Saints consolidate seventh
Sheridan on target as St Johnstone triumph
Last Updated: 16/03/10 10:47pm
Sheridan: Saints hero
St Johnstone have consolidated seventh spot in the SPL table following a 1-0 win over Aberdeen.
Cillian Sheridan, who is at the McDiarmid Park club from Celtic, scored the only goal of the game on 22 minutes.
The win moves the Saints four points clear of the Dons, who are well adrift of a top-six finish.
The hosts threatened first when Gary Irvine's lobbed cross from the right forced Jamie Langfield to tip over from under his own bar. Aberdeen should then really have taken the lead with their first attack after 14 minutes.
After a break from a St Johnstone free-kick, Steven MacLean fed Michael Paton who flicked the ball over last defender Chris Millar.
Paton sprinted clear on goal but dragged a foot wide of Graeme Smith's left-hand post.
Aberdeen were soon made to rue the missed opening as Saints made the decisive 21st-minute breakthrough.
Liam Craig's corner picked out Danny Grainger whose fierce volley could only be parried by Langfield and Sheridan prodded home from two yards for his third goal for Saints.
Just before the half-hour mark, the Perth outfit almost doubled their lead.
Grainger's inswinging corner allowed Dave Mackay a free header but Langfield made an excellent point-blank save with his left hand.
There was a blow for the Dons 10 minutes from the interval when Gary McDonald fell to the turf with nobody near him, prompting the arrival of Darren Mackie.
Saints were again next to threaten when Millar fed Sheridan on the right but the striker fired wildly wide with his left foot.
Aberdeen's shaky defending was doing them no favours, allowing Derek McInnes' charges to grow in confidence.
Two minutes after the re-start, St Johnstone were offered a glorious chance for a second goal.
Irvine's cross was missed by Craig and fell to Deuchar at the back post, but Langfield made a smart close-range save.
McGhee had seen enough and made his second substitution moments later, with Aluko replacing Jim Paterson.
Saints were next to suffer injury disruption when Kevin Moon was carried off after a tackle on Mark Kerr. Filipe Morais was his 57th-minute replacement.
Aberdeen were upping the tempo and had a penalty claim turned down by referee Charlie Richmond when Zander Diamond went down under a challenge from Deuchar.
On 65 minutes, Craig found himself in space from Jody Morris' lofted cross but could only head at Langfield.
Sheridan had an even better opportunity as he raced onto Morais' pass, held off Ricky Foster, but shot tamely into Langfield's arms. At the other end, Diamond headed two yards past from Fyvie's corner.
Michael Duberry then nodded over another centre from Grainger, before Kerr saw a long-range drive deflected past.
Aberdeen were exerting some late pressure and almost profited four minutes from time when Charlie Mulgrew's shot spun off Duberry but MacLean was quickly shut out by the diving Smith.
Foster then blazed high and wide before the Dons pleaded for a penalty, more in desperation, after the ball struck Duberry with his arms down.
Aberdeen, who trooped off at the whistle, are now without a victory in all competitions since they triumphed at Hearts on January 27 and have taken just three league points from a possible 24.