Another very frustrating afternoon for the Dons as their woes continued. A late mistake cost them at Fir Park.
In an entertaining game that raged from end to end, neither side looked to be able to make the breakthrough. Then with six minutes remaining Foster slipped and was dispossessed by substitute McHugh who strode forward and hit a terrific left foot shot beyond Gonzalez at his near post.
Although the home side had a couple of good chances when Humphrey in the first half outpaced the Dons defence and hit the bar and at the start of the second when Clancy headed off the post, the Dons defended well and looked solid.
Aberdeen enjoyed long periods of possession but when they got into good areas of the park the final ball always seemed to go astray. Randolph only had two saves to make of note, both shots from Vernon from the edge of the box. If the Dons fortunes are to change they are going to have to work out how they can create more chances for the strikers.
The Dons still await their first away goal of the season and they slip to second bottom, a point ahead of Inverness.
The Dons lined up with Gonzalez in goal, Ryan Jack at right back, Mawene and Arnason in central defence with Considine at left back. In the middle of the park Clark went wide right, with Osbourne and Milsom in the middle and Foster on the left. Upfront Vernon partnered Fallon.
As early as the first minute Motherwell had a chance but the ball was curled just past the post. Gonzalez seemed to have his angles sorted. The opening exchanges were quite strappy with both teams being guilty of giving away the ball.
On 6 minutes, a good run by Foster, he picked out Clark but his looping cross could find neither Vernon or Fallon. Ryan Jack then strolled forward. He reached the edge of the box and cut inside but his left footed shot was weak. Then on 14 minutes Arnason did well to cut out a Humphery cross. The ball was rolled out to Considine who got himself in trouble and gave away a free kick in a dangerous position. The Dons defended the set piece well though. Milsom then shot from distance but it was an easy save for Randolph.
15 gone, great play down the left from the Dons produced the first real opening. Foster linked up well with Considine who showed good strength to hold off his man before cutting inside. He found Fallon who shifted it to Vernon who cracked a first time low shot but Randolph at full strength produced a very decent save. After the corner Well broke forward and Law got a shot on target which Gonzalez handled comfortably.
On 20 minutes Richard Foster took a sore one and required treatment. Thankfully the Dons captain was able to continue. On 22 minutes a long ball by Gonzalez found Vernon. His flick on this time set up Fallon but his shot was blocked. The two big strikers actually appeared to be linking up quite well though. They needed more support from the midfield runners.
Then on 25 minutes the home side should have taken lead. A speculative through ball down the middle found Humphrey. He outpaced Mawene and Considine. Considine appeared to have done enough to hold him up but the striker got the break of the ball and rounded Gonzalez. The big keeper did well to get out so quickly and force the striker wide. He still had a sight at goal but his shot clipped the bar. A real let off for the Dons. With Foster in midfield the lack of pace at the back was exposed. Although it was the only time it happened in the afternoon as the Dons defence was solid. The midfielders worked hard to help out those behind them. The game was certainly lacking quality and Humphrey was one of the few players on the park who looked capable of providing that spark.
On 34 minutes Fallon and Vernon linked up again to put Foster through but Richard lost his bearings in the box. Then on 39 minutes a neat touch by Vernon gave the Dons an opening. Fallon played it wide to Clark but his looping cross was easily defended.
The Dons were putting together some neat play in the middle of the park, and there were some nice touches by Vernon and Fallon but the final ball in the final third of the pitch was not happening. Very frustrating to watch.
Just on the stroke of half time Milson powered forward and was taken down by Craigan. We had not seen Rob do enough of that in the first half. Too many times Aberdeen players were going backwards instead of trying to run with the ball forward. This led to a free kick in very good position. Foster touched it to Arnason but his shot was blocked by the wall. It summed up the half.
Just after half time Motherwell had another great opportunity to break to deadlock. A free kick was played in from a central position. Despite this Clancy somehow managed to get away from his marker and although his header beat Gonzalez it hit the bar and post before the Dons defence did just enough to block the rebound and then Gonzalez was fouled. Another major let off.
Aberdeen came back into it though. They won a couple of corners and although Aberdeen players won headers the ball never seemed to break to a white jersey.
On 57 minutes a great tackle by Ryan Jack who had another very impressive game. Was probably the Dons best player. He ran forward and chipped a lovely pass to Vernon to run onto. The striker took a good touch but just as he was about to shoot Craigan made an excellent tackle.
Just before the hour mark Craig Brown made his first tactical change of the afternoon. Chris Clark came off and he was replaced by Peter Pawlett.
Pawett's pace opened up some space but then there were more examples of Aberdeen getting in good positions but the final ball let them down again. The Dons had a great break and a three on three. Pawlett though over ran the ball with real options either side of him. At the other end Murphy draw Gonzalez well off his line but thankfully he was able to get back on his line and deal with the header.
On 60 minutes a good move saw Pawlett eventually being picked out on the right. His cross though sailed out of play.
Although the Dons were not creating anything in front of goal, Aberdeen continued to defended well throughout and the home support were getting very frustrated. Both keepers then went walk about. Pawlett was booked for tackle on Randolph. The winger did catch him but the keeper was well outside his box Peter was entitled to go for the ball. Then on 68 minutes Gonzalez came for a cross. He failed to hold on and as he went to retrieve the ball there were appeals for a penalty but the ref waved play on.
As the game became end to end Pawlett broke and linked with Verron to win a corner. He might have done better with his cross as he was in a good position. Milsom was then guilty of playing the wrong ball.
On 75 minutes Plawett, again down the right picked out Foster who had made a good run inside. He passed to Vernon on the edge of the box. The striker sent in a decent shot but it was far too near the keeper. Mitch Megginson then came on. Fallon went off. The home crowd were not happy when Murphy was taken off. They were really getting on the backs of Stuart McCall and their own players.
Then another opening for Aberdeen. Pawlett and Jack linked up well. Jack was inside the box but he hesitated and allowed the Hammell to get in a tackle. Again a good opportunity to pick out an Aberdeen player in the box was wasted.
Milsom then played in a free kick - no takers. Similar story when Arnason put in a long throw. Aberdeen were though looking the more likely team to win it. Last throw of the dice. Vernon off Magennis on.
With the game entering the final few minutes Aberdeen were made to pay for not creating more chances when Motherwell took the lead. Aberdeen in fact had won another corner which Milsom played in. The ball found its way back to Milsom who crossed. The Dons though lost the ball and as it was cleared forward Bob McHugh beat Foster after he slipped. The Motherwell sub cut inside Ryan Jack and fired a great shot past Gonzalez at his near post
Aberdeen almost immediately had a great chance for an equaliser. Foster left his man for dead and got to the by-line. He pulled his cross back behind everyone. Palwett ran onto it but his shot was blocked. So frustrating.
The Dons huffed and puffed in the final eight minutes but never created anything of note.
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