McLean goal the difference as Dons progress to Quarter Finals of Betfred Cup
Aberdeen made it back to back wins over Hamilton Academical and in the process made it through to the Quarter Finals of the Betfred Cup. Kenny Mclean's strike before half time was the only goal in a largely uneventful cup tie at the SuperSeal stadium.
The Dons made one change from Sunday's league opener against Accies, with Kari Arnason making way for Mark Reynolds in the heart of the defence.
It was the hosts that started off the brighter side and forced two corners in the first 10 minutes, but The Dons cleared their lines on both occasions. The first real chance fell to Steven Boyd after he was played in by Crawford. It was a good break from Accies. Joe Lewis was brave and blocked well, but took a sore one from the Hamilton striker and required some treatment before carrying on. Thankfully Joe was ok.
What followed was a scrappy 10 minutes as both sides struggled to keep possession. There were also a lot of free-kicks throughout the first half. Joe Lewis was once again called upon in the 26th minute as a Crawford free-kick was struck low and hard towards goal, but Lewis stood firm and held with ease.
The first real chance for the Dons came a few minutes later. After a slack kick out from Gary Woods in the Hamilton goal, Nicky Maynard found Ryan Christie inside the box, but Woods made up for his mistake to save brilliantly from Christie at point blank range to force a corner.
From the resulting corner Accies broke away again and passed up a golden opportunity to take the lead. A deflected pass into the box found Boyd and his shot was goal bound, but incredibly was blocked by his teammate Crawford, who was then flagged offside.
That major let off galvanised the Dons and they started to create opportunities. First Shinnie put a shot wide of Wood's post then the captain chipped to the back post for Considine, who just nodded wide.
The Dons didn't have to wait too much long for the goal however and they took the lead in the 42nd minute. And it came from a piece of brilliance from Scott Wright.
Unlike Sunday Scott was not involved as much but he produced a superb piece of skill. He turned his marker brilliantly down the left and set up Shinnie at the edge of the box. His shot was blocked, but the ball fell kindly for KENNY MCLEAN was there to thump home from just inside the box.
Just before the break Hamilton had a chance to respond. Greg Docherty found space from 20 yards out and unleashed a shot that was goal bound, but Lewis saved well and tipped wide.
HALF TIME 1-0 ABERDEEN
The second half started at a fast pace and Xavier Tomas headed over from a Crawford corner. Back came the Dons however and Nicky Maynard got away from a defender before firing just over from the edge of the box.
The Dons were playing some nice football and the passing between McLean, Christie and Wright nearly created an opportunity, but nothing came of it. Wright was substituted in the 66th minute for Gary Mackay - Steven and Greg Stewart replaced Christie shortly after.
Although Hamilton were chasing the game the Dons defence were always doing enough to make sure the score line didn't change. Lewis commanded his box brilliantly and caught any cross that made its way into the box.
Miles Storey came on in the place of Nicky Maynard, who had run himself into the ground. Shinnie found space once again at the edge of the box and his shot was heading for the top corner, but well caught by Woods.
Andy Considine saw a half volley hooked wide at the back post after a Greg Tansey corner as the Dons tried to kill the tie off. They nearly did just that on 82 minutes. Miles Storey broke away on the left and a great ball to the back post found Stewart unmarked, but he couldn't get a good enough contact and fired a volley over from eight yards out. He probably had more time than he realised.
Hamilton surged forward for an equaliser and Gillespie twisted and turned before firing just wide of Lewis's post. Shinnie was then bundled over on the by-line outside the Hamilton box and the resulting free kick saw Stewart head wide at the front post. He was almost too close. If Greg had just flicked it on it would have been goal bound.
Although the last ten minutes were nervy the Dons defended well and Accies looked void of ideas to break them down.
Referee Nick Walsh added two minutes on at the end of the match and the Dons comfortably held on to book their place in the Quarter Final of the Betfred Cup.
Not a pretty performance but job done.
Shortly after the final whistle the draw took place for the last eight and a trip to Motherwell for the Dons in the Quarter Finals.
A huge thank you to the 2,028 (updated figure) Aberdeen fans who travelled to the match.
FINAL SCORE: HAMILTON ACADEMICAL 0-1 ABERDEEN