Arbroath 1-5 Aberdeen
Fallon 32, Magennis 49, Megginson 55, Paton 60, Vernon (pen) 90; Sibanda 90
Thankfully we are finally able to write about football again.....
The Dons first pre-season game of the summer saw them travel down the coast to play Paul Sheerin's Arbroath. The Dons put in a very encouraging performance and ran out 5-1 winners. Niall McGinn and Jonny Hayes were introduced with 55 minutes gone. Both impressed but McGinn took a knock and had to leave the field on 71 minutes. Hopefully the injury is not too serious.
The Dons lined up with Jamie Langfield in goal. Jason Brown travelled down with the U20s to Cowdenbeath because Danny Rodgers was injured. Josh Magennis started at right back with skipper Russell Anderson in central defence alongside Andrew Considine and Rob Milsom was at left back. In midfield Peter Pawlett was on the right with Gavin Rae and Stephen Hughes in the middle and Ryan Jack was on the left. Up front Rory Fallon was partnered by Mitch Megginson. It was a 4-4-2 formation but quite a loose one - players were popping up in a number of different positions.
In fine conditions the game kicked off in front of a healthy crowd and a good number of the fans wearing the new kit. As early as the first minute the visitors had a chance when Ryan Jack played the ball inside for Megginson who had a sighting at goal but from outside the box he blasted well over. The match was then stopped for a few minutes when Arbroath defender Malcolm was injured after falling awkwardly. Thankfully after treatment he was able to continue.
The game did not exactly start at a high tempo!
After about 15 minutes the Dons started to get going a bit. Jack and Fallon linked on edge of box but they were trying to be too clever and were crowded out. Then two minutes later a fine run by Megginson into the centre of the box almost created a chance. Mitch tried to flick it back but could not pick out a black and gold jersey. Then on 18 minutes a nicely weighted pass by Hughes also put in Pawlett but the last defender did well to match and block his run. A minute late Milson created space for himself but blasted well over. Great to see Rob back in action this afternoon. Whilst he was at left back, Magennis was making some good strong runs down the right and on a number of occasions got himself into good positions. On 20 minutes Hughes and Jack linked up and a neat flick by Pawlett almost created an opening but again Travis at the back did well to block.
After that burst of chances there was a lull in play
On the half hour mark Magennis again created an opening down the right. He played in Pawlett who used his pace to get to the byline and get a cross in but Megginson could not get on the end of it. Travis again was on hand to block.
Megginson then failed to pick out Pawlett but the striker went looking for the ball and when he got it back he put in a very clever pass to pick out Fallon who was in acres of space. The New Zealander was about 22 yards out and as the keeper came out, he stroked it past him. A very neat finish to give the Dons the lead.
On 40 minutes Aberdeen enjoyed some more possession. The ball fell to Russell Anderson on the edge of the box and the captain decided to go for goal but put it well wide. Even Russ had a laugh at his slightly ambitious effort. Russell strolled through the first 45 minutes and looked in complete control of everything and everyone round about him.
Just before half time Megginson again put in good cross from the left and Fallon got a header on it but without much power. Hughes then set up Jack whose thunderous volley rattled off the bar and at the other end Langers did well to come out and clear a dangerous situation. From the resulting corner, the first of the game, Doris had a good chance but headed over.
Craig Brown made a number of changes at half time with Chris Clark, Scott Vernon, Issac Osbourne and Michael Paton coming on for Fallon, Anderson, Rae and Milsom. So in the second half the Dons lined up with Jamie Langfield in goal, Chris Clark at right back, Josh Magennis in the centre of defence with Issac Osbourne. Andrew Considine moved to left back. The midfield four were Pawlett, Hughes, Jack and Megginson. Up front Paton played alongside Vernon.
Straight away there was an opening for Paton and he was one on one with the keeper but Hill did well to narrow the angle so quickly. The Dons were looking a lot more lively in the second half and Pawlett in particular was impressing. On 49 minutes he won the Dons a corner. He took it himself and his excellent ball was met by Magennis who headed home. Shortly after that the Magennis almost grabbed a second when a free kick was laid off to him. He shot was just deflected over with the keeper beaten.
The Dons were now well in control and on 55 minutes Osbourne played a ball through for Megginson to run onto. He rounded keeper who was well outside his box, calmly beat a defender before stabbing the ball home. Mitch deserved a goal for his performance.
That was his last action of the game as Craig Brown introduced his two new summer signings. Megginson and Hughes were replaced Niall McGinn and Jonny Hayes. It was the loudest cheer of the afternoon when the two new boys entered the field.
Both made an immediate impact. Even with his first few touches, McGinn's touch and pace make him look a superb signing. Just before the hour mark Niall played a clever ball to Pawlett. He crossed for Paton who swept the ball home with an excellent finish. Goal of the day.
McGinn's pace was too much for the Arbroath defenders to deal with. He created a chance for himself but his touch let himself down and he was unable to get a clean shot away. The Dons other summer signing was looking equally impressive. Hayes had a shot from distance which took a nasty bounce and the keeper let the ball slip through him onto the post. However Hill recovered the situation by blocking Vernon's follow up effort.
The Dons had a stonewall penalty turned down before Pawlett flicked the ball on for McGinn who scuffed his shot. Then Osbourne and McGinn linked up to put Pawlett in the clear but the keeper made an excellent save.
McGinn's movement was creating so many chances. However there was concern on 71 minutes when he started limping. David Wylie gave him treatment but it was decided best to take him off and the Dons went down to 10 men.
With 10 men the game petered out in the final 20 minutes.
Paul Sheerin was given a very good reception from the Red Army when he came off. He showed a couple of times his left foot has still got some magic in it.
In the final minutes Rennie was put clear. Jamie Langfield did very well to push him wide so he could not get a shot away. The ball came back and Considine fouled Lee Sibanda. Sibanda took the kick himself and although Langers went the right way the ball went in the corner of the net. Then Paton hit the bar with a shot. From the rebound, Vernon was fouled and the ref gave another penalty! Scott took the kick himself and very coolly placed the ball low into the corner. Again the keeper guessed correctly but you do not stop kicks as good as that.
Aberdeen: 1 Langfield, 12 Magennis, 4 Anderson (7 Clark 45), 6 Considine, 8 Milsom (16 Osbourne 45),15 Pawlett, 5 Rae (18 Paton 45), 3 Hughes (11 Hayes 55), 2 Jack, 14 Fallon (9 Vernon 45), 17 Megginson (10 McGinn 55).
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Craig Brown Post Match reaction please click here
Peter Pawlett Post Match reaction please click here