May 122014

merkalndpic2All Aberdeen needed to secure second place and a good crack at the Europe League was a draw, but this was snatched from them in the dying seconds of the game, reports Andrew Watson.

It was a wet affair, and some players losing their footing on the pitch was testament to that.
Motherwell fans were rowdy throughout, and let fly silver streamers onto the pitch at kickoff.

The Reds had a large chunk of the possession and the most chances on goal, but never quite had the precision to finish the job.

Things really only changed when the Steelmen brought on James McFadden after 76 minutes.

That said, Peter Pawlett had a clear cut chance chalked off for offside. However, seconds from the death, Motherwell whipped in a free kick that eluded Jamie Langfield.

Upon closer inspection, it looked as if he were barged off the ball. Russell Anderson made a vital clearance off the line, but this came to no avail on account of the rebound.

The ball then somehow crossed the line. Dejection.

0-1 (Craig Reid).

They feasibly had one last chance at attack to level the game, but time, and what little of it, was of the essence. As the ball approached the final third, the game was over.

Aberdeen still has a Europa League place, but it’s been a somewhat frustrating end to the season, especially since they missed out on that Scottish Cup Final spot.

Having beat champions Celtic on the way there, it was considered a formality that they’d at least make an appearance on May 17.

Saying that, although missing out on second place is gutting, it’s a fair few years since they last finished in the top three; let alone the top six!

Final score:  0-1.

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Apr 282014

merkalndpic2A practically full strength Aberdeen side struggled make an impact in a rather torrid game, notes Voice reporter Andrew Watson.

It was a misty day with not too bad a wind blowing. Dons fans in the South Stand unfurled a banner simply stating ‘Derek McInnes Manager of the Year’.

It didn’t take long to break the deadlock.

Clark Robertson made a poor pass back trying to find Mark Reynolds and the Saints jumped at the opportunity.

0-1 St Johnstone (Stevie May) on the 8 minute mark.

It was twenty three minutes later before Aberdeen suitably responded. A similar mistake was made in the McDiarmid Park men’s box and Adam Rooney leapt to beat the keeper, coolly knocking the ball into the net.


Barry Robson came on for Clark Robertson come 57 minutes. Peter Pawlett then came off for Cammy Smith eleven minutes later.

Aberdeen made their final substitution four minutes from fulltime, with Calvin Zola replacing Niall McGinn.

Keeper Jamie Langfield almost threw the game away after he misjudged a pass back.

The only positives this weekend in the Reds race for Europe was the 5-1 demolition of Motherwell by the hands of a rampant Dundee United at Tannadice.

Final score:  1-1.

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Oct 212013

merkalndpic2The spitting rain and low mist made for sometimes dull viewing on Saturday, though a Dons victory resulted nonetheless, says fitba reporter Andrew Watson, on his welcome return to the Voice team.

At least the away support appeared to make light of the weather, littering the pitch with orange and black balloons. They even shot rolls of paper from the stand when the whistle sounded for kick-off. The Tangerines had arrived in force.

Visitors Dundee United haven’t won at Pittodrie since 2009, and in some respects may feel cheated of at least a point after threatening goal on a handful of occasions. Having said that, neither team had many shots on target throughout.

If every player attacked the game with the same sense of urgency as Dandies’ midfielder Willo Flood, it would have been an entirely different spectacle.

He was the proverbial bull in a china shop, the colour of his own jersey acting like a Reds rag as he launched into every tackle. One can only hope this is a regular feature of his performance, and that he wasn’t inspired by the fact he’s an ex-Arabs’ man battling with his ex-teammates. There were boos for him from the away crowd for the duration.

It was only fair that he was awarded Man of the Match, as his work ethic almost singlehandedly propelled the Reds’ engine room in the centre of the park.

Despite this, Dundee United dominated the first half.

However, after the interval Peter Pawlett rushed through the United defence, passing to Niall McGinn, who found Calvin Zola. The man from Zaire slotted an easy ball into the back of the net on 54 minutes.

1-0 Aberdeen!

Joe Shaughnessy left the pitch eleven minutes later, with another ex-United man, Barry Robson coming on. Zola then came off, replaced by Scott Vernon after 77 minutes.

Michael Hector, a promising 21 year old on loan from Reading, was the last of the substitutes in 80 minutes, with Ryan Jack coming off.

The only other incident of note was the booking of Jamie Langfield. It was initially quite hard to figure out quite what had happened. Apparently as time was ticking away, and a United equaliser was threatening, the keeper urged the first aid man to take his time, and let him take the ball himself.

Admittedly, Aberdeen rode their luck in the closing minutes. Some blunders, made by a usually rock- solid defence, nearly cost them points.

Yet, on the other hand, it’s forcing the opposition’s hand, through winning ugly when there are few clear cut chances that accrues league points in the long term.

What do Aberdeen lack right now? Consistency. Results like this, against tough opposition like United, though, are telling proof of the Reds’ potential.

Final score:  1-0.