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Motherwell 0 - 3 Aberdeen

HT Score: Motherwell 0 - 1 Aberdeen

Scottish Premiership
Aberdeen scorers: Cosgrove 15, McGinn 53, Vyner 60.

19/10/2019 | KO: 15:00

Dons show some steel and style

On the return to action after the international break, Derek McInnes made five changes to the team that drew 1-1 with Hibernian. Curtis Main and Lewis Ferguson missed out through suspension, Ryan Hedges and Dean Campbell dropped to the bench and Ethan Ross was left out of the matchday 18.

In came Michael Devlin, Zak Vyner, Jon Gallagher, Niall McGinn and James Wilson, back from injury.

Also returning from injury on the bench were Craig Bryson and Stephen Gleeson. Bringing in Long for Cole was Motherwell's only change from their 2-0 win at home to St Mirren before the break.

The Dons had the first sight of goal, Sam Cosgrove getting into good space but his shot lacked the power necessary from the edge of the box. Scott responded in the third minute, a curling shot from distance comfortable enough for Joe Lewis.

A short back pass from Shay Logan, under pressure from Seedorf, put the Dons in trouble on four minutes, Lewis adjudged to have brought down Long, Lewis infuriated by the Motherwell man's reaction to his challenge. Scott fired his penalty to the right of Lewis, the skipper pulling off a fabulous save with an extended left arm to tip the ball over.

A nice move from the Dons in the 12th minute culminated in Wilson cutting in from the right and trying his luck from 30 yards, Gillespie beating the ball to safety, away to his left. Moments later, Wilson tried again, knocking Hartley clean off his feet with the ferocity of his shot as he blocked it with his head.

Hartley went off for further treatment and assessment.

The Dons pounced and made the most of their numerical advantage, Cosgrove collecting the ball from Greg Leigh some 40 yards out, accelerating away from Maguire and on into the box before producing a delicate little chip over Gillespie and in for 1-0 in the 14th minute, a terrific finish. Greg also did really well, winning an initial tackle deep inside the Aberdeen half before playing a beautiful early through ball, perfectly weighted, into the path of Sam.

With that, Hartley made way for Mugabi, making his debut for the hosts.

It could have been better yet in the 20th minute, a great cross from Logan picking out Gallagher 10 yards out, but he put his header over the bar. Motherwell could have been on terms two minutes later, miscommunication between Lewis and Scott McKenna allowing Long to nip in between them and pinch the ball, but from a tight angle he put his effort into the side netting.

Cosgrove had an opportunity to double the lead in the 28th minute, played in by Jon Gallagher, but as he advanced into the box and prepared to shoot, Motherwell's Gallagher produced a fine last ditch tackle to rob him and keep the hosts in the game. Moments later, he made another key intervention to cut out Vyner's dangerous looking cross.

Seedorf went to ground very easily in the 38th minute to win Motherwell a free-kick 25 yards out. Polworth stepped up but ballooned his shot well over the bar to the particular relief of Leigh in the wall - moments earlier he'd blocked a Motherwell move in an anatomical place where, after that kind of damage, you don't rub'em, you count 'em. That though was typical of the Dons' first half commitment to their defending, a real case of they shall not pass.

Aberdeen continued to look good on the break too, winning the ball in midfield and ultimately getting it out to McGinn, Tait doing well to put his dangerous cross behind in the 42nd minute, the corner coming to nothing.

With that, the Dons went in at the break with a hard earned, and well deserved, one goal lead.

HALF-TIME: Motherwell 0 Aberdeen 1

Motherwell started the second half of the front foot, Seedorf down the left before slashing across his shot and putting it miles wide. He'd been looking threatening all afternoon but thankfully offered no end product to add to good approach play.

Brilliant pressing high up the park from the Dons doubled the lead in the 53rd minute, McGinn dispossessing Campbell 30 yards out before running into the box and placing a gorgeous, curling lob over the top of Gillespie and into the far corner.

Wilson's race was run at that point, Connor McLennan replacing him and Motherwell responded to the two goal deficit by replacing Scott with Hylton moments later.

Confidence was coursing through the Dons now, Leigh and Considine combining well down the left, Mugabi making a brave block just in front of Gallagher in the 58th minute as 'Well were just hanging on. A McGinn corner a minute later caused chaos, ricocheting off two players before dropping nicely for Gillespie as the Dons went hunting the third.

It came almost immediately, Vyner smashing in a superb goal on the hour mark, twisting and turning 25 yards out before driving a ball across the face of goal and in off the far post, a real cracker as the Red Army roared the side on.

The hosts soon made their third change, Cole replacing Maguire, then Polworth tried his luck with a fizzing shot from 40 yards but Lewis always had it covered as it bent wide.

With the hosts putting four up top, Aberdeen were swarming forward on the break now, Leigh drilling a shot across the face of goal and only inches wide in the 64th minute as Aberdeen were rampant against a very ragged looking Motherwell.

They might have had a sniff of a comeback in the 66th minute as Long got into space on the edge of the area, but his effort was always rising over the bar. Vyner collected the afternoon's first card in the 72nd minute, and in the aftermath of that, McGinn was replaced by Campbell.

He made a telling contribution in the 79th corner, a lovely corner into the near post that found Considine, who couldn't believe that he put his header across goal and wide of the target when goal number 36 was there for the taking.

Motherwell were looking a well beaten bunch by now but Long was still making himself busy, driving in a low shot from the corner of the box in the 80th minute, Lewis having it well covered at the near post. Two minutes later, Cole did well to turn away from Vyner on the edge of the six yard box but his shot was blocked away to safety.

Aberdeen players were queuing up to make it four in the 85th minute, Devlin and Vyner both having shots blocked as the visitors were in complete control of the game, recapturing some of the free flowing form we saw earlier in the season.

In fairness to the hosts, they kept plugging away and Lewis had to make a sharp save in the 88th minute to deny Cole and retain the clean sheet that he'd done so much to earn with that game turning penalty save back in the fifth minute.

The final change came with the very welcome return of Stephen Gleeson in the 90th minute, replacing Leigh. It was another high note to end a terrific afternoon that was full of them, marred only slightly by McKenna's yellow card in stoppage time. A comprehensive demolition of the Steelmen, the Dons drawing to within a point of them in the table.

Motherwell Teamsheet
Gillespie, Hartley (C) (Mugabi 16), Gallagher, Tait, Grimshaw, Maguire (Cole 61), Campbell, Polworth, Long, Scott (Hylton 56), Seedorf

Bookings:  Grimshaw 90
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Lewis, Logan, Leigh (Gleeson 88), Considine, McKenna, Devlin, McGinn (Campbell), Vyner, Cosgrove, Gallagher, Wilson (McLennan 54).

Unused Subs: Bryson, Hedges, Anderson, Cerny.

Bookings:  Vyner (72),  McKenna (93).
Attendance: 5,640
Venue: Fir Park, Motherwell
Referee: Euan Anderson
Next Match
24 Feb 2024 / 15:00 / Rugby Park, Kilmarnock