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Motherwell 1 - 2 Aberdeen

HT Score: Motherwell 0 - 2 Aberdeen

Scottish Cup Quarter Final
Motherwell scorers: Law 78
Aberdeen scorers: Fallon 4, Fallon 40.

11/03/2012 | KO: 15:45

Fallon Brace Sees Dons Through to Semi

With Gavin Rae cup tied Craig Brown was forced to make one change to the side that drew with Celtic last week. Clark Robertson returned from injury to fill in at left back. Considine and Reynolds were partnered in the centre of defence and this week Rory McArdle went to right back. In a 4-3-3 formation the midfield trio were Fyvie, Jack and Arnason. Megginson played wide right and Vernon wide left with Fallon in the middle.

The Aberdeen players emerged to a wall of colour with there being over 2,000 Aberdeen fans in the ground. The game kicked off in a tremendous atmosphere and that was maybe the reason for the explosive start. There was a chance in the first minute when the ball came into the Dons box from the right and Nicky Law was able to get a shot away. Thankfully Considine's block deflected behind for a corner. It was the first of many from the captain who put in another superb performance this afternoon.

A minute later Jack won the Dons a corner. Motherwell could not deal with the cross and there was a stramash in the box. Both McArdle and Considine had shots on goal before the ball was eventually cleared. It was certainly encouraging to see the way the home side had defended the situation and it gave you the feeling that the aerial route might prove beneficial. The ball went behind for another corner although Vernon appeared to put it out. All the Aberdeen players had even started walking back into position for the goal kick. Both referee Thomson and far side linesman were convinced though it was a corner. Fyvie played it; Considine knocked it back across the face of goal and Fallon bulleted in the header from about 5 yards. What a start for the Dons. The home fans were still not happy about the award of the corner. They should have been even more concerned about the way their team defended the corner.

The Dons then very nearly added a second. Megginson's deep cross from the right found Fallon who headed it back across goal and brilliantly picked out Vernon but his header was inches wide. McArdle then stepped forward from the right back position and hit a great effort from about 30 yards which Randolph at full stretch just managed to keep out. Fyvie then burst forward and almost set up Fallon but a poor touch allowed the defender to get back. The Dons did though win a throw in which Arnason went over to take. From the set play McArdle almost got on the end of the original ball, he did however get on the end of the second ball that came from Arnason but although he had a free header he was too far out to trouble Randolph.

All this in the first ten minutes. It has been a long time since the Dons had started a game in such a positive fashion. Aberdeen were also pressing Motherwell all over the park, in many ways playing them at their own game. Vernon, Megginson and Fallon already were putting in quite a shift. On 15 minutes Reynolds was forced to give away a Motherwell corner but Law's header at the back post looped harmlessly over. After a relentless start there was a break in play when Hutchinson went up for a header with Ryan Jack. The Motherwell man got the ball but also went through Jack. It was a naughty challenge as Jack could do little to protect himself. Both players went down holding their heads and were only able to continue after lengthy treatment.

Then from nothing the home side were given a golden chance to equalise when Clark Robertson hauled down Higdon in the box. There were few complaints from the Dons players. Higdon took it himself and put it to the keepers' right but Brown produced a quite brilliant save. The ball was at a good height but he had to get right over to his post to save it. Shortly after that Hutchinson had to be replaced by Page. Five minutes later Ryan Jack also had to go off because of the head knock he received in the incident. Chris Clark came on and played on the right side of midfield.

The Dons moved to more of a 4-4-2 formation with Megginson going up front alongside Fallon. The change in formation seemed to do the trick as Aberdeen enjoyed some possession in the final third of the park. There was a half chance for Vernon after a Clark cross then Fallon almost set up Fyvie with a knock down. Then on 38 minutes Megginson got in behind his man and got to the by-line, but his cut back could not pick out Vernon. Four minutes before half time Fallon chipped it forward for Megginson. The youngster did really well to hold the ball up and played it back for Chris Clark. He played in a superb cross for Fallon who peeled off his marker to fire home a beautiful volley. What a finish from 15 yards. The New Zealander did really well to control his effort and just direct it into the net.

In the final stages of the half Motherwell threw everything at Aberdeen but crucially the Dons held firm with Considine wining everything in the air. He was not allowing Higdon to bully him. If fact the Dons could have had a third when Arnason strolled forward and he almost picked out Megginson. As the players made their way off the field at half time Stuart McCall decided to question Thomson's decision for the first goal, pointing out the Aberdeen players did not even react as if it was a corner. The Motherwell manager would spend the second half in the stand for his efforts.

The home side came out firing in the second half but on 50 minutes it could have been three for the Dons as they hit on the break. Arnason broke forward brilliantly. He then passed it sideways to Fyvie who weighted his pass beautifully for Chris Clark. He crossed low into the box, Fallon brilliantly dummied and Megginson hit a snap shot which was straight at Randolph. The keeper made a fine reaction save but would not have known much about it. Then at the other end Ojamaa got the better of Reynolds for the first time in the afternoon and set up Murphy at the near post but McArdle made a brilliant blocking tackle and Considine was able to clear. On 55 minutes a slip by McArdle let in Murphy but he tried to beat Brown from distance and instead of curling the ball away from the keeper he hit it straight into his arms.

On the hour mark you felt the Dons were entering a crucial stage of the game. The home side were throwing everything at them but were getting nowhere as the Aberdeen defence were standing firm. It would not be long before they ran out of ideas. Fyvie, who was having a superb game against the much vaunted Motherwell midfield, brilliantly beat his man and on the edge of the box and was hauled down by Page who was booked. The Motherwell sub was only promoted to the bench because Craigan was injured in the warm up. He had a fairly uncomfortable afternoon and at times was probably wishing he was still in the stand. Arnason's free kick was blocked and unfortunately did not fall for a white jersey. Then Clark almost set up Megginson with an inside pass. Both players were having fantastic games. Megginson's runs were causing the home defence so many problems as he pulled players all over the place, something that has been missing all season.

The home side had now run out of ideas and were just lofting high balls up to Higdon. The home fans were no impressed. Aberdeen however were still playing football. Fyvie and Fallon almost combined to set up Vernon. The Dons top scorer had not had many chances but what a shift he put in again for the side. Jamie Murphy was replaced by Chris Humphrey and the Motherwell player was soon followed into the dressing room by Captain Keith Lasley who was sent off for a shocking lunge on Fyvie. The Aberdeen youngster had the beating of him all afternoon. Vernon's pass to Fyvie was slightly short and Lasley took out the Aberdeen youngster. After lengthy treatment he was stretchered off the pitch with what looked a serious injury at the time. When play did resume Arnason's free kick was played to the back post to Fallon who had a free header. The striker might have been better trying to put back across the face of goal but his effort was easily saved.

The Dons were costing into the semi finals with 10 minutes or so to go but this is Aberdeen remember. Omar Daley got inside Robertson and played it to Humphrey. His low cross should have been cut out by Brown but the keeper allowed the ball to slip under his body and Law was on hand to stab the ball into the empty net. Game on again. The well 10 men were re-energised. Brown did well to punch clear from a free kick then Kari Arnason cleared a Humphrey cross from inches out. That was a major let off as Humphrey's ball only needed the slightest of touches.

With a few minutes to go Megginson came off and Pawlett was put on. The home side kept pressing. Mawene did well to block a Clancy drive inside the box. From the corner Ojamaa hammered a cross across the face of goal which again could have gone anywhere. With Motherwell throwing everything at the Dons, Aberdeen were hitting on the break and still creating chances. Arnason picked the ball up about 30 yards out and had acres of room. He decided to shoot and his effort stung Randolph's fingers. The keeper only just kept it out. Fallon then could have had his hat-trick when he got on the end of a McArdle through ball. Quite where he found his pace to get on the end of the ball was anyone's guess. The striker though might have done better with his attempted chip.

5 minutes of added agony were added on at the end. Not what the Dons wanted. Again it lifted the home side. In a thrilling finish Clancy had an effort pushed away by Brown. It was a good opportunity and for the first time all afternoon Considine and Reynolds failed to deal with the high ball. They however were helped out by another excellent save from Brown. In the final few minutes his opposite number came up for a corner. Aberdeen won the ball and cleverly worked it to Pawlett. The midfielder tried to roll the ball in from about 40 yards but it just went inches wide, to the agony of everyone behind the Motherwell goal. Thankfully though the miss did not matter as the final whistle went shortly afterwards and the Aberdeen fans were able to celebrate a famous win.

Motherwell Teamsheet
Darren Randolph, Tom Hateley, Tim Clancy, Shaun Hutchinson (Jonathan Page 28), Stevie Hammell, Jamie Murphy (Chris Humphrey 67), Steve Jennings, Nicky Law , Keith Lasley, Michael Higdon, Henrik Ojamaa. Unused Subs: Stewart Carswell, Lee Hollis, Omar Daley.

Bookings:  Jonathan Page (60)  Keith Lasley (69)
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Brown, McArdle, Considine, Reynolds, Jack (Clark 33), Megginson (Pawlett 83), Robertson, Fyvie (Mawéné 71), Arnason, Vernon, Fallon.

Unused Subs: Langfield, Mackie.

Bookings:  Robertson (76).
Attendance: 7,640
Venue: Fir Park, Motherwell
Referee: Craig Thomson