RESERVES | Aberdeen 3-1 Saints

Saints Reserves fell to a 3-1 defeat this afternoon at the Balmoral Stadium against Aberdeen Reserves.

Alan Maybury named a young squad for the match while opponents Aberdeen included the experienced Greg Halford and Stephen Gleeson in their starting eleven.

It was 1-0 at the break but the home side took charge in the second half racing into a 3-0 lead before Ciaran Brian pulled one back for Saints.

It was the home side who started on the front foot and after Dangana won an early corner, Saints 'keeper Ross Sinclair was quickly called into action.

From the delivery Greg Halford had an opportunity at the back post but Sinclair made a smart stop to keep him out. From the resulting corner Dangana saw his effort hacked off the line by the Saints defence.

Aberdeen continued to push and Ethan Ross was the next player to have a shot on goal but his effort was wide. Six minutes later and it was Seb Ross this time but his shot was comfortably saved by Ross Sinclair.

Saints looked most dangerous down the left flank and Euan O'Reilly caused plenty problems for the Aberdeen defence. He won a free-kick which gave his side their first opportunity but Aberdeen cleared from Marky Munro's cross.

Alan Maybury's men still hadn't tested the Aberdeen 'keeper by the time the home side's next chance came about on 25 minutes.

Virtanen knocked the ball down in the box for Dangana but the no.9's strike was saved and held by Ross Sinclair who had a busy first-half.

Saints had the ball in back of the net before they'd even registered a shot on target when Jordan Northcott headed home from close range but the goal was chopped off for offside.

Two minutes after that the deadlock was finally broken by the home side. Seb Ross did well in the box before firing a shot towards goal which was brilliantly saved by Sinclair. Gleeson followed up for the rebound but his effort was blocked, however the ball fell kindly for Virtanen who side footed home from the edge of the 18-yard-box to give Aberdeen the lead.

Euan O'Reilly looked the most likely to make something happen for Saints. First crossing dangerously into the box with no takers and then winning a corner after making a mazy run into the box.

Alan Maybury was forced into a change at half-time with Ross Sinclair - who had been unwell before the match - coming off to be replaced by Jack Wills.

And the substitute 'keeper could do nothing about the Dons' second goal which game just two minutes into the second half.

Jack Mackenzie crossed from the left hand side and it was met by the head of Seb Ross who doubled his side's lead in Cove.

Euan O'Reilly continued to be the danger man for Saints and on 55 minutes he took the ball for another run before unleashing a shot from the edge of the box which was well blocked by the Aberdeen defence.

A minute later and sub 'keeper Wills had to be on form as he produced a great save to deny Seb Ross a second goal from close range.

Saints had a glorious opportunity to half the deficit just after the hour mark when Jordan Northcott was released one-on-one with the 'keeper but he was denied by Craddock before substitute Olly Hamilton's follow up effort went over the crossbar.

Just moments after that chance things got even worse for Saints.

Jack Wilson was booked for a late challenge on Seb Ross which gave the home side a free-kick in a promising position. They worked the ball well out to the left flank which created an opportunity for Ethan Ross who had his effort well saved by Jack Wills.

However, the rebound fell to Virtanen who had a simple tap-in inside the six-yard-box to make it 3-0 to Aberdeen.

Saints pulled a goal back after 74 minutes through Ciaran Brian but it was never going to be enough to put pressure on the home side who wound down the clock on the way to a comfortable 3-1 victory.

Picture courtesy of Mal Panton / Aberdeen Football Club