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Motherwell 0 - 1 Aberdeen

HT Score: Motherwell 0 - 1 Aberdeen

Scottish Premiership
Aberdeen scorers: Clarkson 25.

16/03/2024 | KO: 15:00

Dons Leven Fir Park with the 3 points

A vastly improved Aberdeen display saw them bank three huge points at Fir Park in front of a thousand members of the travelling Red Army, edging up to ninth place in the table with a deserved win.

Following defeat at Dens Park on Wednesday night, Peter Leven made one change to his side, bringing in Leighton Clarkson for Killian Phillips, who started on the bench.

Motherwell won 2-1 at Ibrox two weeks ago and made one change from that starting XI, Sam Nicholson coming in for Davor Zdravkovski.

Aberdeen were on the attack in the opening minute, Graeme Shinnie winning the ball high up, Bojan Miovski then able to find Junior Hoilett in the box, but the ball got away from him and to add insult to injury, he was booked for simulation.

A driving run from Nicky Devlin got the Dons on the front foot again after six minutes, passing into Miovski who produced an inventive chip across goal that drifted just wide with Kelly rooted to the spot and offering up a silent prayer.

Shinnie arced in a free-kick from 40 yards out on the quarter hour, but there were no red shirts making the necessary run to get on the end of it. Nonetheless, it was a decent opening to the game for Aberdeen.

Brilliant defending from Jack MacKenzie on 18 minutes was as good as a goal at the other end, the ball dropping for Casey after a scramble following a free-kick, MacKenzie appearing from nowhere to get in a block that took the ball over the bar when a Motherwell lead seemed certain. From the resulting corner, Devlin took a stray boot in the face and needed the tender care of the physio before he eventually had to make way for Jack Milne, presumably a concussion substitution.

The Dons were on the attack a minute later, Clarkson picking up a loose clearance only to have his shot blocked at the near post. But from the corner, Clarkson was on target. The ball had to be recycled after it was partially cleared and when it came back into the middle from Connor Barron, Miovski cracked a shot against the post. As it pinged back into play, Clarkson did well to get over the ball and produce a controlled finish into the net from 14 yards out.

Kelle Roos was called into action as Motherwell hit on the counter-attack on the half hour, Nicholson galloping away from Barron, Roos making a sprawling save from his shot from just inside the area.

The Steelmen were seemingly level on 37 minutes. From a corner, the ball reached Miller at the far corner. His shot took a couple of deflections on its way past Roos, but a VAR check ensued, Willie Collum called to the monitor to see a handball by Bair and rule out the goal – what goes around at Dens Park, comes around at Fir Park…

Milne should have made it 2-0 on 42 minutes. Up for a corner, he had a free header a dozen yards out but put his effort wide, a golden opportunity for a first senior goal.

Kelly had to make a superb save to keep it at 1-0 two minutes into added time, Miller having the ball pinched off him by Shinnie. Miovski received the ball and drove a shot at goal, Kelly at full stretch to save at his near post.

HALF-TIME: MOTHERWELL 0 ABERDEEN 1

Halliday and Gent replaced Nicholson and Mugabi for the hosts at the break.

Aberdeen opened well, a Hoilett corner cleared before the winger curled the ball back into the danger area, just over Milne, Kelly collecting at the foot of the post after 48 minutes. Shinnie was next to test the ‘Well goalkeeper, powering forward before shooting from 20 yards.

Miovski was close again on the hour, Jamie McGrath belting away down the right before crossing, the ball fractionally behind Miovski who could only steer his header over the bar. Motherwell brought on Devine for Blaney on 62 minutes. Devine set Spittal up for a shot on goal two minutes later, Roos down to save to his right.

McGrath produced a venomous strike at goal on 69 minutes after he collected a half cleared MacKenzie cross, his effort thumping into Casey’s face, an important block that knocked him clean off his feet. A fourth Motherwell change saw Ferrie come on for Vale with 16 minutes to go.

Bair had two clubbed shots at goal in the 76th minute, Roos able to claw both away at his near post, Miovski then clearing the corner that followed. As the Steelmen put the ball back into the box, a glancing Bair header drifted wide of the target.

With Motherwell beginning to push the Dons back, a double change came for Aberdeen on 81 minutes Hoilett and Clarkson making way for Polvara and Phillips. The Steelmen responded by bringing on Wells for Miller in the 83rd minute.

A Halliday shot from distance was pushed to safety by Roos to his right on 85 as the home side tried to gather a head of steam. O’Donnell was then booked for a foul on Polvara. Miovski was replaced by Ester Sokler after 88 minutes.

Lengthy possession from the Dons in the final third finally produced a shot from Polvara in the 89thminute, Sokler unable to capitalise on the rebound with his header.

Halliday had a real chance to square it up in the 91st minute, coming onto a Bair knockdown, but only able to make contact with his thigh, Roos grasping his effort at goal. Roos was booked seconds later for taking his time over a goal kick, but there was further delay once he launched it forward, Phillips needing treatment after a clash of heads with Casey. He was soon back on his feet as were the Dons, finally securing a first league win since the winter break, a late nerve-shredding VAR check for a potential Shinnie handball notwithstanding.

6 minutes added at end 1st half.
3+2 minutes added at end 2nd half.
Motherwell Teamsheet
Kelly, O'Donnell, Casey, Mugabi (Gent 46), Blaney (Devine 62), McGinn, Miller (Wells 83), Spittal, Nicholson (Halliday 46), Vale (Ferrie 74), bair Unused Subs: Oxborough, Zdravkovski, Shaw, Ebiye

Bookings:  O'Donnell 85
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Roos, Devlin (Milne), MacKenzie, Shinnie, Gartenmann, McGrath, Barron, Miovski (Sokler 88), Clarkson (Phillips 81), MacDonald, Hoilett (Polvara 80).

Unused Subs: Doohan, Jensen, Lopes, McGarry, Duncan.

Bookings:  Hoilett (1),  Roos (92).
Attendance: 5,659
Visitors:1,037
Venue: Fir Park, Motherwell
Referee: Willie Collum
Next Match
East Kilbride
A
20 Jul 2024 / 15:00 / K-Park Training Academy, East Kilbride