Aberdeen moved into the quarter-finals of the Betfed Cup after an impressive opening 30 minute spell was enough to see them into the next round. Man of the match Wes Burns had a cross turned into the net by defender Meggatt in only the third minute and when Niall McGinn added a second with a fine volley on the half hour mark, the Dons looked in control. Burns then went close on a number of occasions, as did Rooney who hit the post before the home side pulled a goal back just before the break when Alan Forrest forced the ball home after the ball had hit the bar. The second half became a good old fashioned cup tie with Burns hitting the woodwork twice. There were a few nervous moments at the other end late on, but Aberdeen defended well to see the game out.
The Dons will now play St Johnstone at Pittodrie in the Quarter Finals.
After an early exit at the hands of Hibernian last season Derek McInnes spoke of his ambitions to do better this time around before the match and the side he selected was definitely a reflection of that.
Lewis retained his place between the sticks and the back four of Logan, O'Connor, Reynolds and Considine kept their places after a clean sheet in Perth. Ryan Jack was looking to continue his impressive form in midfield alongside McLean - keeping a familiar look to the side. In front of them McGinn took up his usual wide position with Shinnie on the other side, the two players would switch sides as the match progressed. Burns was given the responsibility of playing just behind Adam Rooney.
The Dons got off to the perfect start.
After some excellent play from Wes Burns in a wide area, the Welshman got the by-line and his cross was turned in by Ayr defender Daryl Meggatt who was under pressure from Adam Rooney. Aberdeen had a vital opener after only three minutes.
The home side countered with a ball over the top but Lewis showed good movement to backtrack and prevent the lob sailing into the net. The keeper palmed the effort down and recovered the ball at the second attempt.
In the early stages The Dons were using the excellent Somerset Park pitch to their benefit playing some nice passing and getting the ball into wide areas to McGinn and Shinnie who was playing in a more advanced role.
It was Shinnie who won a free-kick just inside the Ayr half just before the ten-minute mark after a quick turn. Shinnie took the free-kick and Rooney was unfortunate to see a glancing header go just the wrong side of the post.
It took until just after 20 minutes for the next real bit of excitement as McGinn picked the ball up near the halfway line and charged towards goal, the winger committed two men and was unfortunate to only win a corner.
In the 27th minute Jamie Adams earned a yellow card for a rash challenge on McLean. The Dons were holding good possession at the time and there looked to be an element of frustration in the challenge from the Ayr midfielder.
Just moments later The Dons doubled their lead. Adam Rooney and Ryan Jack won possession back deep in the Ayr half before McLean threaded the ball through for Logan. His cross missed one red shirt in the middle but it sat up perfectly for McGinn at the back post and he showed great composure to find the back of the net with a volley from 12 yards. It was a great team goal.
Aberdeen were on song now as Shinnie and Jack really imposed themselves on the game and it wasn't long before The Dons almost made it 3-0. Shinnie plucked a lovely ball through to Rooney and his clever first time header looked destined for the bottom corner only for it come back off the foot of the post.
Moments later man of the match Wes Burns flashed a half volley past the opposite post but if Aberdeen could keep this level of play going it wouldn't be long before they found the net again.
Ryan Jack picked up a yellow card for a late challenge deep in the Ayr half.
Wes Burns was proving to be a threat and he showed great ability to bring a long ball down on the edge of the area, if his first touch was good his second was even better as he swivelled past the Ayr defence and into a position for a shot. Fortunately for the home side the keeper produced a good save to deny him as he looked to curl the ball into the top corner.
Then out of nothing the home side pulled a goal back in the 40th minute as Crawford fashioned space on the edge of the area for a shot which Lewis got down well to save but he could only palm the ball into the six yard box. The rebound was cracked off the crossbar but fell kindly for Forrest to bundle the ball past O'Connor and Lewis and into the net. A poor goal to lose.
The goal was a reminder to The Dons that Ayr were still in the game and immediately after it the home support came to life as they attempted to spur their team on. The home side now had a spring in their step and were getting the ball up the pitch a bit quicker and finding possession in areas where they had a chance to hurt Aberdeen but Cairney's shot from distance lacked the power to trouble Lewis.
Before the half was out there was another good chance for The Dons as McGinn flicked the ball across the six yard box for Burns but the winger got his shot all wrong and sliced it well wide of the target to leave Aberdeen in front by a single goal at the break after they had looked in complete control.
Half Time | Ayr United 1-2 Aberdeen
Within a couple of minutes of the second half starting The Dons had an opportunity as a headed clearance looped up in the air for Logan at the edge of the area, he made a good connection but his shot deflected wide of the post for a corner which was subsequently cleared.
In the 50th minute Shinnie recovered the ball inside The Dons half before finding Burns who seemed to take the whole Ayr midfield out with one touch before he made his way into the opposition half. With options to his left and right Burns unleashed a powerful strike at goal from 25 yards which cannoned back off the crossbar.
The next Aberdeen attack was a bit more subtle as patient build-up play ended up with the ball with Shinnie, he showed composure and good vision to pick out McLean in the box with a reverse pass. McLean swivelled and struck the ball across the six yard box but Rooney was second best as Murphy got there to block. The chances were coming but you felt that The Dons would have to take one soon.
As the hour mark approached Stockley replaced Rooney.
McGinn was also causing problems with his probing runs and after some patient build-up play he did well to pick out Burns at the back post. Burns let the ball drop before hitting a volley on target but the keeper was equal to it.
Up the other end O'Connor had to be alert to prevent Cairney getting a shot away at goal with a well timed shot.
As The Dons broke down the right the ball was quickly moved inside for Burns who was surrounded by white shirts. Somehow Wes managed to get himself free with some superb footwork and found himself in the box, he once again opted for power and was most unfortunate to see the ball crash back off the woodwork for the second time in the match. His performance deserved a goal.
The home side claimed for a penalty as a white shirt went down in the box amidst a crowd of bodies, the incident had Ian McCall on the pitch to let the officials know what he thought of the decision. Nicky Devlin clearly wasn't too pleased either but he took his frustrations out with a late lunge on Shinnie which earned him a yellow card.
With 20 minutes remaining a cross from Logan almost caught the keeper out but Devlin as there to deny Considine and McGinn before launching an attack of his own. Thankfully for The Dons Shinnie was there to mop up his cross ball and lay the ball back to Lewis with some excellent defending.
The belief in the Ayr players was growing. They were working very hard to stay in the tie.
As weather conditions took a turn for the worse The Dons opted a more direct style of play with Ayr looking to squeeze the play higher up the pitch.
In the 75th minute Aberdeen won corner number eight. McGinn's ball in was picked up by Shinnie but his looping cross drifted out of play.
On 78 minutes in the home side won their first corner of the game which lifted their supporters behind the goal. The delivery from Gilmour found Adams all alone on the six yard line but fortunately his momentum carried the ball over the bar. A real let off for the Dons.
Although Aberdeen were not hanging on with ten minutes to go, the tie was far from over. The wind and rain was not making it easy to play in the final stages but the Dons tempo needed to upped.
On 83 minutes Aberdeen won another corner which at least allowed them to release the pressure for a bit. A minute later a long throw gave McLean a chance, his shot was blocked then Stockley had a go before the ball broke off Considine and just went wide.
In the closing stages Shinnie and Jack were still covering every blade of grass but the Ayr players were also showing good fitness levels. As the home pushed players forward there should in theory have been room for the Dons players to break but Aberdeen were now happy to protect their lead.
With five minutes to go a mistake from Considine, the left back got caught in possession after a ball was played out from Lewis. Alan Forrest was on him very quickly and played the ball into Nicky Devlin. The captain, who impressed throughout, had an opening but his shot horribly wrong. Another let off for the Dons.
The final three minutes of stoppage time were a lot more nervous than they really should have been. Former Ayr loanee Scott McKenna come to replace Kenny McLean and he helped the defensive unit see the game out.
Aberdeen had survived a bit of a scare but job done. Credit to a young Ayr side who battled well throughout.
Full Time | Ayr United 1-2 Aberdeen