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Aberdeen 3 - 1 Partick Thistle

HT Score: Aberdeen 2 - 1 Partick Thistle

SPL Under 21
Aberdeen scorers: Zdrilic 7, Mackie 22, Deloumeaux 64.
Partick Thistle scorers: Thomson (pen) 10

15/12/2003 | KO: 14:00

Dons tame jags again

An experienced Aberdeen side beat Partick Thistle this afternoon. Goals from David Zdrilic, Darren Mackie and Eric Deloumeaux gave the Dons side a comfortable victory.

Their were a number of first team players involved including Kevin McNaughton who had recovered from an injury that kept him out on Saturday and Steve Tosh who had recovered from an illness.

The opening goal came after only 6 minutes following a good move. Scott Muirhead played the ball to Fergus Tiernan, whose cross was met by Zdrilic. The Aussie controlled the ball before placing it past Kevin Budinauckas.

However, two minutes later, the Jags were level. Andy Thomson converted from the penalty spot after the striker had been tackled in the box by Stephen Payne. The defender was slightly unlucky as the award seemed "soft".

Aberdeen almost took the lead again on 18 minutes. Muirhead's corner was met by the head of Phil McGuire, forcing defender Ian Ross to clear off the line.

On 21 minutes the Dons did regain the lead. The highly impressive Muirhead fired in a ball from the left. Darren Mackie raced in front of the defence and bravely turn the ball past Budinauckas with a good finish even although he injured himself in the process.

Five minutes before the break, the visitors could have been awarded a second spot kick. Stephane Bonnes looked to have been impeded by Deloumeaux but referee Colin Brown was unimpressed this time even although it looked more of a penalty than the one given.

In the second half the game continued with Aberdeen on top. Zdrilic saw a 47th minute snap shot saved and a minute later the Australian headed over the bar after Mackie had put in an excellent cross from the right.

Thistle were awarded a free-kick in the 51st minute after McGuire had brought down former colleague David Rowson, earning the games only yellow card in the process. Ross's resultant effort was on target but Ryan Esson saved well down to the left.

The Dons finally killed the game off in the 62nd minute. Muirhead's dangerous corner from the right was headed goalwards by Zdrilic at the far post. The Thistle defence failed to clear properly and the ball fell to Deloumeaux who fired home from fifteen yards out.

Substitute John Stewart had a chance to make it four but hit a weak effort at the keeper when he was through on goal.

Afterwards Neil Cooper praised his players. "This was the strongest side we have had out all season and I was delighted with their efforts. It was a good team performance.

"Steve and Duncan both watched the game and they will have been pleased with the attitude shown by all the players. There are likely to be one or two who have put themselves in the frame for Saturday.

"Performances have certainly improved in recent weeks which is very encouraging."

Weather: Dry and Cold
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Esson, Payne (Jones 81), McQuilken, Tiernan, McGuire, Deloumeaux, Mackie, McNaughton (Stewart 64), Zdrilic, Tosh (Souter 75), Muirhead.

Unused Subs: Higgins, Hutton.

Bookings:  McGuire (52).
Partick Thistle Teamsheet
Budinauckas, Kaczan, Wilson, Forrest, Ross, Howie, Rowson, Boyle (Ferguson 75), Panther (Shields 82), Thomson, Bonnes (Cassidy 82)

Bookings:  McGuire (51)
Venue: ,
Referee: Colin Brown