Aberdeen draw another blank
Last Updated: 01/09/12 5:38pm
Vernon: Missed a chance late on
Aberdeen's scoring troubles continued as they were held to a goalless home draw by St Mirren in the SPL.
The Dons have now failed to score in four of their opening five matches in the league.
The home side enjoyed the better of the chances and went closest to finding the net when substitute Cameron Smith headed onto the crossbar after 72 minutes, but they could find no way through.
Aberdeen, who were without forward Michael Paton after terminating his contract on transfer deadline day, made two changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Hearts last weekend.
Stephen Hughes, who had recovered from a hamstring strain, and Josh Magennis both started in place of the absent Ryan Jack and Gary Naysmith.
St Mirren, meanwhile, brought in defender David van Zanten for David Barron, who dropped to the bench, while defender Paul Dummett was named as a substitute after signing on loan from Newcastle United.
Danny Lennon's side arrived in Aberdeen in confident mood following their midweek 5-1 win over Ayr United in the Scottish Communities League Cup.
The Buddies were also unbeaten in their previous six SPL meetings against the Dons, with three wins and three draws.
It was the Dons who started the better, though, and they created the first chance when youngster Ryan Fraser found space down the right flank and sent an early cross into the box for Scott Vernon but the Englishman was unable to connect.
The hosts continued to exert the early pressure with winger Jonny Hayes unfortunate to see his header from a Fraser corner finish just wide of Craig Samson's post.
Fraser was looking Aberdeen's most creative outlet and the midfielder sent another inviting cross into the middle after 23 minutes but neither Hayes nor Vernon was able to apply the finishing touch.
It looked to be only a matter of time before Aberdeen would break the deadlock with Isaac Osbourne firing over before Magennis' downward header was cleared off the line.
The visitors were appealing for a penalty just before the break when they felt Dons defender Andrew Considine had used an arm to block a Steven Thompson header but referee Brian Colvin waved play on.
Hayes flashed a shot wide within minutes of the restart before a weak Paul McGowan effort was easily kept out by Jamie Langfield as both teams pushed for the opener.
The Buddies made an early change after 59 minutes when Van Zanten, who had an uncomfortable afternoon against Fraser, was replaced by Barron.
The Dons threw on youngster Smith, who had impressed with a spectacular goal in Aberdeen's midweek friendly against Viking Stavanger, for Fraser and the 17-year-old almost made an instant impact when he headed a Hayes cross against the bar only two minutes after coming on.
Former Inverness Caledonian Thistle player Hayes could have won all three points in the closing stages when a long throw from Considine was flicked into his path but the Irishman slipped at the vital moment and the St Mirren defence was able to clear the danger.
Vernon should have scored the winner in the final minute when the ball sat up nicely for him in the box but the striker lashed his shot wildly over the bar, much to the frustration of the Dons support.