The Saints ones 3-2 defeat to Aberdeen was by no means a reflection of the effort put in by the boys in their home fixture against Aberdeen.
The Saints started shakily, giving away a number of free kicks in the first few minutes – one of which was expertly saved by goalkeeper Alec Cadzow and another firing into the wall which remained strong. An early spell of pressure from Isaac Bonisteel was defended well by Aberdeen and it seemed as though this first half would be goalless.
Another free kick was awarded to Aberdeen, one the defence couldn’t manage to stop this time and the ball curled into the top right corner putting Aberdeen 1-0 up inside the first 25 minutes. However the boys quickly recovered and put pressure on the seemingly stronger Aberdeen side. St Andrews were awarded a free kick which was curled in nicely by Iain Wilson but didn’t creating a scoring opportunity.
It was clear to see that the Saints had picked themselves up, with some excellent tackles causing visible frustration from the Aberdeen team, causing them to give away multiple free kicks. Finally the home side found the back of the net with a goal from Flynn Gray assisted by Bonisteel to make the score 1-1 as half time approached. Play resumed and Bonisteel went for goal only for it to be saved by the keeper.
The end of the first half seemed to be approaching but the referee was reluctant to blow his whistle which gave Aberdeen time to win a corner, which was dealt with well by Cadzow. Another attempt by Aberdeen saw an incredible save from the Saints ‘keeper but the referee had already blown his whistle for a goal kick.
As the 45 minute mark neared a close call saw Murray head the ball over the bar and another excellent shot by Bonisteel was defended well by Aberdeen’s number 5. The last play of the first half saw a Saint’s corner tipped away by the ‘keeper and the referee blew his whistle.
Although the first half finished 1-1 the Saints appeared to be the stronger team at its close.
Clearly something head coach Philip McGuire said during half time resonated with the boys and they started the second half much stronger than the first.
A shot from the Saints, this time from Michael Cameron, didn’t quite find the back of the net and skimmed the top of the bar. As another great shot from Bonisteel fell short as there was no one there to finish, it seemed the energy from the start of the half was fading.
A good ball in from Aberdeen was defended well by Andrew Meaney leading to a Saints corner, which went out for another, providing them with a solid chance on goal that was again tipped away by the ‘keeper. A great ball was swung in from Matthew Irvine, but a poor touch from Cameron meant it amounted to nothing.
Getting some fresh legs on the pitch Irvine and Ian Murray were substituted off, replaced by Charlie Andrews and Euan Smith. A foul given away by Bradley McCallion gave Aberdeen a chance in a dangerous area, but the shot was rocketed over the bar.
Seemingly out of nowhere Aberdeen managed to get another past Cadzow putting them 2-1 up.
Another change for the Saints saw Michael Cameron being substituted off after a rather poor game compared with his usual standard. William McIlveen was substituted on in his place and his instant impact allowed Bonisteel to put one in the back of the net for 2-2.
A great ball in was headed out of play by McIlveen, the Saints failing to take a much-needed lead.
A foul on goal scorer Flynn lead to another free kick for the Saints, but again nothing came of it. A shot from Aberdeen was defended excellently by Findlay Tough. But another Aberdeen free kick saw the back of the net, an excellent shot from their number 7.
With the score sitting at 3-2 to Aberdeen, the Saints were looking a bit livelier and it seemed they were beginning to feel the pressure. Another free kick for the boys saw McIlveen try his luck again with a great left-footed attempt that went wide.
Another set piece for the Saints was headed away by Aberdeen. The end of the second half was nearing and a free kick taken by Cadzow pushed the whole team up the pitch in a last-ditch attempt on goal but it was well defended by Aberdeen and went out for a Saints throw in.
A free kick was given to the Saints, taken by McIlveen, but it just couldn’t find a Saints player in the box. The last play of the game saw another free kick taken by Cadzow but they couldn’t find a way through. As the referee blew his whistle, the game finished St Andrews 2-3 Aberdeen
It was a disappointing loss for the boys but hopefully one that they can learn from as they go ahead into the season with the hope of securing another astonishing Queens Park Shield win.