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Ross County 2 - 2 Aberdeen

HT Score: Ross County 1 - 1 Aberdeen

Scottish Premiership
Ross County scorers: Murray 5, Dhanda 67
Aberdeen scorers: Sokler 32, McGrath 50.

19/05/2024 | KO: 15:00

10 Man Dons End 23/24 with Dingwall Draw

The Dons battled to a draw at Dingwall, securing seventh place in the table despite playing with ten men for 35 minutes after Angus MacDonald was red carded, condemning Ross County to the relegation play-offs.

Following the 5-1 win over Livingston on Wednesday night, there were four changes to the Aberdeen starting XI. In came Kelle Roos, Jamie McGrath, Leighton Clarkson and Jack MacKenzie, replacing Ross Doohan, James McGarry, Duk and Dante Polvara, the first three starting on the bench, Polvara not in the matchday squad. Shayden Morris replaced Jonny Hayes on the bench.

After Ross County drew 1-1 at St Johnstone on Wednesday, there was just one change ahead of a game they needed to win to be sure of avoiding the end of season relegation play-off. Michee Efete missed out, replaced by James Brown.

The Dons were nearly in front on three minutes when Leighton Clarkson came onto a cleared free-kick some 30 yards out and got off a shot at goal which Laidlaw grasped at the second attempt. His clearance went the length of the field, White getting beyond the Aberdeen backline to shoot, but Roos was quick off his line to deny him.

It was only a stay of execution because Murray had County in front on five minutes. Randall got away from Junior Hoilett down their right and his cross was half cleared by Angus MacDonald. Murray was first onto it, cleverly flicking the ball over his head and then drilling it past Roos.

Hoilett produced a bit of quality from a free-kick on the quarter hour. From the right edge of the box, he curled the ball around the outside of the wall but scrambling across goal, Laidlaw was just able to turn it behind at the post.

Baldwin was in the book on 28 minutes, hauling down Graeme Shinnie some 25 yards out as he produced a driving run towards goal. Murray then followed him in for dissent. Clarkson’s effort thumped into the wall and went behind for a corner that came to nothing.

Laidlaw was in the action again on 31, McGrath setting Clarkson away on the left and his effort with the outside of the right boot looked set for the top corner until Laidlaw clawed it behind. County half cleared the corner but Connor Barron collected the loose ball before twisting and turning into space in the box and standing up a cross to the back stick where Ester Sokler was up to plant a thumping header past Laidlaw to equalise.

Shinnie nearly ended the half on a high, sprinting forward to collect Hoilett’s low cross. He turned it goalwards but over the bar, the Dons captain claiming it had taken a deflection, the referee unsympathetic to his complaints.

HALF-TIME: ROSS COUNTY 1 ABERDEEN 1

With St Johnstone ahead at Motherwell, County needed the win to avoid the relegation play-off and they upped the tempo early in the second half, Randall given too much space in the 49th minute to fire off a shot from a tight angle which went wide of the frame.

Things got worse for the hosts when the Dons seized the lead in the 50th minute. Sokler chased away down the left before crossing for Hoilett. He carried the ball to the by-line and pulled the ball back across goal where McGrath was following in to finish from five yards out.

Sokler had the ball in the net in the 55th minute, following up to finish after Hoilett smacked a shot against the post. The offside flag went up before the VAR check came into play to ensure the goal was ruled out, a very marginal call.

MacKenzie was next to go foraging forward, cutting inside as he reached the penalty area to curl a right footed effort wide of the target on the hour. Loturi then replaced Leak for the home side.

A long ball forward on 64 minutes turned the game County’s way. Under pressure, Nicky Devlin went up to head it back across goal, leaving MacDonald to tangle with White in the penalty area. The referee pointed to the spot and then produced a red card for MacDonald for denying a goalscoring opportunity. VAR confirmed both decisions and before the penalty was taken, Sokler and Clarkson were replaced by Slobodan Rubezic and Duk. Dhanda stepped up to take and drilled it into the bottom right as Roos went to his left.

Randall won a free-kick 25 yards out in the 72nd minute, but Dhanda’s effort flashed over the bar as the Dons looked to settle again after conceding the equaliser. McGrath needed lengthy treatment after taking a whack to the left leg on 74 but he was eventually able to continue.

Roos was in acrobatic action to save from Murray in the 77th minute but with Aberdeen unable to completely clear, Nightingale crashed a shot at goal that deflected off Shinnie and up onto the bar before bouncing to safety.

Bojan Miovski and Richard Jensen replaced MacKenzie and Hoilett for Aberdeen after 78 minutes. Sims then replaced Brown two minutes later. Within a couple of minutes, he fell awkwardly on the touchline and needed assistance from the physios. White was yellow carded on 85 for a foul on Shinnie. Brophy came on for Harmon in the 87th minute as County looked to throw everything forward in the final minutes.

As we entered the final minute, a Dhanda free-kick from 25 yards out gave Roos a comfortable save under the bar. Nine minutes of added time were signalled and Devlin immediately then went into the book for a foul on Murray. From the resulting free-kick on the County left, Nightingale thumped a free header against the inside of the post and back out from five yards. A corner followed, and from it, White scooped a shot over the bar from six yards under pressure from Jensen.

Dhanda looped a cross into the box in the 98th minute Roos juggling with it as White steamed in on goal, but he was a lot more secure seconds later as he took another deep ball into the area nice and cleanly, the final action of the game.

2 minutes added at end 1st half.
9 minutes added at end 2nd half.
Ross County Teamsheet
Laidlaw, Randall, Brown (Sims 80), Baldwin, Dhanda, Murray, Harmon (Brophy 87), King, White, Nightingale, Leak (Loturi 60) Unused Subs: Wickens, Callachan, Henderson, Khela, Ayina, Reid

Bookings:  Baldwin 28,   Murray 29,   Brown 77,   White 85
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Roos, Devlin, MacKenzie (Jensen 78), Shinnie, Gartenmann, McGrath, Barron, Clarkson (Lopes 66), Sokler (Rubezic 66), MacDonald, Hoilett (Miovski 78).

Unused Subs: Doohan, McGarry, Morris, Milne, Boyd.

Bookings:  Devlin (91),  MacDonald (64).
Attendance: 6,119
Visitors:2,289
Venue: Victoria Park, Dingwall
Referee: Chris Gtaham
Next Match
East Kilbride
A
20 Jul 2024 / 15:00 / K-Park Training Academy, East Kilbride