Following last Saturday’s strong showing against Celtic at Pittodrie, Barry Robson named an unchanged starting XI for the trip to the Forthbank Stadium. On the bench, fit again Angus MacDonald was back in the matchday squad for the first time this season and there was also a welcome return from injury for Jonny Hayes.
After their 1-0 win at Alloa Athletic in League One last weekend, Darren Young’s Stirling Albion made two changes, Kyle Banner and Kieran Moore replacing Aaron Dunsmore and Robert Thomson, who both started from the bench. A weakened Albion side had lost their first game of the season in midweek, beaten 3-0 at home by East Kilbride in the Challenge Cup.
Shayden Morris was the first to impress at a breezy Forthbank, a strong run down the right in the fifth minute winning the Dons a corner. From the flag kick, Duk was up highest, and his powerful header was superbly tipped onto the bar and over by Currie. A neat one-two between Morris and Miovski moments later ended with Morris spearing a cross through the six-yard box, Duk unable to apply the finishing touch.
Miovski got his first sight of the home goal on 20 minutes, a looping Jack MacKenzie cross giving him the opportunity to get a header on it, but it was never troubling Currie.
Miovski did trouble Currie in the 29th minute though, putting the ball beyond him for 1-0. Nicky Devlin was away on the charge down the right, accelerating away from a defender, reaching the by-line and cutting the ball back for Miovski who got the ball under control, turned and jabbed his shot just inside the post from eight yards out.
The Dons were in the ascendant now, Morris chopped down on 32 minutes, just a hair’s breadth outside the box, as he headed for goal, Clark booked for his transgression.
A surging run through the middle from Dante Polvara opened up the opposition defence, giving him the opportunity to pick out Morris, coming in from the right. From a tight angle, he fired off a powerful drive, Currie down well to save. Duk took a whack from behind and needed the help of the physio on 38 minutes, ultimately carrying on.
There was controversy in the 42nd minute, Duk pulled down on the edge of the Albion box, but nothing was given. From there, the hosts were on the counter-attack, Kelle Roos required to save well from Carrick who looked offside as he received the final pass.
HALF-TIME: STIRLING ALBION 0 ABERDEEN 1
It was a bright start to the second half from the hosts, a couple of corners won and then a long ball forward getting Carrick in on goal in the 50th minute, his shot coming to nothing.
Aberdeen responded with a fine ball forward from Leighton Clarkson getting Miovski away from his defender, but his first touch was a shade heavy and Currie was out to smother. A Ryan Duncan cross on 53 minutes then forced McLean to stretch to intercept, the ball spinning off his boot and into Currie’s hands with Miovski in attendance.
The Dons made their first changes on the hour, Slobodan Rubezic and Polvara replaced by MacDonald and Connor Barron. Within four minutes of that, Aberdeen doubled the lead. A cross from Devlin reached Graeme Shinnie, whose fierce drive was well saved by Currie, but Clarkson pounced on the rebound to drill a first-time shot in off the bar to give Aberdeen some breathing space.
The home side retaliated with a trio of changes in the 70th minute, Thomson, Spence and Dunsmore replacing Banner, Moore and Carrick. The Dons maintained the pressure though, and from Shinnie’s 72nd minute corner, Duk placed a looping header onto the top of the bar.
The hosts were back in the game on 75 minutes as Aberdeen were caught napping at the back. A deep free-kick to the back post was nodded back across goal, Spence given a free header to glance the ball beyond Roos and give the home fans fresh hope.
Duk made way for Ester Sokler in the 80th minute. He got an acrobatic shot away in the 85th minute, his effort blocked after Morris did well to guide in a dangerous looking cross. Leitch was replaced by Cooper three minutes later.
Sokler had a chance to settle matters in the 92nd minute, Clarkson arcing a cross through the box, the Slovenian at full stretch but only able to turn the ball across the face of goal and wide. Clarkson set up Miovski next a minute later, a similar pass, but he couldn’t quite get on the end of it in the six-yard box.
2 minutes added at end of 1st half.
4 minutes added at end of 2nd half.