Aberdeen 4 | Masson 19' , Murray 71' , McManus 74' , O'Sullivan 78' (Masson penalty saved on 34')
Hamilton Academical 2 | Ryan 2' (pen), Fraser 33'
SFA Youth Cup | Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead | Full Time | 1pm Kick off
Three goals in a blistering 10 minute spell in the second half were enough to see the Dons progress to the next round of the SFA Youth Cup after they finally broke the resistance of a spirited Hamilton side in a pulsating game in Peterhead this afternoon.
Neil Cooper's side went in at half time 2-1 down after Masson scored a free kick but missed a penalty. The Dons dominated after the break and created numerous good opportunities but failed to convert them due to some excellent goal keeping, poor finishing and some unlucky breaks. They did finally get themselves level on 71 minutes when Craig Murray fired in a shot that deflected off defender Watson and into the net. It will probably go down as an own goal but the Dons players were just delighted to have equalised and Murray took the congratulations from his team mates. 3 minutes later, Murray then set up Declan McManus who scored to give the Dons the lead for the first time in the tie and it was McManus who then set up Alan O'Sullivan to add a fourth on 78 minutes.
In the closing stages McManus received a needless booking, the second of the tournament which rules him out of the Quarter Finals. However with Cammy Smith, Ryan Fraser and Clark Robertson all able to still play in this competition the Dons on paper have a decent chance of progressing to the later stages this year.
Aberdeen got off to a disastrous start and found themselves behind after just 2 minutes when they gave away a penalty. Ryan nipped in ahead of Rose who was adjudged to have brought down the Hamilton man without getting anything on the ball. It looked a close call. Ryan took the kick himself and finished well.
After that shock it took the Dons a bit of time to find their rhythm.
Slowly they started to create some openings. O'Neill set up O'Sullivan but he was ruled just offside. Then Masson waltzed past two players before setting up McManus but his touch let him down and then the same two players combined again but McManus was just offside. On 15 minutes O'Sullivan did well to chase down a long ball, beat his man and cut inside. He had three players streaming forward in support but decided to go himself and his shot was deflected wide. On the 19 minute mark Duguid was trip on the edge of the box. Jamie Masson stepped up to take it and he brilliantly curled it low round the wall into the net.
The goal changed the game as the Dons started to dominate possession but Hamilton were rapid on the break and were still causing the Dons defence some concern. On 23 minutes Ryan went past Murray and his cross very nearly picked out Fraser.
After a lull in the game it suddenly burst into life just after the half hour mark.
The impressive Garry Fraser picked the ball up about 30 yards out. With little on to either side of him he hammered a low drive which beat Rogers and went in-off the post. It was quite a strike aided by the wet conditions.
The Dons though hit straight back and a simple long ball put O'Sullivan in. He was brought down in the box for a stonewall penalty. There might have been a red card but the keeper was only booked despite being the last man. Captain Masson took the responsibility and stepped confidentially forward but his spot kick was brilliantly saved by Shaw diving to his left. Although it was at a good height for the keeper it was still an excellent save.
Neil Cooper's men finished the half strongly and won a couple of corners. Rose on both occasions won the ball in the air but on both occasions his headers went just wide and O'Sullivan had a great chance when he was put in the clear. His shot went under the keeper but he got enough of a touch on it to hold the ball up and a defender was able to clear it off the line.
The Dons came out strongly in the second half and created chance after chance.
Stephen O'Neill put a free kick just over, McManus' shot stung the keepers hands, there was then a couple of goal mouth scrambles, one of which produced an great chance for Duguid but again Shaw in the Hamilton goal made a fine save. O'Neill did brilliantly down the left to beat two players and cut the ball back but McManus could not quite get a touch and then McManus had a chance himself but just failed to control it. Murray, making one of his usual lung bursting runs down the right, was put in by Masson but he shot just wide. You were beginning to think at this stage it might just not be the Dons day.
On the 63rd minute a big blow for the Lanarkshire side as their keeper Shaw had to go off with an injury. He had had some luck but also made some excellent saves.
On 67 minutes O'Sullivan had another chance but his turn and shot went just past. Then on 71 minutes the Dons finally got the equaliser. Craig Murray again broke down the right. He hit a shot across the box which deflected off Craig Watson and the ball looped over the sub keeper into the net. It was probably an own goal but the Dons players were not worried. They all went to congratulate young Murray, who was named on the bench for the first team for the first time yesterday.
The goal visibly deflated Hamilton and seconds later Docherty made a brilliant save to thwart McManus. However the striker did not have to wait long to get another chance. On 74 minutes Murray played the ball in from the right. Masson cleverly let the ball run to McManus who had made a good run to the back post and calmly finished it.
The Dons players' excellent fitness certainly showed in the closing stages. On 78 minutes McManus showed great pace down the left to set up O'Sullivan who finished well. The big Irishman deserved his goal. He has not had much luck since arrived in Aberdeen during the summer. He only recently received International clearance to play and he has also had to battle back from a broken wrist but he looks a strong striker with good pace and is certainly a name to watch.
A good win in the end that pleased Neil Cooper. To watch his post match interview please click here. Craig Brown and Archie Knox, who watched from the stand, will also have been pleased. With the injury list continuing to rise there is a chance a number of these boys could be involved in the first team squad this week.
Aberdeen: Rogers, Murray, Duguid, Gibbons, Rose, Rumsby, Masson, Storie, McManus, O'Sullivan, O'Neill Subs: Macaulay, Hamilton, Close, Campanile, Szemis
Hamilton: Shaw, McCue, McMann, Watson, El-Zubaidi, Lyon, Johnstone, Smith, Ryan, Fraser, Martin Subs: Docherty, Brophy, Selfridge, Finlay, Truesdale