Aberdeen were two-nil victors in Norway this evening with goals from Cammy Smith and Jordon Brown. 7 of the starting XI were products of the Youth System at Pittodrie and at full time there were 9 on the pitch- a testimony to the fantastic youth set up at the club.
Jason Brown returned in goal for the Dons who lined up with Magennis at right back, Shaughnessy, Reynolds in central defence and at left back was Clark Robertson- making his first appearance in a red shirt this season. In the middle of the park were Megginson and Masson, (also making his first start), skipper for the night Chris Clark, and Nicky Low. Michael Paton partnered Fallon upfront. Viking had been on a very good run in the Norwegian League and started with a full strength team. This comes after last season when they were fighting at the bottom for much of the campaign.
With 2 minutes on the clock, Low found himself with space outside the box and unleashed a good shot straight at Rune Almenning Jarstein- who is the current Norwegian number one. On 8 minutess Trond Olsen was given an opening. He hit a good, low shot but Brown did well to get down and save at the expense of the games first corner Shortly after that left back Haughen cut inside but his shot was high and wide. After 13 mins Danielson broke into the box. Just as he was away to shoot Shaughnessy did very well to cover across and block the shot. The ball deflected behind and from the corner Bjordal had a free header but he headed the ball down into the ground and it bounced harmlessly wide.
After a very slow start the pace of the game was beginning to pick up.
With 19 minutes gone, the lively midfielder Thioune had a snap shot from the edge of the box. His shot was on target but Brown was well positioned to palm the ball to safety. Brown had a good game overall.
The home side were on top at this stage and the Dons were struggling to get much going. The Viking Stadion holds about 16,000- but it was fair to say that it was not particularly full for this one. It is however a very impressive stadium that was built for only 20 million. It would have a cracking atmosphere when the crowd is reaching capacity.
Just before the half hour mark, Nicky Low made a good run down the left. When crossing he cleverly cut the ball back to Megginson- but the strikers touch let him down. Then there was another opening for the home side when Danielsen set up Ornskov but again the shot did not trouble Brown. With nine minutes until half time, there was a superb last ditch tackle by Magennis. He did really well to track his man and intercept a through ball that would have seen Anier go clear. 3 minutes later a good cross by Magennis picked out Fallon in the box but unfortunately for the New Zealander a defender just got in ahead of him. Then Fallon was put through by Low. His shot from a tight angle was always going wide. It was a very difficult chance as he had very little of the goal to aim at.
The Dons finished the half on top after finally enjoying some good possession.
Craig Brown then made 5 changes to his side at half time with an SPL game looming in just a few days.
Jack, Smith, O'Neill, Brown, McManus all came on- replacing Masson, Robertson, Reynolds, Megginson and fallon who seemed to pikc up an injury just before the break. The Dons therefore lined up in the second half with Brown in goal and Clark at right back. Magennis and Shaughnessy were in central defence with Nicky Low at left back. In midfield were Smith, Brown, O'Neill, Jack and McManus with Paton up front. Smith and McManus were both getting forward to support Paton. The hosts made 4 changes at half time and on 53 minutes Bertelsen, one of the changes, beat Chris Clark who was now playing right back, and crossed. It deceived everyone including Brown but thankfully the ball clipped the top of the bar and went over.
There were then a couple of chances for the Dons. On 55 minutes, McManus had a sighting of goal but just put his effort wide. Declan has just returned from Norway after starring for the Scotland U19s. He scored in both their games. Minutes later Jordon Brown had a strike but it was straight at the keeper.
With 73 minutes gone, there was a great ball into the box by Magennis. The defender just got the slightest of touches to steer the ball away from McManus. The striker would have had a tap in to give the Dons the lead. From the resultant corner Jordon Brown headed the ball just wide. Aberdeen were at this stage well on top. The moment and passing from the young boys in the middle of the park was a joy to watch.
Then on 77 minutes there was another great opening for Aberdeen. The ball fell to Brown in the box, as it so often does, but he skied it. It was the best chance of the game so far. The hosts then had a good chance themselves when Edmundsson beat Jason Brown to the ball from a corner but his header crashed off the bar. Soon after though the Dons took the lead on 81 minutes. Cammy Smith picked the ball up about 25 yards out, looked up and launched a rocket into the roof of the net. A fantastic finish from the youngster who only turned 17 last week.
The Dons looked to put the game beyond any doubt and McManus and O'Neill both had shots on target before Jordon Brown added a second on 85 minutes. Paton hit a great curling shot which beat the substitute keeper and Brown was following up and was able to place the ball into the empty net. The game finished 2-0 to Aberdeen and this was a very encouraging performance from a young Dons side against a good European side. All the U20 players on show did exceptionally well especially Stephen O'Neill who deserves a special mention as he was outstanding in the middle of the park.