A Scott Vernon double sealed a win for an Aberdeen side that had to show spirit and determination to beat a fine Raith side. Aberdeen made the perfect start when McArdle was brought down in the tenth minute and Hartley converted the spot kick. However Raith put up a fine display and scored twice through Mole and Tade to take a deserved half time lead. It was looking like déjà vu again for Aberdeen, but they rolled their sleeves up and a double from Vernon secured the win. The only worrying aspect was the sight of Hartley and Considine limping off the field. This must be a huge worry with Rangers due in Aberdeen on Sunday.
Aberdeen kicked off and with four minutes on the clock they won a free kick wide on the right. Hartley swung the ball across and McArdle headed over as the Dons made an early threat. Five minutes later Aberdeen won a penalty when McArdle went on a great run and was brought down by Dyer, who earned himself a yellow card in the process. Paul Hartley stepped up and did his usual accurate job from the spot. There were then words between Hartley and Ellis and the Aberdeen man earned himself a caution.
Three minutes later Aberdeen won a corner and there were shouts for handball as Murray appeared to handle, but play raged on without reward. At the other end Langfield got down smartly as the Kirkaldy men threatened. Maguire then forced a corner when a long range effort was deflected wide in the 18th minute. The corner caused problems and Megginson went close. The first division side looked comfortable on the ball and at this stage were still very much in the game.
This was proven when poor defending cost Aberdeen a goal in the 24th minute as Langfield first fumbled a cross and then the ball was only half cleared. Mole was then allowed plenty time and space before firing the ball into the net. Aberdeen then forced another corner in the 29th minute, but the ball was scrambled clear. A minute later good passing play involving Maguire set up Derek Young. The midfielder should have scored, but he scooped the ball well over and held his face in his hands as he realised he should have done better.
Raith then won a corner in the 35th minute and Aberdeen looked to have cleared before it hit the referee and kept the visitor's on the attack. The men from Kirkaldy then worked the ball down the right and Tade fired a dangerous ball across the face of the goal. Fortunately the ball was ballooned over at the far post. Three minutes later Raith went ahead when Mole worked down the left, beat Ifil and fired the ball into the middle for Tade to tap in. Raith then went on to dominate the remainder of the half as Aberdeen looked at sixes and sevens.
Mackie replaced Megginson at the interval but Raith kept the Dons pinned back in the early stages and won a corner in the 49th minute. As the ball was swung in a free header was offered and fortunately for the Dons the opportunity was scorned. A second corner followed in the 6th minute and again a free header was offered and again it missed the target. Considine picked up a knock early in the half and was replaced by Vujadinovic. Almost immediately Aberdeen levelled and it was that man Vernon again.
Hartley played a free kick into the danger area and Vernon headed past the helpless keeper. This gave Aberdeen a lift and seconds later Maguire won a corner quickly followed by a free kick on the left. On the hour mark McGurn made a great stop from Vernon, but it wouldn't have counted as the referee blew for an infringement. At the other end Raith won a free kick on the right, but Langfield made a safe catch to foil the threat. In the 62nd minute Vernon released Maguire on the right, but the youngster went for goal when he had plenty of red shirts in the centre.
Two minutes later Maguire did better and his cross was turned wide for a corner as Vernon threatened. The subsequent corner was headed wide by Vujadinovic. In the 70th minute Wilson went on a great run on the right and had his final shot blocked for a corner. Raith had recovered from the setback and we had a real cup tie on our hands. Mackie was then released on the right, but he had no support in the middle and had to go for goal, but the keeper saved comfortably.
Aberdeen went so close in the 72nd minute after good play by Mackie and Maguire. The latter fired in a great cross and Derek Young was unlucky not to convert. Paul Hartley then pulled up and was replaced by Ryan Jack who was handed his Dons debut in unfortunate circumstances. With Considine and Hartley going off injured it must be a big worry for Sunday. Aberdeen went ahead for a second time when Young did well on the left, beat his man and fired in a cross that was finished by the predator Vernon.
Three minutes later Williams ran into McArdle on the edge of the box and from the free kick Raith won a corner. Worryingly the Kirkaldy men were presented with another free header, but fortunately the ball again went wide. Diamond then made a terrific challenge to concede another corner as Raith looked for a late equaliser. Aberdeen should have wrapped it up in the 87th minute when Vernon played a lovely ball to Mackie. The striker had done well since he came on, but unfortunately he pulled that effort wide.
Raith won a free kick wide right with a minute to go, but Langfield made a strong punch to clear the danger. A minute later the Kirkaldy men won a corner and the ball raced across the face of the goal before being cleared. Aberdeen had shown good character in the second half and they deserved the win after looking shaky at the interval.