes on

Nicky Clark’s penalty late in the first half opened the scoring and Benjamin Kimpioka netted a second 13 minutes from time.

Aberdeen hosted St Johnstone
Aberdeen hosted St Johnstone Aberdeen hosted St Johnstone (Jeff Holmes/PA)

Aberdeen remain at risk of being drawn into a cinch Premiership relegation battle after the toothless Dons sank to defeat against St Johnstone.

Nicky Clark’s penalty late in the first half opened the scoring and Benjamin Kimpioka netted a second 13 minutes from time.

The win moves Craig Levein’s Saints level on points with the Dons as the two sides seemingly head on opposite trajectories.

Aberdeen are now nine league games without a win, five since Warnock took charge at the start of the month.

Both sides rang the changes after weekend defeats, Aberdeen showing four changes after their 2-0 defeat to Kilmarnock, while Levein brought in five fresh players after defeat to St Mirren.

Neither side fashioned a clear view on goal in the opening period before a Matt Smith cross after 17 minutes found the experienced Clark, who tried to chest the ball home from close range, Kelle Roos saving comfortably.

Aberdeen were finding it hard to provide any service for lone striker Bojan Miovski and their best opportunities in the first half came from midfielders, Jamie McGrath forcing a fingertip save from Dimitar Mitov from a 25-yard free-kick, while Graeme Shinnie saw a shot from distance blocked by Liam Gordon.

The visitors were also shot-shy but they took the lead two minutes from the interval when Clark found the bottom left corner from the penalty spot after Richard Jensen’s handball.

The home side finally worked an opening for Miovski immediately afterwards but his subtle flick was easy for Mitov to hold.

A change of system at the interval saw Aberdeen become a more regular threat and Leighton Clarkson really should have levelled when he ran onto Roos’ long clearance but shot straight at Mitov.

Jonny Hayes flashed an effort wide and Clarkson hit over as the Dons searched for a leveller but the biggest threat to Levein’s side would be their own goalkeeper.

Mitov dropped a Connor Barron corner he looked to have full control of and his defenders scrambled to partially clear the ball before Miovski’s eventual shot was deflected over.

Two minutes later there was another scramble in front of goal, Mitov this time doing well to hold Stefan Gartenmann’s powerful header.

While Aberdeen may have had the volume of chances, the visitors looked sharp on the break with Kimpioka having the run of Gartenmann in particular and that would lead to the second goal.

Diallang Jaiyesimi’s ball over the top gave the striker something to chase and he drew Roos off his line before clipping home an angled shot to double his side’s lead.

Aberdeen huffed and puffed but as shouts of “sack the board” echoed round a rapidly emptying Pittodrie, Mitov in truth was rarely troubled.