Aberdeen moved into the semi-final of the League Cup with a fully deserved victory over Hamilton Accies at Pittodrie. The only goal of the game came on 24 minutes after a really well worked free kick and a superb diving header from Adam Rooney. The Dons could have won the game more comfortably but Michael McGovern in the Hamilton goal had an excellent game. At the other end Scott Brown had little to do but did make two decent saves near the end. Aberdeen defended very well tonight as a team with Ashton Taylor and Ryan Jack in great form.
This was a very strong Aberdeen performance and the Dons now have a semi-final to look forward to in January. The draw will take place on Saturday at 5.05pm with Aberdeen, Celtic, Dundee United and Rangers in the hat.
There was one change this evening to the Aberdeen side. Adam Rooney replaced David Goodwillie in a straight swap. So in a 4-2-3-1 formation it was Brown in goal, Logan at right back, Considine at left back with Taylor and Reynolds in the centre of defence. Flood and Jack were the holding midfielders with Hayes on the left, McGinn on the right and Pawlett playing in behind Rooney.
Aberdeen won the first corner of the game on three minutes. McGinn took it and Taylor made a good late run into the box but his header went over the bar. The Dons made a bright start but as expected Hamilton worked tirelessly to close down the red jerseys at every opportunity and the Dons found it hard to getting any passing moves going.
On 11 minutes Antoine-Curier had a shot on the turn which went close but he was flagged for offside so it would not have counted anyway. Even at this early stage you could tell that the first goal in this game was going to be crucial. Hamilton continued to defend in little groups and no Aberdeen players were getting any time on the ball.
On 20 minutes the Dons broke at pace and Rooney and McGinn had a two on two. They did very well to work an opening and Niall was one on one with McGovern but the keeper raced off his line and did very well to narrow the angle and eventually Hamilton were able to hack the ball behind. Very good goalkeeping. A few minutes later Considine had a looping header but it was a far easier save for McGovern.
On 23 minutes Grant Gillespie was booked for a poor challenge on Logan. Then on 24 minutes from the resulting free kick Aberdeen took the lead. It was a move straight off the training ground. Pawlett caused confusion by running about in the box. As the Hamilton defence were concerned with Peter, Rooney drifted into the box unmarked and produced a fantastic diving header to score.
A minute later in was very nearly two. How the ball did not go in was a mystery. Pawlett made a great burst forward. He then played it wide to Niall who could have shot but played the ball back across the face of goal. Hayes almost got a touch and then Pawlett forced McGovern into a save on the line which he know very little about. From the resulting corner Aberdeen could have had a penalty when Hayes was brought down. Play continued and Hamilton almost scored an own goal after the ball came off Canning but McGovern made a quite brilliant save to parry the ball over the bar from point blank range.
Aberdeen on the half hour mark had another penalty shout when Pawlett went down in the box and then on 33 minutes Darian MacKinnon was booked. On 36 minutes the Dons broke again at pace after Jack had run 50 yards with the ball. He played it to McGinn who had options but this time he elected to shoot and his shot went just over.
On 39 minutes Flood was booked for a tug at a Hamilton jersey. Hamilton then won their first corner and the visitors had a good spell towards the end of the half, Ash Taylor made one vital interception. The Dons defence had a very good first half. As the teams went in at the break Aberdeen deserved to be further ahead.
Aberdeen started the second half strongly. On 47 minutes a great goal bound effort from Andrew Considine had to be saved by McGovern. On 50 minutes another brilliantly worked free kick from the Dons saw a neat interchange in the box then McGovern saved a shot low from Pawlett who was completely in space. A real chance.
After 55 minutes Routledge was the latest Hamilton player to be booked. Although the Dons were in complete control on the hour mark, with them only being a goal up it was still a nervous Pittodrie.
On 65 minutes Cammy Smith replaced Peter Pawlett.
Hamilton were by now coming more into the game and through a few more bodies into the final third. Certainly the territorial stats were more even but Scott Brown still did not have a save to make.
On 70 minutes Hayes wriggled free down the left and his bullet cross hit Smith but went behind. The pace of the ball made it difficult for Cammy to direct goal ward. Then a few minutes later the Dons broke at pace but the final ball from McGinn went adrift. On 72 minutes Brown had his first save to make and did very well to keep out Tony Andreu from close range after he broke through. Really good goalkeeping. Scott had not been involved all night but produced the goods when needed. Great concentration levels.
On 77 minutes Flood threaded a nice ball through for Rooney to chase but McGovern raced off his line to make the save. The keeper was then lucky when he tried to punch a McGinn cross away. The ball could have done anywhere but thankfully for the keeper no one in a red jersey could get on the ball. McGovern certainly deserved a bit of luck for his superb performance tonight.
On 82 minutes after some indifferent refereeing that saw Hamilton get away with a number of fouls, Brown made a superb save to keep Andreu out again. Diving to his left he pushed the ball to safety. After that Hamilton put on some pressure but with Taylor in superb form the visitors never looked like scoring and the Dons saw out the game comfortably.