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Aberdeen 3 - 3 Motherwell

HT Score: Aberdeen 2 - 3 Motherwell

Scottish Premiership
Rearranged from December 27th.
Aberdeen scorers: Lopes 31, Gartenmann 37, Lopes 50.
Motherwell scorers: Bair 5 (pen), Bair 22, Devine 27

14/02/2024 | KO: 19:45

Dons fight back for a point

It threatened to be a St Valentine’s day massacre, then it promised to be a Pittodrie love in, before it ended with the two teams splitting the bill. Football certainly is a funny old game.

There were four changes to the Aberdeen side that beat Bonnyrigg Rose in the Scottish Cup on Saturday with Ross Doohan, Duk and Angus MacDonald on the bench and Richard Jensen missing out altogether with illness. Into the starting XI came Kelle Roos, Stefan Gartenmann, Jamie McGrath and Connor Barron. Pape Guèye was also among the substitutes.

Motherwell were knocked out of the Scottish Cup by Greenock Morton last Friday night and made two changes with Stephen O’Donnell and Lennon Miller replaced by Jack Vale and Adam Devine in the starting XI.

On a soaking wet night at Pittodrie, three minutes in, the Dons conceded a penalty, Shayden Morris coming together with Gent just inside the area. Bair finished from the spot with the minimum of fuss, rifling the ball into the roof of the net.

The Steelmen were next to threaten, a low shot from Devine taking a deflection on its way to Roos. Aberdeen responded, a ball over the top from Leighton Clarkson setting Bojan Miovski on his way, his cross-shot flicked to safety by Kelly’s feet, McGrath working the loose ball back to Clarkson who fired over the bar from 20 yards out.

The Dons were beginning to pen Motherwell in as we went past the quarter hour, Barron pulling a shot just wide of the target from the edge of the box. On the break the Steelmen very nearly doubled the lead, Roos having to make two saves in short order on 20 minutes. The first came from Vale who was onto the ball six yards out at the back post, Roos pawing the ball onto the bar, the goalkeeper then going full stretch to deny Bair from the follow up.

It was Kelly who had to get down sharply two minutes later, saving from Morris who struck the ball at goal from 20 yards from a half cleared corner. From his long ball out, Gent was away down their left and he produced a low ball through the six yard box, Bair left on his own to tap in Motherwell’s second goal from three yards out.

It was 3-0 on 26 minutes, the ball pinging around the area off two Aberdeen players from a Spittal shot before sitting up nicely for Devine to poke past Roos from ten yards.

Aberdeen made a double change on the half hour, Polvara and Morris replaced by MacDonald and Duk as they went to a back four. It didn’t take Duk long to make an impact, for within about 20 seconds of getting on the pitch, he’d made it 3-1. Miovski played the ball into the area to Clarkson, the ball popped up for Duk to roll the ball past a defender and goalkeeper and into the net from eight yards, VAR ultimately confirming the goal.

Incredibly, it was 3-2 after 37 minutes. Barron’s corner was glanced goal wards at the near post by Nicky Devlin, Kelly making a terrific save with his left hand but Gartenmann was there at the back post to guide the ball into the net from close range. Another VAR check of nearly three minutes followed before the goal stood.

Another Barron corner caused chaos on 42 minutes, Kelly pushing it towards the back post, Clarkson’s shot blocked away by a Motherwell body. There were six minutes of added time courtesy of the various VAR interventions, and the Dons threw themselves into trying to find an equaliser. It almost came three minutes in as Clarkson and Miovski played a one-two, Kelly doing well to rush off the line to smother.

HALF-TIME: ABERDEEN 2 MOTHERWELL 3

The Dons were close to the equaliser in the opening minute of the second half, Clarkson manufacturing a clever lob from a tight angle, his effort skimming the roof of the net. Zdravkovski retaliated a couple of minutes later with a 25 yarder that went straight into the gloves of Roos.

The Dons levelled things up on 50 minutes and it was Duk again. Shinnie looped a cross into the back post, Duk using his strength to get ahead of the defender and plant his header off the post and into the bottom corner with Kelly rooted. An unbelievable recovery from the home side, a red tide descending on the RDS in the early moments of the second half.

Jack MacKenzie had Kelly worried with a fierce cross that he could only parry away on 58 minutes as, for the moment, it was one-way traffic. Motherwell then tried to change the course of the game by withdrawing Zdravkovski for Nicholson. Nicholson was in the book within two minutes, dumping Duk into the opposition dugout as he was away on the break following a Motherwell corner.

Miovski had the ball in the net on 67 minutes, poaching inside the six-yard box as McGrath arrowed a ball in from the left. The number nine immediately looked disappointed, thinking he had just strayed offside as he darted between the two centre-backs to score. The flag went up, but another long VAR check was instituted before the decision was confirmed – the TV pictures suggested there wasn’t much more in it either way.

Gartenmann almost had his second goal three minutes later, attacking a Barron corner at the near post, his header flying past Kelly but thumping into the crossbar as Aberdeen continued to press.

A double change for the Steelmen came on 72 minutes, O’Donnell and Obika replacing Devine and Vale. Killian Phillips came on for Clarkson five minutes later.

Motherwell won a corner on 79, hoisted to the back post. Mugabi got in front of Roos to win a header down and following a scramble, Paton was on hand to smash the ball into the Aberdeen net. Both MacDonald and McGrath were left on the ground, McGrath needing treatment. While that was going on, referee Clancy was called to the monitor and the goal was disallowed.

MacDonald was yellow carded on 83 for hauling down Nicholson in the centre circle. McGinn followed him in four minutes later for a foul on McGrath. Barron’s free-kick that followed caused danger, a knockdown almost finding Duk, Butcher coming across to make a vital block six yards from goal. Shinnie was cautioned as we headed into six added minutes as he and O’Donnell banged knees. Butcher was booked four minutes later for a foul on Duk, then Kelly was carded for time wasting. He succeeded in his objective though, time eventually running out for the Dons.

6 minutes added at end 1st half.
6 minutes added at end 2nd half.
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Roos, Devlin, MacKenzie, Shinnie, Gartenmann, McGrath, Barron, Miovski, Clarkson (Phillips 77), Morris (Lopes 30), Polvara (MacDonald 30).

Unused Subs: Doohan, Habib Guèye, Hayes, Sokler, Duncan, Milne.

Bookings:  MacDonald (83),  Shinnie (89).
Motherwell Teamsheet
Kelly, Devine (O'Donnell 72), Mugabi, McGinn, Gent, Butcher, Zdravkovski (Nicholson 58), Paton, Spittal, Vale (Obika 72), Bair Unused Subs: Oxborough, O'Donnell, Casey, Blaney, Buyabu, Ferrie, Miller

Bookings:  Nicholson 61,   McGinn 87,   Butcher 94,   Kelly 95
Attendance: 15,290
Visitors:194
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: Kevin Clancey
Next Match
East Kilbride
A
20 Jul 2024 / 15:00 / K-Park Training Academy, East Kilbride