Mar 312014
 

Aberdeen looked to be missing some key men in this sometimes intense yet drab affair, says Voice reporter Andrew Watson.

merkalndpic2It was a grey and overcast afternoon which very much summed up some of the football that was being played.

The Tangerine faithful were on song, and gave their former players Barry Robson and Willo Flood stick.

As a riposte, the Red Army dug into their New Firm derby opposition with a rendition of ‘Dundee slums’.

To those none the wiser, it’s about eating rats and revelling in it, etc.

Moving on, it wasn’t long before Dundee United opened the scoring. They pounced onto a poor clearance from captain Russell Anderson and got an opportunists goal.

0-1 Dundee United (Paul Paton) on the 6 minute mark.

The rest of the half was very frustrating, and it was only after the break that the tide changed in Aberdeen’s favour. Niall McGinn moved up front alongside striker Adam Rooney, a timely tactical switch by gaffer Derek McInnes.

A combination of this formation alteration, and Robson’s dominance in set pieces, prevailed to level the game.

McGinn found Robson’s long ball, and headed only yards from the goal line.

1-1!

Cammy Smith came off for Declan McManus twenty five minutes later. The Dons endeavoured right into injury time to find the winning goal, but that clinical touch in the final third was amiss.

They’re sadly missing Jonny Hayes and Peter Pawlett, though their squad should really be strong enough to withstand the loss of only two players.

Final score:  1-1.

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Mar 232014
 

Two cheap goals at either end of the pitch in the early minutes of the first half ensured this to be a closely contested outing, writes Voice reporter Andrew Watson.

IMG_1248After some light drizzle it was a surprise that injured heroes Jonny Hayes and Peter Pawlett got wet via other means.  That being the pitch sprinklers whilst parading the League Cup, five minutes prior to kickoff.
There was even The Human League being played on the tannoy so the fans could chant ‘Peter Pawlett Baby’ over their hit ‘Don’t You Want Me’.

The duo were sorely missed in the centre of the park, and that’s where Kilmarnock found their opening.

0-1 Kilmarnock (Kris Boyd) after 11 minutes.

The crowd proceeded for the remainder of the game to jibe Boyd with chants of ‘sumo’, digging at his weight issues over the years.

Aberdeen didn’t have to wait long for a response.  Nicky Low and Adam Rooney passed between each other to force space in the box, and Rooney duly drilled into the corner on the 17 minute mark.

1-1!

There wasn’t much to write home about after that; in terms of the first half, anyway.  However, Niall McGinn had a bit of a howler; missing at least two clear cut chances to put his team ahead.

Things appeared to be approaching into stalemate in the second half, but tactical changes ensured against this.  Low was called to the bench in favour of Barry Robson after 61 minutes.

This geed up the Reds, and defender Mark Reynolds delivered a ball which Ryan Jack found on the 72 minute mark.

2-1 Aberdeen!

McGinn was then replaced by Declan McManus fourteen minutes later.

The Dons held their nerve against the Rugby Park men, eking out a valuable victory.

All in all it’s good they’re managing to win in such a fashion as this.  I mean to miss numerous chances to score, and not to regret it.

Final score:  2-1.

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Mar 112014
 

pittodrie2There wasn’t much between the Dons and Sons in this Scottish Cup quarter final tie, recounts Voice reporter Andrew Watson.

Cold yet relatively windless, it was the match everyone thought would be a wipe out for the away side, and that Dumbarton would be swept away under a deluge of goals inflicted upon them by a stubborn Aberdeen side.

In reality, the only incident that put anything between the two teams was an Aberdeen goal after 53 minutes.

Set piece king Barry Robson found the head of Adam Rooney not long into the second half via a corner, where before, the Reds were generally under the cosh and were lucky not to be at least a goal down.

1-0 Aberdeen!

There were some hairy moments for the home side as the Championship outfit quested for an answer to Rooney’s effort.

Niall McGinn then came on for Cammy Smith after 70 minutes.  Scott Vernon followed, replacing goal scorer Rooney on the 83 minute mark.

Robson left the pitch four minutes later, with Nicky Low coming off the bench.

It’s definitely good that Aberdeen are a side able to fashion themselves as a team able to grind out results when not everything is going their way.

On the other hand, it’s a tad worrying that they struggled so much against lower league opposition.  They’ll have to turn on the style a tad more to beat teams like their League Cup rivals Inverness.

It could perhaps be put down to fatigue given the spate of fixtures they’ve had this last thirty days or so.

Final score:  1-0.

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Mar 032014
 

St Johnstone will be smarting after failing to secure a draw, let alone all three points, reasons Voice reporter Andrew Watson.
merklandandrew

It was a chilly afternoon at Pittodrie, and the home crowd were treated to an early goal.

Ryan Jack from 25-yards out hit the ball with no real conviction or power and still managed to beat the keeper and all after only 8 minutes.

1-0 Aberdeen!

In all honesty there’s not much to report from there onwards. The McDiarmidPark men put the Dons under consistent pressure. They rattled shots of the post and sometimes their own bad luck, rather than ineptitude, kept them off target.

Goal scorer Jack left the pitch on the 63 minute mark, with Barry Robson replacing. Niall McGinn also came off for Cammy Smith.

15 minutes later Pater Pawlett came off for Nicky Low. The latter was involved in the second booking of ex-Reds striker Steven MacLean, and duly got him sent off for his troubles.

Aberdeen were definitely a tad lucky to come out as victors in this contest, and a draw would have been a fairer result. Had St Johnstone taken all their chances, they’d have been outright victors.

However, it’s good to see the Dandies hold on stubbornly to narrow leads. Competing at the top level requires an instinct to grind out results against stiff opposition.

If Aberdeen keep up this form, we’ll be looking forward to two cup finals and perhaps finish as runners up in the league.

Final score:  1-0.

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Feb 262014
 

Squeaky bum time for the duration, but a vital victory against an until now unbeaten Celtic side reports Voice’s Andrew Watson.

pittodrieThe wind blew through Pittodrie, and along with it came a rain which at times hailed horizontally.

The velocity of play was intense and made the mind boggle as to how it could be maintained throughout.

It didn’t take the crowd long to be up in arms.

The home support greeted Virgil van Dijk’s sending off as one would welcome a goal or a cup final. So after only 12 minutes, Celtic were down to ten men.

Although this somewhat evened up proceedings, Celtic managed to put Aberdeen under a lot of pressure regardless.

On the 41 minute mark, Niall McGinn found Jonny Hayes. The Dubliner took a chance from thirty yards and found the top corner, denting Fraser Forster’s clean sheet record.

1-0 Aberdeen!

Only 4 minutes later McGinn found on form Adam Rooney, whose diving header in turn found the net.

2-0 Aberdeen!

What proceeded in the second half was sustained pressure from the Parkhead men, and if I could blame anyone for what followed I would point to Alan Tate. His poor headed clearance handed Celtic a goal, and a way back into the game.

2-1 (James Forrest) after 62 minutes.

From where I was sitting, in the Main Stand, the Englishman could have made a pass back to Jamie Langfield, but opted to head out the box; which inevitably found Scott Brown.

Tate left the pitch on the 83 minute mark, with Joe Shaughnessy coming on. Shaleum Logan also came off to make way for Russell Anderson.

Peter Pawlett came off after 92 minutes to be replaced by Scott Vernon.

The Dons were definitely lucky to win this one, though it must be said that Celtic took for granted they’d eventually win the game.

Final score:  2-1.

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Jan 192014
 

The Dons finally bottled it today, raves Voice reporter Andrew Watson.

merkalndpic2With over 12,000 in attendance, it’s clear the Dons would be playing in front of an expectant crowd. A crowd expecting victory
It was a chilly afternoon, if not a little bit misty. Nothing the Pittodrie floodlight system couldn’t handle, though. This meant Barry Robson could arguably contend his early corner kick shot wasn’t just a wayward delivery that hit off the top of the crossbar and top netting.

Aberdeen dominated possession but did little with it, and they were to suffer the consequences for not being more clinical.

Thistle looked dangerous on the attack, particularly on the break. Their forward was generously gifted a shot from ten yards out and pounced.

0-1 (Danny Williams) after 22 minutes

Four minutes later, the home support broke out in rapturous applause. This was to mark the life – and death – of young Aberdeen fan, Cammy Smith.

This positivity starkly contrasted with the later frustration of the home crowd when the referee got in the way of play. He feebly ducked the oncoming ball unsuccessfully and got hit. He duly had abuse hurled at him for his trouble.

Unfortunately there was little worthy of a mention in the remainder of the proceedings.

Alan Tate was replaced by Joe Shaughnessy after 58 minutes. A minute later, Robson came off for Jonny Hayes.  At the 65 minute mark, Josh Magennis came on for Scott Vernon.

Of the last substitution, if was clear that Vernon had to be taken off. If I had the choice I’d have taken off Niall McGinn too. These two seem to be just going through the motions, these last few games.

The most bitterly ironic thing is thatf Gregg Wylde, who moved to St Mirren the other day, might have made the difference in this game; if only to take a point instead of none at all.

Final score:  0-1.

Jan 132014
 

Well, they do tend to bottle the big games but this time the Dons delivered, pontificates Voice reporter Andrew Watson.

merklandandrew

Anytime Aberdeen are in the ascendency and give their fans the opportunity to pack ‘Todders’ to the rafters, and they duly comply, they disappoint and leave the Red Army irate at the whistle for full-time.

This time, however, was different.

A brisk air with little wind made for ideal weather conditions, especially considering the time of year.

I had my free press pass hot drink and pie to warm the cockles, but felt like a heretic ditching the famous Pittodrie Pie for a more salubrious gastronomical experience – ala steak pie; a shameless premium cut off of one of Angus The Bull’s pals. Sorry Angus!

The Easter Road men dominated early proceedings, but more or less slunk into anonymity, with occasional raids into the opposition’s penalty area. There were also sizeable claims for a penalty by the home crowd, gobsmacked that referee Craig Thomson waved play on.

On the face of it, the only other part of the game worth mentioning lies well into the heart of the second half, three minutes shy of full-time and four minutes after Scott Vernon came off for Calvin Zola.

Willo Flood picked up a seemingly innocuous clearance from the Hibees back four, and thundered it into the roof of the net from twenty-five yards out. Cue home crowd going absolutely bananas, considering they probably resigned themselves to settle for a dull, goalless draw.

1-0 (Flood) after 87 minutes.

Two minutes later, Jonny Hayes left the pitch to be replaced by Russell Anderson. At the 92 minute mark, Josh Magennis came on for Niall McGinn.

All in all, Aberdeen were almost frustrated by a stubborn and resolutely defensive Hibernian side. I dare say the timely introduction – almost too late – of Zola into the field of play changed the home side’s fortunes.

New boy Alan Tate seemed solid enough if not slightly ungainly at times. I hope to eventually eat my words, and that he goes on to be a worthwhile addition to a promising Aberdeen squad.

Final score:  1-0.

Nov 142013
 

By David Innes.

IMG_1383cThe AFC Heritage Trust held its fifth Remembrance Day commemoration on the 11th of November at the permanent memorial in the Richard Donald Stand.
First dedicated in 2009, this memorial is a popular stopping-off point for stadium tour parties, and on match days there are always fans who read its information and learn a little more about the heroism of past members of the Dons community.

As has become customary, the event was well-attended, by club staff, members of the armed forces and linked organisations, and by members of the public and trustees.

During a short, formal ceremony, the names of those who died in battle were read by trustees John Callander and Andrew Duthie, as a re-dedication of the memorial. That allowed us to muse on just how young these men were. The Last Post was sounded before silence descended on Pittodrie for two respectful minutes.

Reveille sounded to signal re-awakening, and Lawrence Binyon’s ‘For the Fallen’ was read, before wreaths of respect were laid by representatives of organisations wishing to pay formal tribute.

Club captain Russell Anderson laid the club’s wreath and Neil Simpson represented the Former Players Association by laying theirs. AFC Heritage Trust Chairman Allan McKimmie, who had organised and introduced the ceremony, did the honours for the Heritage Trust.

Floral tributes were laid by representatives of

  • The Gordon Highlanders
  • Royal Air Force
  • Royal Navy
  • Air Training Corps
  • Universities OTC
  • BonAccordSea Cadets – Bridge of Don Ship’s Company
  • Gurkhas
  • Royal British Legion, Scotland
  • Poppy Scotland – the Earl Haig Fund
  • Soldiers, Sailors, Air Force Association (SSAFA) and
  • North East Scotland Disabled Veterans Association (NESDVA)

Birkaji Gurung, a staff member at Pittodrie and a former member of the Gurkha Rifles read an Armistice Tribute in his native Nepalese.

IMG_1393A significant number of Aberdeen’s Gurkha community turned out to support Birkaji. They are always welcome guests.

Whilst this annual remembrance gives us cause to remember those who perished in war, thoughts of remembrance inevitably turned to recently-departed members of the Dons family. They and their families were, without doubt, in the thoughts of many who paid their respects on Armistice Day.

Lest we forget, says the memorial. We will not forget those members of the Dons community who died in both World Wars. Football is often talked of in terms of battles and skirmishes and war. These are insignificant compared to the action that took the lives of those commemorated.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them (Binyon)

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Nov 102013
 

It occurred to me how difficult it must be for managers to keep an entire squad of players happy, even when on the bench, muses Voice reporter Andrew Watson.

pittodrieSave a thought for Scott Vernon, for example. With Calvin Zola at the fore of the Dons’ attack, the former has had to fashion himself as an impact player and super substitute. He’s scored crucial goals in recent weeks, and still finds himself outside of the starting eleven.

This side, however, is Hard To Beat.

I only just realised the irony of why they played Hard Fi’s 2005 hit during the pre-match build up; and not for the first time, either.

The song, of young lust, seemed a perfect perquisite to the wolf whistles accompanying the sight of Hearts’ female physio as she rushed onto the pitch, early on.

Women in the game struggle enough to be viewed equally even as referees, one wonders; so it’s maybe of little surprise that sexist pigs like myself found it rather amusing.

23 minutes into the game, workhorse Willo Flood left the pitch due to injury, to be replaced by Barry Robson. Only three minutes later, Robson whipped in a cross, which connected sweetly with Niall McGinn’s boot.

1-0 Aberdeen!

Not long after, there was a chance for Aberdeen to go two ahead, with a successful appeal for handball in the box. McGinn, though, failed to beat the keeper.

The Dons suffered a massive blow on 55 minutes as Barry Robson was ordered off for a second yellow card by referee Ian Brines.

Zola came off for Vernon at the 58 minute mark.  Then came the goal which turned the tide for the Tyncastle side.

1-1 (Jamie Walker). Keeper Jamie Langfield beaten after 66 minutes.

The pain was doubled eight minutes later, with a cut back exposing the Dons’ defence.

1-2 (Callum Paterson).

At the death Langfield then spearheaded an attack, running from his box to support the forwards during a corner kick. He was almost caught on the hop, and had to race back to his own goal.

Think of Peter Schmeichel in that 1999 European Cup Final. Just without the glory.

1-3 (Ryan Stevenson) after 90 minutes. Top corner.

I daresay McGinn scoring that penalty could have altered the outcome of this particular clash. Hearts came to life after the equaliser, and went onto comfortably beat a once rampant Reds side.

Losing Robson early in the second half certainly didn’t help.

Final score:  1-3.

Nov 052013
 

Perhaps it’s a good sign when not only do you expect a win for your team, but you also envisage a clean sheet, too, says fitba reporter Andrew Watson.

merklandandrew

Aberdeen started the game brightly and on the attack, but with little end result.

A seemingly speculative free kick from Niall McGinn, though, saw Scotland call-up keeper Scott Fox pick the ball out of his net after 25 minutes.

1-0 Aberdeen!

Fifteen minutes later and Peter Pawlett was running at Thistle’s defence, posing a goalmouth threat for Calvin Zola to net from only two yards out.

2-0.

11 minutes after the interval, the impressive Cammy Smith left the pitch, with ex-Celtic man Barry Robson coming on. Zola then came off to be replaced by Scott Vernon at the 64 minute mark.

Michael Hector, formerly of Millwall, rocketed an absolute wonder shot into the roof of the net approximately at the time of that latter substitution.

3-0.

Only seconds later Partick might have pulled one back after a cheeky dink from the centre of the park, but the enquiring shot was beaten by Jamie Langfield’s crossbar.

Pawlett came off to allow for club captain Russell Anderson fourteen minutes after Hector’s goal, arguably to shore up the defence and earn a much desired fourth consecutive clean sheet.

Hector was also involved in a superb cross for McGinn to finish expertly after 87 minutes.

4-0.

To be fair, the score belied the sometimes excellent efforts of the Firhill men, who besieged the Dons defence.  It’s just that they didn’t finish chances, unlike what was achieved at the other end of the field by a side more clinical in attack.

Final score:  4-0.