Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Aberdeen 0 3.00pm kick off
Bennett 38A tired and lacklustre looking Dons lost their final match of their pre-season tour of England as Mark McGhee's former side Brighton deservedly won 1-0 this afternoon.
With Jamie Langfield sitting out with his foot injury Mark Howard continued in goal. Rory McArdle was once again at right back with Jerel and Zander in the centre of defence and trialist Grant Basey at left back.
In midfield captain and new signing Paul Hartley was in the centre of the park with Yoann Folly and Derek Young. In a 4-3-3 formation Chris Maguire got forward to partner Scott Vernon and Darren Mackie when the Dons were attacking and got back to help the midfield trio when the Dons were defending to make a 4-4-2 formation.The line up showed the strength of the Aberdeen squad going into the new season with young stars Fyvie, Paton and Pawlett all on the bench. The return of Pawlett on the teamsheet a massive boost with the season opener two weeks away.
The match started in a low key fashion with neither side getting the upper hand in the opening stages. The English League One side though slowly started to dominate possession and could have opened the scoring after 14 minutes.
Rory McArdle upended Bennett who got up and took the free kick almost on the corner spot. He whipped in a great ball and former Kilmarnock defender Gordon Greer headed the ball over the bar, when he really should have tested Dons keeper Mark Howard.
They continued to force Aberdeen back and Howard was relieved to see a Bennett Cross go just over his bar. But the Dons did wake up from their slumber and Derek Young won a free kick right on the edge of the box.
Skipper Paul Hartley stepped up to take the set piece and curled a right foot effort just over the bar. And Hartley almost turned provider two minutes later as he played a great cross into the box from midway inside the Brighton half. Rory McArdle got on the end of it and glanced a header goal wards, but it went just past the post.
Brighton hit back though and again another free header for a centre-half, this time Tommy Elphick who had a good chance to score after another Bennett cross, but Howard saved his effort.
And Kishishev saw a shot go just past the post with eight minutes of the half left after he picked up a clearance at the edge of the Aberdeen box.
But Brighton weren't to be denied and took the lead sixty seconds later. Bennett picked up the ball at the edge of the box and rifled a shot towards goal, Howard got a touch but couldn't keep it out and the League One side were deservedly one up..
In truth a lacklustre performance from the Dons in the first half and Brighton worthy of their lead.
RedTV | Half time report please click here
Mark McGhee made two changes at half time. The welcome return of Peter Pawlett, who came on for Derek Young, and Fraser Fyvie replacing Darren Mackie.
But it was Brighton who again looked the stronger side and Kishishev almost scored a wonder goal for his side. He hit a volley from the edge of the box that Howard did well to tip over, and Howard again was the saviour sixty seconds later when a good move by Brighton saw Matt Sparrow played in unmarked at the edge of the box. He hit a great shot that the Dons keeper tipped over.
The League One side looked the better side for much of the match and Mark Howard was doing well to keep the score down to just one.
At this stage of the second half it was all one way traffic with the home side on top. Perhaps the long trip from Loughborough to Brighton was having an impact on the display by Aberdeen.
Captain Paul Hartley was subbed after 65 minutes, the 33 year old playing his first game of the pre-season.
With a quarter of an hour to go only the post prevented the Dons from going 2-0 down. The defence was split open by a pinpoint pass from Navarro who found Smith unmarked. He hit a great shot that rebounded off the woodwork to safety.
A minute later Bennett should have had his and Brighton's second after he had time to measure his shot inside the box, but he blazed the ball over. And the one way traffic continued as substitute Glenn Murray missed a great chance after a wonderful cross from Andrew Whing.
The best the Dons could do was hit on the break and the only real chance they had to do that was with five minutes to go. Trilalist Jim Collins picked up the ball on the halfway line and tried to play a pass through to Peter Pawlett, but the weight on the ball wasn't enough and the chance was gone. The Dons final and best effort came in the last minute when a Michael Paton volley went just past the outside of the post.
In total the home side had almost 20 efforts on the Aberdeen goal and could, and should have won by more. In contrast the Dons rarely troubled the Brighton defence.
With the season just two weeks away Mark McGhee won't have been too happy with the display from his players, but these games are about fitness more than anything and the performance that matters is against Hamilton Accies on the 14th August. There is still two weeks for the team to gel.
The positives this afternoon were the return of Peter Pawlett to first team action and another fine performance by Mark Howard in the Dons goal.
The Dons are next in action against Brechin on Tuesday night kick off 7.45pm before they fly out to Germany to Kaiserslautern a week today. (kick off 3.30pm)
RedTV | Full time report please click here
Team: Howard, McArdle, Ifil, Diamond, Basey, Maguire, Hartley, Folly, Young, Vernon, Mackie
Subs: Bain, Collins, Magennis, Foster, Considine, Fyvie, Jack, Pawlett, Paton
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Mark McGhee Post Match Quotes "It was a game where we spent coping with them. They (Brighton) were good today. Their shape was good and they stretched us, they passed the ball better than us and they forced us to work really really hard. We had no attacking threat.
"Part of the exercise we are here for is to work hard and to get fitter and better. Obviously what we need to do is find a better way of playing. Find a better shape. Start fitting together the parts that we have brought together into some kind of shape that is going to allow us to impose ourselves more on the opposition.
"Mark Howard was good today and had some good saves, in coping with their passing and movement I thought Jerel and Zander did fine. We were ok in that respect but we did not keep the ball well enough ourselves. We were tired because we had to work so hard to stop them.
"I am confident we will find a cutting edge. We have to work on a shape which is suitable for the likes of Peter Pawlett, who has that bit of pace in the middle. Scott Vernon was having to run up the sides and chase back. We have to find a way of getting him up the middle and keeping him in the box and giving him service that he can score from. These are the things we need to put together over the next two weeks.
"The team have not had any time to gel. Paul Hartley only came in on Wednesday. I am not too concerned about what happened today. I know what has to happen between now and the start of the season.
"We have to find a shape that best suits the personal we now have.
"We started the game with Hartley, Folly and Young in the midfield who all like to play behind the ball. We knew that. Young Fraser (Fyvie) has done very well in pre-season but he has played in a lot of the games so we were looking after Fraser a little bit.
"We need Sone back, we need Peter back to give us that extra bit of pace from the midfield as well as any pace we have up front.
"Grant (Basey) is a player who I feel we can work with. We are trying to sign him. There are certain things that have to be done before we do that and we are going through that process at the moment."
RedTV | To listen to the interview in full please click here
Poke (Walker 78),
Calderon (Whing 78),
Bennett (Baz 78),
Kishishev (Dicker 58),
Navarro (Battipiedi 78),
Jamie Smith (Holroyd 78),
Barnes (Murray 78).