Betfred League Cup: Aberdeen 1-0 Saints (22.9.16)

The Dons scored a cruel 90th minute winner through substitute Adam Rooney to finally break down a St. Johnstone side who had done well to keep the home side at bay until those dying minutes of the match.

However, it was Saints who had looked the more likely to score as the match reached it's conclusion, with midfielder David Wotherspoon coming close on two occasions, the first being an goal that was chalked off for offside and a second where his excellent free kick was tipped onto the woodwork by Joe Lewis in the Aberdeen goal.

A hard one to take for Saints but manager Tommy Wright will be looking for his side to bounce back straight away in their Scottish Premiership match at Hamilton Accies on Sunday afternoon.

MATCH REPORT

Pittodrie was the destination on Thursday evening for Saints as they took on Aberdeen in the quarter final of the Betfred Cup. Tommy Wright made four changes to the side that started Saturday’s 1-0 win against Hearts as Liam Craig, Michael Coulson and Graham Cummins dropped to the bench while Richard Foster was cup tied. They were replaced by David Wotherspoon, Danny Swanson, Liam Gordon and Joe Gormley, who was making his first start since joining on loan from Peterborough United last month. Derek McInnes made two changes to the Aberdeen side that won 3-1 at Dundee on Sunday as Wes Burns and Jayden Stockley came into the starting line-up to replace Niall McGinn and Adam Rooney who both dropped to the bench. However, in the warm up Jonny Hayes picked up an injury and was replaced by Niall McGinn in the starting line-up, Scott Wright took McGinn’s place on the bench.

It was the home side that crafted the first opportunity at goal after 6 minutes as Jayden Stockley slipped the ball to Graeme Shinnie who had a shot at goal blocked by Liam Gordon.

James Maddison was the first person in referee’s Craig Thomson’s book on 7 minutes for a foul on Murray Davidson. The free kick was taken by David Wotherspoon and his ball into the box was cleared only as far as Danny Swanson who fired an effort over.

Saints created a good opening on 13 minutes as Steven MacLean sent the ball out wide to Wotherspoon who delivered a good ball into the box which Joe Gormley was inches away from making a connection with.

Aberdeen then went straight up the other end and Paul Paton made a great diving block to deny Maddison before Logan followed up with a shot from distance which went wide.

On 16 minutes Liam Gordon turned a Wes Burns shot behind for a corner before clearing the corner. Then a minute later Gordon was involved in the thick of the action again this time clearing a Stockley knockdown.

Good linkup play on 21 minutes saw Swanson slip the ball to MacLean who chipped his effort over the bar.

With 32 minutes played a pinpointed ball from Wotherspoon found Swanson whose shot from a tight angle was easily gathered by Joe Lewis in The Dons goal.

It was an entertaining half and a minute later Aberdeen created another opportunity as Kenny McLean unleashed a low effort which was brilliantly cut-out by Steven Anderson.

With 11 minutes of the first half remaining Swanson sent Joe Gormley on his way however, he was halted in his tracks by Shinnie who was booked for the challenge.

The last chance of the first half fell to the home side as Maddison sent Niall McGinn free down the left and the Northern Ireland internationalist delivered a good ball into the box which picked out Burns who volleyed wide.

The Dons got the second underway and McGinn created space for himself on 47 minutes before crossing into the box however, his delivery was too high for Burns who was unable to make a connection with the ball.

A minute later Saints were on the attack as Swanson advanced down the left before cutting inside to have a shot which went over.

Aberdeen were awarded a free kick on 51 minutes following a foul on Shinnie by Paton for which he was booked. Maddison took the free kick and he sent an inviting ball into the box which failed to find any takers as it went behind for a goal kick.

Saints came very close to opening the scoring on 52 minutes as substitute Michael Coulson setup Swanson who unleashed a powerful strike from distance that went inches over.

On 61 minutes a Maddison corner picked out the unmarked McLean who volleyed over; a good chance for The Dons.

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A great run by Swanson on 68 minutes saw him slip the ball to Wotherspoon who was one-on-one with the keeper before slotting it into the net however, the goal was disallowed for offside against the Saints midfielder.

With just under 10 minutes remaining Aberdeen were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area following a foul by Gordon on McGinn. The free kick was taken by McLean however; his effort was well gathered by Zander Clark.

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Saints came within inches of scoring on 87 minutes as they were awarded a free kick following a foul on Wotherspoon by Andrew Considine. The free kick was taken by Wotherspoon and his effort was brilliantly tipped onto the post by Joe Lewis in The Dons goal.

Then as the match entered the 90th minute Aberdeen took the lead as Shinnie whipped a ball into the box and substitute Adam Rooney rose to plant a header past Clark.

With time against them Saints tried to find a way back into the match. However, Aberdeen could have doubled their lead in added on time as Peter Pawlett broke forward before slipping the ball to McGinn however, he shot straight at Clark as The Dons saw the match out to progress to the semi-finals.

Man of the Match: Liam Gordon

Aberdeen: Lewis, Logan, Taylor, O’Connor, Considine, Shinnie, McLean, Maddison (Reynolds 90), McGinn, Burns (Pawlett 72), Stockley (Rooney 72) Unused Substitutes: Alexander (GK), Storie, Wright, Storey Booked: Maddison, Shinnie Scorers: Rooney (90)

Saints: Clark, Anderson, Davidson, MacLean, Wotherspoon, Swanson (Craig 76), Shaughnessy, Paton (Kane 90), Gormley (Coulson 48), Gordon, Easton Unused Substitutes: Mannus (GK), Alston, Cummins, Comrie Booked: Shaughnessy, Wotherspoon, Paton, Swanson, Davidson Referee: Craig Thomson Attendance: 8,829

Match Report by Daryl Scott