Mar 192017
 

By Red Fin Hall.

The match against ‘they who were once contenders’ before Robbie Neilson jumped ship to go to MK. Dons and the young statistician took over, was a game where nothing short of a Dons win would suffice; not just to make it nine home wins in a row, but to rectify a poor recent record of results versus Hearts.

Aberdeen reverted back to the usual suspects in the team fielded, with Mark Reynolds still out injured, Anthony O’Connor retaining his place, and Jayden Stockley back on the bench.

It was a fine but sunny-ish day, with the rain, thankfully, staying off. Hearts won the toss, and decided to kick off towards the Merkland Stand. The match referee was Steven McLean.

The Dons started off in a positive manner, winning two corner kicks in the first minute. Hearts got theirs five minutes in when O’Connor and Esmael Goncalves were involved in the first real tackle of the game.

8 minutes in the home team were awarded their 2nd free kick, a pattern which was set for the whole of the game.

Kenny McLean continued on from the last game, being involved in almost everything that happened on every part of the field. However, he was an unwilling participant in the first booking of the game, when he was chopped down by Alexander Tziolis.

Aberdeen were well at the top of their game, and even this early in the proceedings there was some pretty fine football being played. But, Hearts being Hearts, they interspersed trying to make a game of it with their trademark fouling.

Aberdeen were nearly hit with a sucker punch as the visitors progressed upfield, but some calm defending meant that the shot from Arnaud Djoum never troubled Joe Lewis, and the ball sailed over the bar for a goal kick.
 
Leonard Sowah was the next player to concede a free kick for a foul on Ryan Jack.

With 23 minutes elapsed we saw the best move of the game when Andrew Considine and Niall McGinn showed some skill in passing and possession, with the latter firing a perfect cross from the left side into the 18 yard area to find Shay Logan running across the front of goal and heading the ball into the back of the net.

1-0

McGinn was the executor of the next chance a mere 4 minutes later when he fired a good ball in for Adam Rooney. Rooney couldn’t quite make contact with it and it fell perfectly for Graeme Shinnie. Alas, the best we could get was a corner, which, when taken was too long for anybody.

Next, left back Considine passed forward an almost perfect ball for Hayes, but he wasn’t expecting it and failed to control it.

Hearts found themselves having the ball for a good bit of play until their work was broken up by McLean, who was then fouled for his trouble.

within the first 2 minutes Rooney had the ball in the net

Playing to his usual high standard, Shinnie collected the ball on the edge of the opposition box, turned swiftly and chipped the ball in.

It went over the bar though.

The Dons were a joy to watch, and the goal had obviously knocked the stuffing out of the men from Edinburgh, with Goncalves seemingly giving up on chasing loose balls down to easily.

Meanwhile, McGinn showed again why there may be top clubs after him in the summer, when he aimed for Rooney with a superb ball in from the sideline. The Irish striker was just unable to reach it. Still looking dangerous though.

Sam Nicholson, despite not having a game of the standard you might expect from him, tried running at the Dons defence looking for an equaliser before half time, but his finish was poor and the ball was inches away from clearing the roof of The Merkland Stand.

Just on half time Hearts had another possible goal failing by poor shooting, this time by Goncalves. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway, as the player was adjudged to be offside, although he didn’t know it at the time.

Half time 1-0.
 
The second half kicked off with The Dons attacking, and within the first 2 minutes Rooney had the ball in the net, but the whistle had been blown for offside.
 
57 minutes had passed when Logan took a throw in to Hayes, who passed to McLean who is not shot shy, but couldn’t find the second goal.

Don Cowie, the Hearts captain was booked for a foul on McLean. The free kick went no further than the wall though.

There next followed a catalogue of errors by Hearts starting off when McLean stole the ball off a Hearts player in midfield, but then after getting it back, the Dons forced a slack pass back from Anastasios Avlonitis. Before Hearts’ keeper Jack Hamilton could get to the ball, Jonny Hayes nipped in and collected it.

The keeper made a timing error when he dived at the feet of the onrushing Hayes, missing both the ball and the attacker, making it easy for him to kick the ball into an empty net.

2-0.

The second half continued in such a fashion, with the Dons pushing high upfield and Hearts fouling, mainly McLean, with Jamie Walker getting a yellow card for doing so just after 80 minutes had passed.

Just before that, however, Rooney was substituted and Jayden Stockley came on. The tall forward is more often than not, proven to have a crucial effect on games when he comes off the bench. Today was no different, but time it wasn’t so good. The Hearts players couldn’t quite handle him, and as he tried to break upfield with minutes left to play Krystian Novak, in an attempt to stop him, was pulling him back.

None of the officials saw this, but they did see Stockley foolishly react by swiping back at the player with his hand, making contact with Novak’s face. The Hearts player, unsurprisingly, went down over dramatically. The Dons player was correctly shown a straight red card for his part in the incident.

Dying the time that Novak was being treated for the gentle tap on the face he received, both Shinnie and Hearts substitute, Malaury Martin, were yellow carded for pushing and shoving like petulant schoolboys.

Ryan Christie and Frank Ross both got very minimal run-outs in the last few minutes. The fourth official indicated that three minutes stoppage time would be played, which passed without further incident. The full time whistle went, and Man Of The Match, Kenny McLean must continue to ponder what he has to do to get back into the Scotland squad.

Full time 2-0

Next game is away to Dundee on the last day of the month, before Inverness Caledonian Thistle pay a visit on 4th April.

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Mar 122017
 

By Red Fin Hall.

A quick return visit from the manager-less Steelmen, but a harder match was to be expected than the 7-2 drubbing we handed out to them on the previous occasion.
Being AFC Community Trust day, a large contingent of children and first timers were in attendance.

The club had said that the Merkland Stand had sold out, but there were enough empty seats to nullify this claim.

With Captain Ryan Jack back from injury, but Andrew Considine joining Mark Reynolds on the injury list, changes were inevitable. Graeme Shinnie slotted into the left back position, whilst Jayden Stockley continued in his up front position with Andrew Rooney.

After a rainy night and morning, it dried up, but it didn’t do anything to help the already sodden pitch.

Referee Euan Anderson blowed whistle as The Don’s kicked off towards the King Street end.

The first free kick of the game was awarded to the home team when Chris Cadden deliberately pulled down Jonny Hayes. Niall McGinn’s free kick was palmed away by keeper Craig Samson.

A good ball from Ash Taylor was received by Adam Rooney who was in plenty of space and had seemingly plenty of time, but the striker unnecessarily rushed the shot and the ball went out for a goal kick.

8 minutes into the match, McGinn collected a pass really well on the right side of the pitch. He then executed a perfect cross for Rooney, but his header was just off target. A minute later Motherwell were awarded the first corner of the game.

The centre pairing of Taylor and Anthony O’Connor were caught napping, but fortunately Motherwell were incapable of cashing in on the error.  

The first booking of the game saw ‘Well defender, Ben Heneghan shown a yellow card for coming back onto the field without permission – after being on the sidelines getting treatment for a head injury.

The pattern for the afternoon was set for Rooney when he managed to steal the ball from Zak Jules and Carl McHugh, then had a shocking ‘un-strikerlike’ attempt at goal.

This bad luck / carelessness continued in the 18th minute, when, not for the first time this season, he attempted to find the back of the net with an overhead kick. This time he didn’t even manage to make contact with the ball.

With Shinnie taking over the left back slot, we were missing somebody at this juncture who could put their foot on the ball in midfield and hold play up for a moment or two to try and alter this tousy game.

Jules, in the spirit of their tactics, conceded a free kick when he clattered Stockley to the ground

Midway through the half, good interplay between Shay Logan, McGinn and Stockley saw Rooney taking the final touch. This time his sharp shot was much more positive, but still couldn’t find the net, the ball going marginal over the bar.

Ryan Bowman became the second player to be booked for deliberately taking down Shinnie after the defender had ran back 30 yards to tackle the ball away from ‘Well number 12, Cadden, who had broken away.

The defence was called into action next when O’Connor took the ball off of  Scott McDonald as he was lining up to take shot. The ball was then worked forward to McGinn whose shot was on target, but well saved by Samson.

Motherwell seemed to have came with a plan to stop the Dons building a rhythm to the game, and it was working successfully. Jules, in the spirit of their tactics, conceded a free kick when he clattered Stockley to the ground 30 yards out.

The half drew to a close with Hayes, McGinn and Stockley nipping away and trying to break down the resilient Steelmen to no avail.

Half time 0-0.

With both teams unchanged from the first half, it was Motherwell who, within 4 minutes of the second, had the first attempt at breaking the deadlock when Scott McDonald, from just outside the goal area, chipped the ball over the defence. However, Joe Lewis was perfectly placed to catch the ball in his arms.

Good persistent play from Stockley saw the tall Englishman winning a corner. The end play from the set piece saw the ball enciphered at the feet of Taylor in a well forward position. The tall defender struck the ball from the left side of the goal mouth at a diagonal angle, going narrowly beyond the far right post near the crossbar.

Kenny McLean was having a really strong game, being involved in most moves. One minute bang in front of the goal winning a corner, next back helping with the defence.

21 minutes into the second half, the visitors made the first change of the game with Ryan Bowman being replace by Jacob Blyth, who was introduced I presume to add some spirit to the Motherwell play.

McLean was in action again in the 62nd minute when he slotted a great ball towards the far post which, with Shinnie just unable to make contact, went over for a goal kick. McLean had another unsuccessful attempt at goal just a minute later .

The final booking of the game, the sixth for the visitors, went to Cadden

Stephen Pearson became the next Motherwell player to fall foul of the ref when he was booked for holding back the pacy Jonny Hayes the Dons winger sprinted goal-ward.

Motherwell were content to waste time and settle for the draw.

Their fourth booking went to Hammel, Captain for the day, who chopped down McGinn.

In the 73rd minute Rooney was replaced by Ryan Christie. Soon after, Hammel was substituted as Elliot Frear came on for Motherwell.

Meanwhile, in between these two substitutions, yet another Motherwell booking was given. This time it was David Ferguson who was the recipient, long overdue, for time wasting.

Stockley received a yellow card with 7 minutes to go. At the same time O’Connor was replaced by Miles Storey as Derek McInnes was determined to get a win. The Dons never-say-die attitude was needed now as time was ticking away.

The game was held up for a while as Stockley and Ferguson received treatment, the 2 players having cracked their heads together in a challenge.

The final booking of the game, the sixth for the visitors, went to Cadden who refused to release the ball for The Dons to take a throw.

It was looking like an undeserved draw was on the cards when fourth official Scott Millar indicated there were 5 minutes of time to be added on.  

In the first of these minutes, Jonny Hayes shot the ball across the area from the left, to the right. McGinn ran into the ball and swept it into to the back of the net, shattering the hardworking but poorly skilled visitors, and sending the home fans into raptures as AFC move 9 points clear in second place.

1-0

The match sponsors bemused the crowd by awarding McGinn the man of the match, whilst ignoring the best player on the pitch, McLean.

Final score 1-0.

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Mar 062017
 

By Red Fin Hall.

After the most one sided, losing game Aberdeen have had for ages, if not ever, against Hamilton last week, The Dons return to Pittodrie to face Partick Thistle in this cup game.
The visitors are on a good winning run at the moment, whilst Aberdeen have lost only 2 of their last 12 games.

It was inevitable Derek McInnes had to change the starting line up for this tough match as the home side have injury problems, with Mark Reynolds out for a good few weeks, as is Ryan Jack.

But Jonny Hayes makes a return, as does Jayden Stockley. Both started the game, as did Peter Pawlett.

It’s been 96 years since the Glasgow club won the cup, whereas it has been 27 years since it came north to Pittodrie. Too long for a team of Aberdeen’s stature. Hopefully this game, their 400th Scottish Cup game will seem them take a step closer to rectifying this statistic. And having lost only one of their home games in all competitions this season, and with all the home teams getting through, they were the favourites to do so.

The pitch was not in great condition as the referee, Craig Thomson got the game under way.

Partick had most of the possession in the first couple of minutes, with Andrew Considine having to be sharp to turn the ball out for the first corner of the game.

From the forthcoming goal kick, the ball went upfield to Stockley, who has scored against the visitors in the last two games. This time, however, he was sufficiently blocked from getting a third. Within the next minute he was back in defence clearing a corner.

Moments later the Dons were on the attack with a good run from Graeme Shinnie. He found Adam Rooney who tried to curl the ball into the top corner, only for it to be saved by Tomas Cerny, with Pawlett running in. 

Abdul Osman was the first player to be penalised after a deliberate body check on Hayes. 

Thistle were awarded a free kick in the 12th minute, When Kris Doolan went down under pressure from Ash Taylor just shy of the home corner flag. Although it was clear to all that the defender never touched him.

McGinn had as shot for goal in minute 14, but it went more than marginally over. Aberdeen were beginning to get more into the game now, but still needed a bit of calmness to break the deadlock.

With just about a quarter of the game gone, a thunderous shot from Niall McGinn from the edge of the box was turned round for a corner by the keeper.

A wild McGinn effort ended up stuck on the roof of The Merkland Stand

A clever move from McGinn after receiving a pass from Shay Logan saw him put a low ball into the box, with Stockley and Adam Rooney lurking, but it was well cut out by Cerny.

The game was stopped in the 32nd minute when Pawlett and Liam Lindsay went down after a clash of heads. Fortunately both were able to continue.

McGinn was causing problems for the Thistle defence, winning a corner after some good link up play with Stockley. From the resultant kick, Rooney headed just over. A minute later the same player headed just over again after The Dons were awarded a free kick for a deliberate hand ball.

Chris Erskine had his name taken by the ref for high feet when he caught Logan on the head during another physical challenge.

A wild McGinn effort ended up stuck on the roof of The Merkland Stand just a few minutes before half time. Some poor touches from Aberdeen players, on a pretty atrocious surface, which has a greater percentage of mud over grass, doesn’t help the game flow.

Just on 43 minutes, a move from Stockley to McGinn, then a neat ball to Shinnie, Captain in the absence of Reynolds, on the edge of the D, saw him receive the ball with one foot, turn and fire the ball low into the net with the other.

1-0.

With no further scoring in the one minute the referee had added on for stoppages, the half time score remained 1-0.

No changes were made by either team as the second half commenced.

The half was barely a minute old when Pawlett was body checked and a free kick was awarded to the Dons. From the kick, Considine got on the end of the ball, stretching out his foot, but the keeper, who was having a good game, made another brilliant save.

it was the Partick Player who came off worse and had to receive treatment

A fantastic touch by Stockley in the Partick box, to an in-running Pawlett, saw the Aberdeen number 16 shoot into the side netting. The tall English striker went down with an injured shoulder on minute 53, but after some treatment he was able to rejoin the play.

The Home team were fair stepping up to the mark now, to try and put this game to bed, and some excellent work by Pawlett saw Rooney having another effort on goal.

A great longish pass from Logan to Rooney on the right wing, saw the forward try to dribble the ball along the bye-line. A corner was his only reward, and Ash Taylor could only head the ball over the bar from the corner kick.

A great run from the unusually quiet Hayes on he left side, saw his ball eventually reach the ever keen Stockley. He gathered and turned quickly causing Cerny to get down and prevent the relatively soft shot from ending up in the back of the net.

With 59 minutes having passed the visitors made the first substitution when Erskine left the field of play and Ade Azeez joining in.

Pawlett was taken out of the game by Daniel Devine for a free kick to Aberdeen on the 67th minute, but and a yellow card. At the same time Osman left the field after falling awkwardly too. Both players were able to continue though.

Niall Kewon for the visitors was the next to get treatment after bashing into the back of Stockley’s head, and suffering a nose bleed. Partick, playing the hard physical and game, were suffering more than the victims of their tough challenges.

Aberdeen made their first change in the 74th minute when the lively Pawlett was replaced by Anthony O’Connor, perhaps with a view to just seeing the match out and ensuring that their name is in the hat for the semi final draw.

With 13 minutes left, McGinn, despite getting pulled by number 15, managed to get a decent cross over, which Cerny got a hand too.

Thistle made another change, when Kevin Nisbet replaced Doolan.

Loan signing, Ryan Christie replaced McGinn

Aberdeen followed suit, by taking off Rooney, who wasn’t at his best, and the more pacier Miles Storey took over in the second forward role.

He immediately got on the end of a pass from Hayes and earned a throw in to the Dons, which Logan took, just in line with the away 18 yard line.

Osman was finally given a yellow card after cynically chopping down Hayes. From the free kick, a magnificent one, O’Connor headed the ball onto the crossbar. So close to number 2.

With minutes to go, Aberdeen, who got the toughest of the 4 quarter final games, are content to just keep the visitors at arm’s length.

Loan signing, Ryan Christie replaced McGinn with just 2 minutes left to play. This happened during the stoppage for Partick to take a corner that Logan had needlessly conceded. Joe Lewis made crucial save to snatch the ball out of the air to set up another Abereen attack.

Five additional minutes to the game were signified by the fourth official. With only one of them gone, Thistle were awarded a free kick just outside the Aberdeen box, on the left side.

Osman headed just over the bar, much to Aberdeen’s relief. But the away fans, plenty of them, thanks to their club providing free buses for them, must be disappointed that it took so long to have a proper effort on the goal.

Devine was then shown the red card when he bundled Stockley into the hoardings. 

Referee Thomson blew for full time just as Hayes was chasing the ball that was hoofed upfield towards the empty Thistle net, because all the away players, Cerny included, were up in the Dons box trying to get the equaliser.

It certainly wasn’t a pretty game, but AFC march onto the last four of this ancient cup competition, and deservedly so.

Final score 1-0.

Shinnie was awarded Man of the match. His elder brother got the same yesterday for Hibs in their win over Ayr United.

Celtic, after beating St Mirren earlier on today, and The Rangers, who romped to victory over a hapless Hamilton yesterday, made up the other three teams in the draw
which ended up with Celtic v The Rangers and Hibs v Aberdeen. Ties to,be played 22nd April.

Next home game v Motherwell, next Saturday.  11-03-17.

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Feb 262017
 

By Red Fin Hall.

It only seems like a few weeks ago that we played Ross County in the Scottish Cup, well funnily enough it was.
That hard fought game is sure to be replicated today.

The last time we played them here, the Dons finished with a 4-0 victory.

Aberdeen’s starting line up was their strongest one – the same players who started the eight game run before Graeme Shinnie was suspended.

It was a glorious and sunny day, but the pitch was anything but ideal when referee, Willie Collum, got the game underway with the visitors kicking off.

Couple of moments into the game when Shay Logan crumbled when bundled to the ground by a Ross County player. A throw in was given.

Great attacking play from the Dons followed when Logan and Hayes linked well, with the latter juggling the ball in the opposition box before utilising an overhead kick to Adam Rooney who couldn’t get high enough to get much purchase on the ball, which went straight into Scott Fox’s arms.

Ross County, playing 5 at the back, we’re working hard as the home team had attempt after attempt, including a chip in by Shinnie, which was easily held by Fox.

Aberdeen, whilst not playing at their best, were intent on trying to get the opening goal, County, were sticking well to their task and thwarting them.

The first booking came in the 22nd minute when Michael Gardyne had his name entered in the referees, book for a foul on Kenny McLean.  A minute later, Dons were another free kick a on the other side of the park which was taken by McGinn, but he totally wasted it and it ended up going for a throw in to the visitors.

A call for a penalty was, rightly, ignored by Collum, when McLean went down in the box.

In the 24th minute County were awarded their first corner, but thankfully, nobody was sharp enough to stick a foot out and it went behind for a goal kick.

Mark Reynolds was the next player to be booked when he fouled Alex Schalk, but when the free  kick was taken by ex Aberdeen player, Paul Quinn, it was totally wasted.

Aberdeen were finding it hard to get to the top of their game, as highlighted when a poor cross by Shinnie was easily intercepted by Gardyne. The Lightning start to the match where the fans were anticipating  a few goals, was replaced by hard graft and team work. They were however finding an out for every ball, as all the men in red were keen to get involved.

A sharp effort was equally matched by a sharp save by Lewis.

35 minutes had passed when Aberdeen were awarded a free kick just inside the opposition half facing towards the Merkland Stand. Taken by Hayes, the ball reached Reynolds who headed it forward to Rooney. His overhead kick however ended up security in the arms of Fox.

Never despairing despite the tight attention of the men from Dingwall, McLean was the next player to try and find away through the stuffy defence. But his fierce and low shot from 20 yards out forced Fox to dive and save.

County had their first real chance of the game when Jason Naismith beat Reynolds and his shot bobbled in front of Joe Lewis who held it at the second attempt.

With 5 minutes left of the first half, Hayes took a free kick on the left side, just 2 ft from the corner post. The goalkeeper punched it clear, and the ball was still in play, but the South Stand linesman had his flag up for offside.

Three minutes after that the ball was up in the Dons’ area and the Highlanders were awarded a free kick just on the edge of the 18 yard line. A sharp effort was equally matched by a sharp save by Lewis.

Just before the half time whistle went, Aberdeen should have been ahead. A fabulous long pass from captain Ryan Jack to Hayes, who shrugged off the challenge of Quinn. He then passed to the usually deadly Rooney, who found himself practically on his own in front of and open goal.

The simplest task to just tap it in seemed to allude him, and instead he fluffed the shot, and if contact was made, it must have been surely marginal, as the ball stopped just 18 inches the other side of him and was a sufficiently simple task for the defence to deal with.

Half time: 0-0.

The second half got underway with Ross County making a change, one that the stadium announcer failed to notify the crowd. Quinn was replaced by number 28, Kenny van der Weg, as manager, Jim Hamilton went to a more traditional four across the back.

It gave them a fair lift, as they started this last 45 much stronger looking.

Ever the master tactician, Derek McInnes decided it was time to make the first change

Although Hayes and Rooney were still a thorn in their side, the visitors were the first to try and break the deadlock just 3 minutes after the resumption of play when Schalk had a go from 25 yards out, forcing Lewis to make a decent save. Hayes was then penalised for tripping that same player shortly afterwards.

Although there wasn’t too much great quality on show, it was a busy game, with first Gardyne, then Hayes shooting wild and wide.

Ash Taylor, who is improving with every game, pulled off a crucial defensive header to cut out a cross from the County sub.

At this juncture the visitors were winning the midfield battle, and still crowding out the middle of the pitch, so something needed done.

Ever the master tactician, Derek McInnes decided it was time to make the first change. Jayden Stockley, the sub who has come on it the preceding two games and scored, was not available today. Whether the omission was tactical or as the result of a chest infection due to getting a draft when his shirt was ripped last week, I am unsure.

Anyway, Miles Storey was the player that came on. He replaced Mark Reynolds. Thus the team was altered to play three at the back, with Hayes and McGinn acting as attacking wing-backs. Storey added another option up front, and his pace was useful.

The Dons were awarded a corner in the 71st minute, and the determination of McLean in the aftermath of that set piece proved crucial. His determined play and his low powerful shot, coupled with slack defending from captain Andrew Davies, meant it was a simple task for Rooney to touch the ball into the net for his 17th goal of the season and, what ended up being the winner for Aberdeen.

1-0

That was the signal for Ross County to ring the changes, with Tim Chow and Craig Curran being substituted and Jim O’Brien and Milan Lalkovic taking to the field.

Shortly thereafter McGinn went off and Anthony O’Connor went straight into defence when he came on, and with only 4 minutes of regulation time remaining, Hayes was taken off and Peter Pawlett came on to help run the game down.

There were three minutes added on at the end, and the only thing of note was that Rooney made a good breakaway and slotted the ball to Storey, but his ball was high, wide and anything but handsome.

Full Time: Aberdeen 1 Ross County 0

Next home game is the Scottish a Cup Quarter Final v Partick  Thistle on Sunday 5/02/17 when, incidentally, the latest edition of The Red Final goes on sale.
Before that however there is an away trip to Hamilton to contend with on Tuesday.

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Feb 172017
 

By Red Fin Hall.

This rescheduled league game is Aberdeen’s game in hand over the rest of the league. It comes two days after defender Andy Considine became the third player to commit their future to the club, and Derek McInnes telling the media that still has a lot of unfinished business in the North East, and has no interest in The Rangers’ managerial position.

Being unable to field an unchanged team tonight due to the suspension of Graeme Shinnie, Ryan Christie stepped into the breach.

Referee Alan Muir got the game under way in fin not of a crowd of just over 10,600 on a clear and fine evening.

With Andrew Considine having just signed an new contract keeping him at the club for another couple of years, and Derek McInnes reiterating his desire to stay at the club, despite the (by now boring) insistence of certain sections of Main Stream Media that he is certain to be on his way to Govan, the good feeling amongst fans was running high.

That feeling was well and truly justified when the match was but a mere two minutes old when a shot toward Motherwell’s goal from Shay Logan was blocked. It fell to Adam Rooney whose shot also was blocked. The loose ball fell to Jonny Hayes who, from the edge of the area, shot into the goal past all the defenders from a tight angle to make it 1-0 before some fans had even taken their seats.

Motherwell were awarded a corner in the 4th minute, but it troubled no-one.

Setting the tone of the game, Aberdeen were looking sharp and pacy as usual. With ten minutes having elapsed, Logan had a go from the right side of the pitch but his shot was more than wayward, and almost high enough to go over the roof of The Merkland Stand.

As the Dons pressed hard looking for more goals, even this early, Christie had himself in a good position just outside the box, but looking a tad unconfident, dithered about too much and the chance was squandered.

Some nice interplay between Niall McGinn and Hayes and Rooney followed, but the latter’s overhead kick went just wide.

With not even 15 minutes in the clock, Christie again had the ball at the edge of the box, This time he didn’t hesitate but his shot too went wide. Aberdeen were certainly looking hungry for more goals. This piece of action was swiftly followed by a very good pass by McGinn to Christie, who was running through. The ball was just a tad too long and fast for he youngster to reach.

Aberdeen were given he first free kick of the game when Hayes was tripped in his own half.

Still looking strong going forward, Christie became the provider and Hayes the receptor. Taking an example of Logan some minutes previously, he too blootered the ball high and wide. Nevertheless this pair were leading by example and, linking up well, another effort from the loan signing, Christie was the result of this partnership.

finally fulfilling his potential since signing from St Mirren a couple of seasons ago

Lee Lucas for the visitors tripped Kenny McLean. McLean took the kick himself, but it was too far out to cause any concern for Craig Samson in goal.
With even the home defence venturing upfield, an excellent ball in to Ash Taylor from Christie saw the tall Englishman head just wide. Desperately seeking a second goal, Hayes saw another attempt go just wide.

Lucas then found himself being the first player to be booked for committing a second foul; this time on Christie. From 30 yards out, the kick was taken by McLean who seems to be finally fulfilling his potential since signing from St Mirren a couple of seasons ago. He aimed the ball for Considine, but a corner was the only reward.

Coming from the left side, McGinn took said corner kick. He too aimed his shot towards Consi. The defender was standing at the far post, he gratefully got on the end of the ball and headed it downwards and bouncing into the net for Aberdeen’s well deserved second goal.

2-0.

Great persistent play just a wee while later, by Hayes, after a mistake by Motherwell captain, Keith Lasley, as he failed to get the ball clear in his own area, saw the Aberdeen number 11 pass to Rooney, who was situated by the back post. He made no mistake and slotted the ball into the net.

3-0
 
Rooney was through on his own again a few moments later, after he gathered a slack ball from a Motherwell player , but a well timed tackle from Richard Tait prevented another goal.

With 41 minutes gone, McGinn took another corner. He passed the ball to nearby Hayes; he touched over to Considine, he then slipped to Christie who was badly marked just inside the opposition’s box, and with the outside of his left foot chipped it smartly into to top right corner of the net.

4-0, and potential goal of the month.

Two minutes later, a superb angled, long ball by McLean found Rooney who proceeded to sky it ala Logan and Hayes.

Just as  half time was upon us, Christie, enjoying his first start, made a great run and cut the ball back to captain Ryan Jack. His shot went marginally wide.

Half time: 4-0. The players left the field as the whole stadium stood and gave them a rousing ovation. Well, apart from the few visiting fans.

The second half got underway, with no changes made by either side, and The Dons starting off just as the completed the previous 45 minutes, with Christie bursting through again. This time his pass found the ever willing Hayes but the Irishman’s shot went wide.

Whatever Motherwell manager Mark McGhee said to his players at half time, it certainly had an effect. For the next 10 -12 minutes they made a bit more effort to try and get something from the game, but without really causing Aberdeen any real cause for concern.

it took five tellings from the ref and the intervention of a police officer

Considine was booked for something unknown, as many fans were expecting the free kick to be awarded the other way for a handball. The resultant free kick was assuredly snatched out of the air by Joe Lewis and the ball promptly dispatched to Christie.

At the end of that move McGinn fired an absolute screamer from around 39 yards out. It was turned out for a Corner by Samson who was having a good game.

The referee then gave a free kick to Motherwell for another mysterious infringement.

On the 60 minute mark, Taylor was rightly booked for for a badly mistimed challenge on Ryan Bowman. Before the free kick was taken, the referee had to go over to the dug-outs and and deal with the Motherwell manager who, apparently was having a right go at the fourth official. He was then summarily dispatched to the stands – although it took five tellings from the ref and the intervention of a police officer before he made his way to a seat amidst of a bunch of Aberdeen fans.

Shortly thereafter, Aberdeen were awarded a penalty when Logan was bundled over in the box. Obviously Rooney stepped up to take it, and obviously he didn’t miss.

5-0

Motherwell introduced the first substitute of the evening in the 67th minute, when Elliot Frear was replaced by Craig Clay.

That didn’t help them though, as they hadn’t had a chance to get into the game, when another McGinn corner found Rooney, who netted his hat trick. 

6-0

Rooney was then taken off and Jayden Stockley came on. McGinn also left the field of play, and Peter Pawlett took his place.

Mark Reynolds proceeded to foul Louis Moult, and a free kick was given. 

Lewis then makes an uncharacteristic error and came off his line to try and pull the ball out of the air and missed. Bowman headed the ball  over him and into the net.

6-1 

Taylor then had a second of carelessness by passing the ball a few feet to Bowman, who, fortunately, didn’t manage to take advantage of the mistake.

Stockley, who has more to his game than just his height, made a great cross to McGinn who’s effort was saved.

There followed a great run by Hayes, who crossed the ball to the far post to Logan, who in turn passed it to Stockley. His overhead kick, like several attempts by others previously, went a tad wide.

Aberdeen made their final substitution of the game, when Miles Storey came on, and Christie went off to a standing ovation.

Motherwell went upfield on a rare foray, and were given a corner. The said corner was missed by every defender to get to the far post, where number 88 for the visitors, Stephen Pearson, scored.

6-2

Aberdeen weren’t finished yet. Enjoying their dominance, and perhaps aggrieved by conceding two poor goals, and with only 8 minutes to go, Hayes led the charge back up field. He slipped the ball to Pawlett, and the substitute put it away.

7-2

This goal was the 7999th goal to be scored since the SPFL was formed 3 1/2 years ago. Stockley had another shot saved by their keeper, who was the only player in their team who can hold his head up, despite the deficit.

He was called into action again, and quite spectacularly so, when Taylor picked up the ball just around his own half and set off on a run, before firing in a fantastic shot from about 35 yards out. Samson reacted brilliantly to what would have been goal of the game, if not goal of the month, and dived and palmed it away.

The match ended soon after with home crowd exceedingly happy with the unexpected result, and the few fans from Lanarkshire anything but. I expect some would have demanded their money back, if they hadn’t been given free admission due to the fact that Aberdeen decided, because of the floodlight failure in the original game, it would be unfair to charge them twice.

Full Time: 7-2

Up next for The Dons is an away trip to Ayrshire on Sunday where they will meet manager-less Kilmarnock. Since Derek McInnes took charge, we have played them 12 times and won every time.

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Feb 172017
 

With thanks to Yvette Rayner, PR Account Manager, Frasermedia.

A football-mad Aberdeen family firm is helping local youngster to gear up for local football festivals. Greenwell Equipment (Greenwell), which is based in East Tullos, has provided high quality track-suit tops and bottoms to 27 boys at Newmachar United Football Club. 

The boys, aged 6-8 years, attend football festivals across the North-east and train at the Newmachar Axis Centre.

Mark Turnbull, managing director of Greenwell, is a big supporter of the club, and his son Cal, age 6, has been playing with Newmachar United FC for over two years.

Greenwell Equipment supplies modular buildings, containers, warehouse shelving and pallet racking and office furniture across the world, and the family run firm employs 15 people.

Managing director Mark is a keen football fan, and played himself as a boy and young man. He has recently started assisting the coaches at the club, with a view to training to becoming a qualified coach.

Mr Turnbull said:

“I am delighted to help out Newmachar United FC. It is a great, local club, which gives youngsters the chance to get some exercise, acquire new skills and learn how to work well in a team. Greenwell Equipment also supports Aberdeen Football Club’s Youth Academy, as we see football as an important local activity and also a great discipline and training ground for young people.”

Derek Reid, one of the coaches for the club said:

“We are really grateful for Mark and Greenwell for their support. We often attend football festivals and the other teams all look great in their kit, so we are thrilled to see our boys all now looking professional. It gives the players a real sense of pride and belonging. Newmachar United FC is an inclusive club, there are no try-outs, and we are open to every child of any ability, so we try to keep our costs to a minimum.

“Kit sponsorship is important as it makes the boys proud to belong to Newmachar United FC, and encourages them to try their best for the team. The cost of football strips, equipment and transport can add up, so we welcome all the support we can get. The boys are delighted with the new, warm track-suits which they are wearing with pride.”

Greenwell Equipment comprises of four divisions, encompassing: Greenwell Warehousing, a supplier of high quality shelving and pallet racking; Greenwell Cabins, a distributor of accommodation and welfare modules; Greenwell Office, a supplier of a wide range of business furniture both new and second-hand, and Greenwell Containers, a supplier of high-quality shipping containers.

Family-run business Greenwell, which has 15 employees, is the North of Scotland official trading partner for Containex modular buildings. Greenwell holds a large stock at its depots across Aberdeen and Angus, enabling the firm to respond quickly to customers’ demands.

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Feb 052017
 

League business returned to Pittodrie today, with a visit to the city of Glasgow’s oldest established professional football club. By Red Fin Hall.

After yet another defeat last Wednesday to Celtic, the need to get back to winning ways was crucial.

McInnes decided to start with the same team that he went with in the previous six games, despite a section of fans calling for Ash Taylor to be replaced.

Fans are fickle.

But it was good to see Jonny Hayes still at the club. He will have to wait until summer at least before he can buy his sought after iPhone 7s.

Referee, Greg Aitken, got the game underway at precisely the allocated time on another cold and sunny day. The Dons won their first free kick in seven minutes, but it was too far out for Niall McGinn to do anything with.

Partick Thistle number 19, Ryan Edwards, was the first opposition player to try and make a breakthrough, but to no avail. Five minutes later the visitors were awarded their first free kick. It was taken from within the centre circle, but it was well intercepted by Kenny McLean. Good strong play by him.

Just after, Daniel Devine played a poor passback to Tomas Cerny in the Thistle goal, giving the keeper only enough time to hoof it out of play for an Aberdeen throw in. The culmination of the set piece was a 12th minute shot by McLean from the edge of the box which was bundled safely away by their goalie.

The Dons meant business, and after receiving the pass from Graeme Shinnie, McGinn tried an shot from around 30 yards out. It was a pretty poor, but it took a deflection off Devine and nearly caught Cerny out.

The first corner of the game went to Partick in the 17th minute. Two minutes after that award, they were give a free kick which was taken by the lively Edwards. It caused Joe Lewis no problem.

Aberdeen that had a good chance to open the scoring when a very good ball in from Jonny Hayes was aimed towards Adam Rooney, but his attempt at an overhead kicked only ended up with the forward swiping at fresh air. Fortunately, the ball arrived at the feet of Andrew Considine, who was pushing up from defence. He had a reasonable chance, but his effort towards the goal from within the area was not good enough.

Alan Archibald, obviously, had a plan to deal with Aberdeen, which mainly consisted of playing nine across the back any time the Reds pushed forward. It was working, as the home team were huffing and puffing their way through the game at this juncture. Don’t get me wrong, there was some tidy enough play, but when Ash Taylor put a low diagonal pass towards Rooney, in the 23rd minute, it was just out of reach.

The Aberdeen defence was caught out when Stephen Lawless and Kris Doolan were on their own up front, bearing down on Lewis. Running back from his more forward position, McGinn made a timely tackle just as they were lining up the shot.

Partick were no mugs and kept trying.

That seemed to wake the Dons up a bit, and Ryan Jack had a shot on target from 25 yards out. It was headed clear by Liam Lindsay, who was wearing a protective face mask, for a corner.

This was taken by McGinn, from the left, reaching Taylor who executed a superb header which just went inches past the post.

Just before the half hour mark, Hayes, up to his usual high standard, showed some exemplary play by beating three players and firing a low cross in to be met by McLean, whose shot was just wide.

Partick were no mugs and kept trying. They broke upfield again, and won another corner. But as with all the set pieces from both sides today, Edwards’ effort was poor.

36 minutes in, Taylor showed the good side of his play, when he executed a smashing interception as Partick captain, Abdul Osman, had only Lewis to beat. This was a better period of play from the visitors. Number 13, Adam Barton, tried a low ball in from the right, but it was easily held by Lewis.

The Dons were awarded a free kick just inside the opposition half, too far out to try a shot. Shay Logan fired the ball into the goal area, causing problems amongst the Partick defence and culminating in an on target shot from Shinnie.

With half time approaching, there seemed to be a temporary period where Rooney lacked commitment, as his control of a Hayes pass left a lot to be desired. Things weren’t helped when he got his head to a ball into the area from McGinn, and the referee awarded an ‘alternative foul’.

Just before the whistle blew, Shinnie was clearly held, but the referee was extremely slow to react.

Half time: 0-0.

No changes to the line ups as Thistle started brightly with a good ball in from the left by number 14, Chrissie Elliot, to Edwards. Thankfully his shot went wide. The Aberdeen defence were fair caught napping there.

The game was stopped soon after when Jack went down and needed treatment for a head knock. The referee though saw nothing wrong with the challenge that meant the captain had to leave the field for a few minutes.

McGinn then had one of his trademark runs into the box, but the move petered out when the final ball fro Shinnie was below par.

Partick made the first sub when Kris Doolan was replaced by the robust looking, Ade Azeez.

A brave decision when it was still goal-less.

Andrew Considine was booked in 55 minutes for a foul on Osman. The resultant free kick was headed over. It looked at this stage like maybe Wednesday’s defeat to Celtic was having an affect on the players.

Partick made the first substitution when Kris Doolan was replaced by the robust looking, Ade Azeez.

Something needed to be changed for the Dons, and Derek McInnes made the controversial decision to take off two defenders, Logan and Mark Reynolds, and replace them with Jayden Stockley and recent loan signing from Celtic, Ryan Christie. This meant they changed to playing with a three man defence with Jack dropping back into the centre of the three; McGinn and Hayes were utilised as wing backs. A brave decision when it was still goal-less.

However, the double substitution appeared to be a great move, as pretty soon after taking to the field, Christie tried to chip the keeper. Unfortunately it went straight to Cerny.

In the 70th minute, Hayes on fire, hit a ferocious shot into the box, which Cerny could only turn round for a Corner.

From the corner, McGinn fired an inswinger into the box and, unmarked, Stockley beautifully headed the pall into the net for the deserved opener.

1-0

Partick made a second change when David Amoo was taken off and Chris Erskine came on.

Cerny had to be sharp, when a McGinn cross was heading for Stockley as he was trying get his second goal. Partick were struggling to contain Aberdeen now, with Rooney, Stockley and Christie proving to be a handful up front. Christie tried again, albeit unsuccessfully, to lob the keeper after receiving a pass from Stockley.

In the 79th minute, Considine and Jack were uncharacteristically caught out when Azeez got a pretty good shot in. He was disappointed to see it go six inches past the post. A lucky escape for the Dons.

The final substitutions were forthcoming when Partick’s Kevin Nisbet came on for Edwards, and Rooney was replaced by defender Anthony O’Connor with less than ten minutes to play. Reverting to a four man defence, Shinnie went to left back and Jack went back into midfield.

With only four minutes left, Aberdeen went looking for another goal to kill the game, and a cute back heeler from Hayes found Shinnie, but nothing came of it.

Partick weren’t dead and buried yet, but their final chance came when Azeez had a crack. But his ball went high, wide, and not very handsome. The fourth official then indicated there would be four minutes of stoppage time to play.

It was two minutes into it when, as the Dons, finishing the game on a high, kept the pressure up. It paid off when solo striker, Stockley, flicked the ball unselfishly to Christie, who finished off comfortably for his debut goal in only his second appearance.

Full time: 2-0. 

A very tactically astute football match by both managers, but McInnes assuredly won that particular battle. Next home game is on 15 Feb, when the rescheduled match v Motherwell takes place. Hope the floodlights stay on!

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Jan 282017
 

By Red Fin Hall.

It was a return to league business today, and a relatively short trip north for the visitors tonight. 
These Friday evening games have proven popular, and for a change, the powers that reschedule these games have been sensible in having Dundee the opposition, rather than Motherwell, Hamilton or some other further away club; making it easy for travelling fans is not normally in the remit of the television companies.

The team line-up remained unchanged with somewhat controversial new loan signing, Ryan Christie on the bench.

The strong Dons’ team were looking to win 5 on the bounce on this gine but cold evening.

Approximately 11,000 fans saw Graeme Shinnie get the first strong tackle of the game a mere three minutes into the game.

A minute later good linking play involving Andrew Considine and Niall McGinn with the final ball just your far ahead of Jonny Hayes.

Dundee counter attacked and a good ball into Aberdeen goal mouth, for the first shot on target for the visitors, was safely held by Joe Lewis, the ever-present in the Aberdeen goal.

The Dons were taking some time to settle, with Dundee harassing them and, at this point, their number 33, Craig Wighton, looking sharp. They won a free kick around 4 yards out from the edge of the Aberdeen box, but it came to naught. Then in the 10th minute captain Paul McGowan chipped a ball off the crossbar.

A couple of minutes later the home team were awarded their first free kick of the game by referee Kevin Clancy, when Hayes was bundle off the ball.

Aberdeen had their first real chance on the quarter of an hour mark, when McGinn placed a corner kick perfectly into the goal area, but Mark Reynolds, up from defence, headed it just wide.

Another corner kick was far too long for anybody to get on the end of. Their next corner was won when a McGinn shot was turned over the by-line.

Dundee then broke upfield and on the 21st minute had a goal chalked off for offside. The Dons by this time had started to dominate the game and a long pass from Ash Taylor which defender Julen Extabeguren got his head to, fell to McGinn who’s chip shot went just over.

Keeping the pressure up, a free kick was awarded when Adam Rooney was fouled, and the effort, again from McGinn, was tipped over by ex Don Scott Bain.

The breakthrough came around the 29th minute, whith good  work  by Hayes and McGinn, with the   latter putting in a superb ball to find Captain Ryan Jack rising through middle of the defending pack, to header home.

1-0

Before you could draw breath, another cross in from McGinn was cut out by in form Bain as Shay Logan was running in.  Logan was then the perpetrator of the next move, when he executed a superb cross from the right wing, which was defended well by Extabeguren.

Taylor and Rooney were the next Dons to have an exchange of play, setting up Kenny McLean, who seems to relish slightly forward p,aging position. His close angle effort was saved though.

With only 6 minutes left of the first half, Dundee got their first corner.

The ever-determined Shinnie then slipped a great pass to McGinn, but the only reward for the move was another corner.

The referee then deemed Hayes had fouled a Dundee player after the Aberdeen man had ran 25 yards to knock the ball off the feet of the man. A ridiculous decision if ever there was one.

Aberdeen were searching for the second goal, and chip from Taylor from 30 yards out was deflected of off Kosta Gadzhalov and into the Dundee stopper’s arms. 

The potential goal of the month came next. Just on half time, a ball into the Dundee box was met by the rejuvenated Taylor, who rose above the defenders and headed the ball back to the oncoming McGinn who majestically volleyed into the net to rapturous salutations from fans and team mates alike.

2-0

Both teams started the second half without making any changes and Aberdeen kicked off towards the home end.

The referee seemed intent in making some baffling decision; this time penalising Shinnie as he stopped the ball just before it reached the feet of an opposition player.

Nine minutes into this half, a free kick taken by McGinn from around 40 yards out, went straight across the front of the goal with no takers.

With 58 minutes elapsed, McLean picked up the ball up and ran swiftly in towards the goal, but his shot was turned round for a corner. McGinn, on top form was tackled as he made yet another goalward run.

At this point Dundee, despite being a much poorer quality team than the hosts, were still trying to create something instead of just playing spoiling football. But the quality isn’t there, especially after losing their top two goal scorers during the summer. Manager, ex-Dons Captain Paul Hartley, was possibly staging a protest against the board by only naming 5 subs to sit on the bench.

After the first booking for Dundee, for a foul on McGinn, his free kick was headed just wide by Rooney.

There then followed a period of scrappy play by both sides, brightened only by Hayes making a fabulous, pacy run into the area, only to have his close range shot saved by the in form Bain.

Shinnie found his way into the referee’s book for persistent fouling with just over 15 minutes left to play.

Dundee were the first team to make a substitution when Faissal el Bakhtaoui replaced Extagabeguren. This substitute for the visitors, changed their style of play, as they swamped the midfield making it harder for Aberdeen to break them down. You got the impression Hartley was now just trying to keep the score somewhat respectable.

With 10 minutes left, the crowd were baying for a free kick as Hayes tumbled to the ground, but, for a change, I believe the man in the middle made the correct decision. It looked like shoulder to shoulder to my eyes.

A minute later, the same man picked up the ball on the left, and fired in great ball. The head of McGinn made perfect contact with it and steered in into the back of the net for his second goal of the night, and his team’s third.

3-0

That’s 4 goals in two games for the Northern Irish International player. If he keeps this form up, and he refuses to sign a new contract, he should be a rather fine, free investment for some club south of the border.

Aberdeen then made their first change of the evening, with Hayes departing the field, and Ryan Christie coming on to a generally warm welcome.

The final 10 minutes saw Rooney, who wasn’t on his sharpest form tonight, being taken off and Miles Storey coming on. Then, two goal hero McGinn was replaced by Scott Wright.

The changes didn’t alter anything, and the latter pair didn’t really have enough time or opportunity to create anything, although Storey looked lively.

After the 3 minutes of allocated stoppage time had passed, the referee blew the final whistle, and another satisfactory victory for Aberdeen was gained to move them, at least until tomorrow mid afternoon, back into second place.

Final Score: 3-0

Aberdeen now face a tough away match against runaway league leaders Celtic on Wednesday before returning to Pittodrie next Saturday afternoon when Partick Thistle will be the visitors. 

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Jan 222017
 

By Red Fin Hall.

It seems like ages since a ball has been kicked in anger by AFC.

It was a welcome return to Pittodrie for the continuation of the football season, with lower league Stranraer the opposition for only the 5th time in both teams’ long history.

It’s the first home Scottish Cup tie since Dumbarton visited the North East in March 2014.

The Dons fielded their preferred and strongest line up, with James Maddison having returned to his parent club, Norwich, and intended loan signing, Stevie May, not yet in situ.

From the kick off, Niall McGinn went up field and had his first shot towards the visitor’s goal. Aberdeen were awarded their first corner, created by Adam Rooney, but Andrew Considine’s strong header went over the crossbar.
Five minutes into the game, number 33 for the visitors, Willie Gibson had a shot, if one can call it that, easily held by Joe Lewis.

In the 7th minute, a pass by captain Ryan Jack over to the left found Jonny Hayes, who in turn passed to McGinn, whose shot was well saved keeper. Two minutes later the same man had a weak shot from 30 yards out.

Ash Taylor, comfortable in the centre of defence since regaining his place from Anthony O’Connor, executed a perfect long pass down the right finding McGinn. His poor touch fell to Hayes, who continued the move, finding Considine who had found his way forward from left back. The move ended there though. The Dons needed to settle down and show their obvious superiority.

The two players under the speculation of transfer rumours, McGinn and Hayes, were on their best form and causing problems everyone they were on the ball. The latter, looking to be worth much more than the derisory 1/2 million pounds Cardiff offered for him, laying on another chance for the former, but Kenny Mclean was a bit too keen and sort of got in the way preventing him being able to pull off a clean shot.

Just after that McGinn audaciously tried to chip the keeper from 50 yards out. But Belford was able to get underneath the ball and hold it.

Twenty one minutes in saw Hayes fouled, but referee Don Robertson played advantage. Hayes found Shay Logan, who put the ball into the goal area, but neither Rooney nor any other player in red, was able to find the net for the opening goal.

Kenny McLean was the next to have a shot, but it was stopped by the keeper. McGinn was the provider this time, as he executed a great pass to Logan; he beat the offside trap but defender, Liam Dick, got his foot in to prevent the opener.

Stranraer were awarded a free kick on 28 minutes, when Graeme Shinnie brought down Willie Gibson, who took the free kick himself. It came to naught and the ball fell to the ever willing Hayes who broke upfield, put a perfect ball in for Adam Rooney to get on the end of and fire into the net to claim that much anticipated first goal for the Dons. 

This brought his total for the club to 69, making him the top scorer for Aberdeen this century. One more that Darren Mackie: but over a shorter period.

1-0

The Dons were intent on keeping the pressure up, with Considine having too chances within a minute of each other. Both just off target. In the 34th minute, the lead was extended when McGinn picked up the ball just inside the opposition’s half, and he had only one thought in mind as he ran up the left side if the pitch.

He made short change of the two defenders in his way, and with the keeper closing in, hammered the ball past him and into the goal.

2-0

If anyone thought they were going to sit on their laurels until halftime, they were mistaken as Hayes was the next to have a shot, but his effort went straight across the front of the goalmouth.

With only ten minutes left in the action-packed first half, Aberdeen were awarded a free kick which came to nothing.  Moments later though, Mark Reynolds found Rooney with a superb ball from just outside the box. The ball was heading into the bottom left corner, but the on form keeper for the away team deftly turned it out for a corner.

Hayes had another chance just before half time, but he totally skyed it

Half time: 2-0

No changes were made by either side at the start often the second half, and three minutes into the half, Shinnie had a shot that the keeper couldn’t hold, but managed to keep it out anyway.

The third goal wasn’t long in coming. During a scramble in the visitors’ box, the referee spotted a deliberate hand ball by Morgyn Neill and pointed to the spot. Needless to say, Rooney stepped up, and despite the keeper guessing the right way, the Irish striker made no mistake and scored his 2nd and Aberdeen’s 3rd of the game.

3-0

Both Hayes and Shinnie showed next that they weren’t shot shy, but Belford was having a good game. He also denied Logan a goal.

Five minutes later, McGinn got his second goal to make the score much a more plausible 4-0. This came as the result of team work with Considine, Shinnie, who did well to hold off Gibson, and Ryan Jack, before McGinn joined Rooney in being the first two players to score goals in four competitions in one season since 93/94.

4-0

Stranraer made their first substitution with Kyle Turner replacing David Barron.

On the 61 minute mark, McGinn fired in another attempt from the left side at an angle, but only managed to win yet another corner. A few minutes after that Aberdeen made their first change of the day with Hayes departing the field and Peter Pawlett replacing him.

At the same time, managerless Stranraer took Mark McGuigan off and put on David Wilson.

The visitors must take credit for not sitting back and playing a defensive game. Their substitutes had the desired effect of tightening up their midfield, whereas Pawlett seemed to take a wee bit longer to settle. The men from the borders made their final substitution soon after with Guiliano Morena coming on and Ryan Thomson going off.

The Dons meanwhile replaced Considine with youngster, Scott Wright. The effect of this was noticeable as Wright showed his keenness and pace by taking the ball swiftly and fearlessly towards the opposition goal.

Rooney was trying hard to get his hat trick, and he was very unlucky not to get it, when, the ball just refused to cross the line.

Another of Aberdeen’s youth players, a Frank Ross, came on to replace McKean in the midfield. Here was another young man showing that this big occasion held no fear for him.

There wasn’t over much time for him to do anything as the referee blew the whistle for full time with no stoppage time added.

All in all a thoroughly professional performance by the lads. Hopefully the same thing can be done on Friday evening when Dundee, albeit a tougher proposition make the trip north.

Final score: Aberdeen 4 Stranraer 0

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Dec 282016
 

By Red Fin Hall.

The last home game for the Dons before the winter break, saw Hamilton make the trip north.

Having only won two games this season, one of which was a 1-0 victory when Aberdeen visited back in October, they were hoping to snatch at least a draw today.

The Dons, whose recent form has been, to say the least, erratic, fielded an team unchanged from that which beat Motherwell away from home last Friday.

Referee Andrew Dallas got the game underway on a crisp, cold but sunny day, with the underfoot playing conditions ideal.

Three minutes in, Aberdeen had their first free kick, swiftly followed by their first corner. It was from this corner that Mark Reynolds had the ball in the back of the net. But this brought about the first of many debatable decisions when he ruled that a foul had been committed and disallowed the goal.

Minutes later a sharp looking Jonnny Hayes won a second corner.

With 15 minutes gone Hamilton went looking for their first goal and a snapshot from Darian McKinnon from 25 yards out, caused Joe Lewis to do his job and divert the ball around the post for a corner.

Hayes was at it again, when he picked up a loose ball and fired it forward for Adam Rooney to chase, but it was too long for him to reach it.

Just after Kenny McLean and captain Ryan Jack had their shots blocked, a goalmouth scramble ensued when McLean, Andrew Considine and Reynolds also had shots blocked.

In 22 minutes Hamilton were scrambling about in the Aberdeen goal area, trying to make a breakthrough.

Meanwhile The Dons were winning corner after corner as they kept the pressure up on a poor Hamilton team who were getting away with foul after foul as the pace of the home team was proving too much.

After Rooney held the ball up, he found Graeme Shinnie, whose shot just went wide. Moments later the same player made Accies keeper, Gary Woods pull off a vital save.

Hayes, still causing the opposition grief, was fouled by McKinnon, who protested his innocence. Taking the free kick itself, he found the head of Ash Taylor, who had made his way forward from the centre of defence. His perfectly timed leap on the 33rd minute, directed the ball into the back of the net to give Aberdeen a well deserved lead.

1-0

Dallas was deservedly criticised when two minutes later he awarded a penalty, indicating that Lewis had brought down Danny Redmond. Dougie Imrie took the spot kick and buried into the back of the net.

1-1

The Dons, fans and players, were again decrying the referee moments later when Rooney was pushed over in the box. The referee awarded another free kick to Aberdeen when Shay Logan was brought down. Hayes again took the kick, and again he found the head of Taylor. This time the keeper saved it, resulting in another corner. 

Just before the halftime whistle blew, number seven for the visitors, Imrie received a yellow card.

Another claim for a penalty thereafter when Considine was held in the box..

The half time whistle blew and both teams went into the tunnel knowing that a draw at this point was extremely flattering to the visitors. But if the men in red had more guile and a killer touch, then the score would have been more.

Half time 1-1

No changes at half time for either side.

Aberdeen started the final 45 minutes as they finished the first 45 when McLean found Shinnie whose attempt was blocked by a resilient Lanarkshire defence.

Hayes again looked threatening after receiving a good pass from Rooney, but as seemed to be the way of things, his attempt to score should have been better.

Aberdeen took off Considine and replaced him with James Maddison.

Immediately, Lewis pulled off a fine save after a breakthrough from Rakush Bingham, whose pass set up an Ali Crawford shot on goal.

With 20 minutes left on the clock, Logan passed to Maddison whose shot was parried by the Hamilton keeper. Rooney did what Rooney does best, and cleanly put away the rebound.

2-1

On minute 90, Maddison was booked for diving – a decision that not many can argue with. This is the second game in a row that the loan player didn’t start the game, and the second comfortable victory. Will we miss him if he returns to Norwich in January?

Let’s leave that hanging there.

With 2 of the 3 stoppage time minutes gone, Hayes was yet again brought down just outside the box and a red card was shown to the perpetrator, Scott McMann.
 
Full time came soon after. 2-1

The score should have been much higher and if Aberdeen want to seriously challenge for second place, then they are going to have to find a way to get more goals against teams of this ilk. With three yellow cards and a red awarded to the visitors and more corners than I could count, they will be in a dogfight to remain safe from relegation.

Next home game. 21.01.17 Scottish Cup v Stranraer.

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