No separating Dons and Saints
Last Updated: 19/02/12 3:17pm
Sandaza: Should have scored in the second half
Aberdeen extended their unbeaten run to 10 matches with a 0-0 Scottish Premier League draw against St Johnstone at Pittodrie.
Home midfielder Fraser Fyvie headed wide from a Ryan Jack cross in the best chance of the first half, while visiting striker Francisco Sandaza fired over from the edge of the area after 58 minutes when he really should have netted his 15th goal of the season.
Apart from that, chances were few and far between during a fairly low-key encounter at Pittodrie with a share of the spoils probably a fair result.
Midfielder Gavin Rae was handed his Aberdeen debut, while Jack started after being left out of the midweek William Hill Scottish Cup victory over Queen of the South due to disciplinary reasons.
St Johnstone defender Callum Davidson returned after missing the Scottish Cup defeat to Hearts in place of the injured Steven Anderson and full-back David Mackay was preferred to Alan Maybury as the Saints tried to end a run of four games without a win.
St Johnstone started on the front foot with Chris Millar's low drive blocked by Rory McArdle before top scorer Sandaza was denied by Dons goalkeeper Jason Brown, although the Spaniard had been flagged offside in any case.
At the other end, Scott Vernon jinked past two defenders but failed to connect properly with his shot from the edge of the area, which was comfortably gathered by Alan Mannus in the Saints goal.
The Dons continued to create openings with Mitch Megginson dragging a shot wide of the target after 12 minutes before Fyvie headed wide from a Jack cross two minutes later.
Callum Davidson picked up the first booking of the match after 26 minutes for impeding the advancing Jack.
Aberdeen almost gifted the Saints the lead after 29 minutes when Mark Reynolds' careless pass was intercepted by Sandaza but Brown managed to keep out the striker's effort.
The Spaniard tested the Dons stopper again seven minutes before the break but the Welshman managed to hold onto the ball.
But it was the Dons who should have gone ahead when Stephen Hughes found Vernon with a cute pass but the Englishman blasted the ball wide.
That was Hughes' last meaningful involvement as he limped off with a hamstring injury just before the break and was replaced by Nigerian Daniel Uchechi.
The Dons made an encouraging start to the second half with Vernon sending in an inviting cross which was headed over by Megginson.
Millar should have done better soon after when he cut inside past McArdle but his control let him down at the vital moment before Jody Morris fired a speculative effort wide from distance.
The visitors could have broken the deadlock after 58 minutes when Millar's pass deflected off McArdle into the path of the advancing Sandaza but the striker scooped the ball over the crossbar.
The Saints made their first change after 63 minutes, introducing Lee Croft at the expense of the ineffective Millar, while Darren Mackie replaced the tiring Rae for the Dons two minutes later.
The hosts threw on Mohamed Chalali for Megginson as they searched for the goal that would likely give them all three points and he almost made an immediate impact when laid the ball off for Mackie but the striker's effort sailed past the upright.
St Johnstone goalkeeper Mannus was called upon to keep out a Kari Arnason long-range shot before Chalali hooked a shot round the post as time ran out on a disappointing match.