Clydesdale Bank Youth League
Dundee U20s 1-4 Aberdeen U20s
Low (13 mins), Smith (33 mins), own goal (44 mins), McManus (69 mins); Boyle (54 mins)
Date: Tuesday 11th September 2012
Venue: Dens Park
Aberdeen dominated the game and were deserving winners with an excellent attacking performance. The Dons were unlucky not to get more - Dundee's keeper kept the home side in the game. The young Dons took the lead after 13 minutes when Stephen O'Neill found space on the right and picked out Nicky Low in the box. Low's first shot was blocked but he coolly slotted in the rebound. The Dons doubled their advantage through Cammy Smith after 33 minutes. Dundee failed to clear from a corner and Smith had a free header in the 6 yard box. The Dons went 3 nil up just before the break. Clark Robertson -playing only his 2nd game of the season - crossed and the ball which appeared to be flicked in by, Dundee centre half Easton, although Jordon Brown was very close to getting a touch and claimed the goal for himself. Dundee pulled a goal back after 54 minutes - a rare occasion Aberdeen failed to clear the lines - Boyle was on hand to score. The Dons deservedly got the fourth when last season's top scorer Declan McManus grabbed a typical poachers goal. The watching Aberdeen management team will be very happy with the young Dons performance and will be please to see Clark Robertson completing 90 minutes. The only low point came early in the first half when Jamie Masson picked up an injury and couldn't continue, overall another fine performance from Neil Cooper's men.
The Dons lined up with Murray at right back and with Rumsby and Shaughnessy in central defence and Clark Robertson at left back. Along with Robertson, Jamie Masson was making his first appearance for the 20s this season. He played wide left with Brown and Gibbons in the middle with Stephen O'Neill wide right. Nicky Low played just in behind Cammy Smith who was the lone striker.
In the opening minute Dundee trialist Sean O'Hanlon was lucky not to be booked for a tackle on Cammy Smith. The Dons won a free kick in a dangerous position and although Nicky Low curled it round the wall, the ball went straight into the keepers arms. On 13 minutes the Dundee keeper Baird was again called into action. Nicky Low played a superb through ball into the path of Jordon Brown who had made an excellent forward run. The goalkeeper though got out quickly and made a very good block.
After 13 minutes the Dons were starting to dominate possession. Stephen O'Neill found space on the right. His cross was slightly over hit. The ball found its way to the other wing and was picked up by Jamie Masson. His cross was also over hit. There was a strong wind sweeping across Dens Park which made passing slightly difficult but then a minute later O'Neill perfectly found his range. Jordon Brown put him into space down the right with an excellent pass. Stephen, who had another brilliant game, crossed low into the box and picked out Nicky Low. Although the defender got an initial block in Nicky calmly won the rebound and placed the ball under the keeper.
On 20 minutes the home side had their first serious attack of the game and nearly scored. From a corner Rogers was caught out by the wind and O'Hanlon got a header in which clipped the bar. Apart from that effort the Aberdeen defence did not even give Dundee a sniff of a chance. Shaughnessy and Rumsby were in excellent form.
On 21 minutes there was real disappointment when Jamie Masson limped off. Hopefully though the substitution was more precautionary than anything else. The midfielder was replaced by Declan McManus who went over to the wide left position. His pace down the left instantly caused problems for the Dundee defence. Just after the half hour mark Declan again picked the ball up wide on the left. He cut inside before curling a shot which again Baird did very well to save. From the resulting corner by O'Neill, the Dundee defence did not deal with it and Jordon Brown played the ball back across the face of goal and Cammy Smith was on hand to header home from six yards.
A minute later Dundee failed to learn their lesson and from another corner Brown had a good chance at the back post. No one matched his run and his header just went over.
The Dons were now well on top and looked like adding to their lead. Smith had another chance but his glancing header went just past. There has been much debate nationally about playing one striker up front. Neil Cooper has shown tactically how it can be done. Smith was superb all afternoon in holding the ball up and finding space. Nicky Low, Jordon Brown, Stephen O'Neill and Declan were all getting forward to support him. Cammy was also up against two strong experienced defenders but neither could cope with his movement. O'Hanlon was again luck not to be booked for another strong foul on Smith.
On 44 minutes Aberdeen added a third. Another great cross from O'Neill was just missed by McManus. The ball was picked up at the back post by Clark Robertson. His low driven cross was meant for Brown but defender Easton appeared to turn the ball into his own net. Although Brown was close to getting a touch it did look an own goal. On the stroke of half time Gibbons hit a fine effort just wide.
Although the game was over as a contest Aberdeen came out in the second half with the same attitude and continued to play some great football. On the big pitch the Dons were enjoying the space and time they were getting on the ball.
On 48 minutes Smith set up Brown but his shot was blocked. On 52 minutes Smith very nearly got in after chasing down a O' Hanlon back pass. The keepers just did enough to thwart him. On 54 minutes Dundee scored in a rare attack. Credit though to the young Dundee side as they tried to play football throughout and got their rewards when Boyle was picked out in the box, Rogers though was very unlucky not to save from point blank range.
On the hour mark Low disposed O'Hanlon but once again the keeper did well to recover the situation. Despite losing the goal it was still all Aberdeen at this stage. Low curled one just past the post. Then Smith cleverly shot first time from distance and the shot very nearly caught out the keeper. After 69 minutes Aberdeen added a deserved fourth. It had a bit of fortunate about it as a shot from Brown was going wide but the ball fell very nicely for McManus who was onside and in acres of space. The striker finished well. It was a typical poachers goal from the League's top scorer last season. It is worth noting that Brown had a hand in all four Aberdeen goals.
Minutes later it was very nearly five as a Craig Murray shot rattled the cross bar from 25 yards. In the closing minutes Nicky Low hit a superb free kick save which again forced an excellent save from the keeper and O' Hanlon's header shaved the post.
Aberdeen: Rogers, Murray, Robertson, Gibbons, Shaughnessy, Rumsby, O'Neill, Brown, Smith (Duguid 80 mins), Masson (McManus 21) Low. Subs Macaulay, Rose, McMahon
Dundee: Baird, Thomson, Wallace, Webster, Trialist, Easton, Reid, Bews, Boyle, Cavanagh, McLeod. Subs Brodie, Kerr, Lannen, McCabe, Cameron
Neil Cooper Interview please click here
Clark Robertson Interview please click here
match highlights to follow