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Montrose 1 - 4 Aberdeen

HT Score: Montrose 1 - 0 Aberdeen

Montrose scorers: Sharp (16)
Aberdeen scorers: Adams 46 (Pen), Craig 65, Adams 78, Craig 88.

28/07/2004 | KO: 19:30

Dons hit back after poor start

After a poor first half performance the Dons, no doubt encouraged by some quiet words of encouragement from Jimmy Calderwood, turned things round after the interval to run out 4-1 winners. Aberdeen playing a 3-5-2 formation failed to impress and Montrose grabbed a deserved lead when Sharp drilled the ball past Esson in the 16th minute. The Dons reverted to a 4-4-2 formation after the break and within a minute Adams levelled from the spot after he was fouled. He went on to grab a brace as did his ex Motherwell colleague Steven Craig who was the Dons man of the match.

The Dons lined up in a 3-5-2 system with Diamond, Anderson and McGuire the back three and Tosh and Morrison operating as wingbacks, but it was Montrose who carved out the first chance of the match when Sharp hit a decent shot straight at Esson. Three minutes later Aberdeen went close when Craig held the ball up well before setting up Tosh. The midfielder hit a low shot from the edge of the area that was well held by Butler. Adams then went close in the 10th minute with a looping header that went over the bar. Four minutes later Scott Severin found Morrison with a great pass. The wingback fired in a low shot that was well held by Butler, but he might have been better with a cut back as he had good support.

The Dons were then punished for some uncertain defending Tosh failed to clear and Graeme Sharp drilled the ball past Esson from 12 yards. Aberdeen were seeing a lot of the ball at this stage but doing very little with the possession as Montrose were quick to close them down. In the 24th minute Foster got his head to a Morrison cross but only succeeded in steering the ball into Butler's arms. A minute later McGuire did well to block a Smith effort that had looked net bound. In 35 minutes McGuire turned provider as he delivered a great pass to Foster. Unfortunately the youngster was unable to control the ball and it ran out of play.

Aberdeen were finally beginning to put some decent passages of play together and their pressure forced a couple of corners. Then in the 42nd minute the ball broke to Morrison and he hit a rocket shot that came crashing off the crossbar with Butler beaten. Montrose posted a warning that they were still a danger when Esson had to look lively a minute later to deny Smart. In the final minute of the half Aberdeen went route one and found Foster, but Montrose defended well and cleared the danger.

Jimmy Calderwood reverted to a 4-4-2 formation after the break with Tiernan replacing the injured McGuire and Adams being pushed further forward. The change made an immediate impact when within a minute Tosh found Adams and clever play by the ex-Motherwell man forced Montrose to concede a penalty. It may have been a bit soft, but Adams made no mistake as he fired the ball high into the net to level. In the 49th minute a swivel and shot from Craig was comfortably held by Butler and a minute later the keeper denied Diamond with another fine save from a powerful header. Montrose broke in the 55th minute setting up Smart with a good chance that he failed to capitalise on.

Tosh sent in a telling cross on the hour mark and Adams almost added to his tally as his header went inches over. Three minutes later Montrose went close again when their man of the match, Graeme Sharp, sent in a cross that beat the defenders and was thankfully gathered by Esson before the Montrose attack could react. The Dons grabbed the lead a minute later when a long ball from defence was skilfully controlled by Craig and thumped past Butler to cheer the Dons supporters in the 1,750 crowd. In the 70th minute Smart fired over for the home side before an Adams free kick was well blocked by the Montrose keeper.

The third goal came in the 78th minute when Heikkinen won the ball deep and released Tiernan. Adams met his cross glanced the header out of the reach of the keeper. Stewart replaced Foster in the 79th minute and made an immediate impact with a powerful run down the left. Unfortunately play was halted as Severin was adjudged to have committed a foul. Aberdeen added a fourth three minutes from time when the keeper misjudged a high ball and Craig pounced to score. Sheerin replaced Severin a minute with the game won.

Montrose Teamsheet
Butter, Donachie, Budd, Stephen, G. Smith, Kerrigan, D. Smith, Smart, Wood, Watson, Sharp. Unused Subs: Tiernan for McGuire (46), Stewart for Foster (79), Sheerin for Severin (87)
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Esson, McGuire (Tiernan 46), Morrison, Anderson, Diamond, Severin (Sheerin 85), Tosh, Heikkinen, Craig, Adams, Foster (Stewart 65).
Attendance: 1,750
Venue: Links Park, Montrose
Referee: Craig McKay