The Aberdeen U20s produced their best performance of the season in their final game before the winter break as they ran out comfortable winners against Hearts at Balgownie. Cammy Smith scored two goals in the first half. After the break the striker completed his hat-trick and Declan McManus also scored three, bringing his tally for the season to 12.
The Dons lined up with Rogers in goals, Murray was at right back, Rose and Rumsby were at central defence with Jamie Masson at left back. The midfield three were Brown, Gibbons and O'Neill. The three forwards were McManus, Smith and Megginson. The Dons opening the scoring on 10 minutes. Stephen O'Neill hit a shot and Cammy Smith was on hand to put the ball past Scotland U21 keeper Ridgers. The keeper five minutes later made a good save when McManus was through on goal. Despite taking the lead the opening encounters were very even and only a superb tackle from Rose prevented Hearts from getting an equaliser. After that though the young Dons began to take control.
On 24 minutes Megginson put an effort just wide and a minute later Smith had an opening but put the ball well over. Then on the half hour mark Jordon Brown did well to intercept and put McManus in but again Ridgers made a good save. Captain of the day Megginson had the ball in the net on 40 minutes but the goal was ruled out for offside. Mitch deserved a goal as he had an excellent game. His loan spell at Alloa has obviously benefited him as he looked very sharp. The Dons did get a deserved second on 42 minutes and it was a superb bit of play by Smith. He tackled the defender on the edge of the box before calmly placing the ball into the net.
Shortly after the restart Neil Cooper's side made the game safe and again it was a solo effort from one of the Dons strikers. After a mix up at the back Declan McManus pounced and before the Hearts defenders could recover he had rounded Ridgers and poked the ball home. Declan deserves credit for putting pressure on the defence and he showed great pace when the opportunity arose. On 71 minutes Smith completed his hat-trick. Gibbons played a good ball in from the left. The keeper punched it clear but the ball landed at the feet of Smith and he coolly chipped it over everyone into the top of net.
Hearts to their credit did not give up and kept going to the end. They pulled a consolation goal back on 76 minutes when Walker placed an excellent free-kick into the corner of the net. Two minutes later though the Dons were back on the score sheet. Brown played in an excellent cross from the left and McManus scored his second. On 78 minutes McManus was taken down in the box and the referee awarded a penalty. The Hearts defenders could not cope with his movement all afternoon. Sportingly captain Megginson handed the ball to McManus to give him the opportunity for his hat-trick and the league's top scorer duly obliged. It was a great gesture from Mitch. Aberdeen could and probably should have scored more. Jordon Brown was unlucky with a couple of efforts.
Overall a superb team performance.
Team: Rogers, Murray (Close 76), Masson, Gibbons (O'Sullivan 76), Rose, Rumsby, Brown, Smith, Megginson, McManus, O'Neill (Storie 59) Subs Macaulay, Hamilton, Campanile, Szemis.