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Aberdeen v Dundee | preview

December 3, 2015 7:49 pm Author: Aberdeen FC

Derek McInnes

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“The second half performance against Ross County was exactly what we were looking for. It was strong, it was aggressive. It looked as if we played with a point to prove. We should always have a point to prove. Any team that can beat Ross County 3-0 in a forty-five minute period is doing well because they are a good team and they showed that in the first half. Second half we really got after them and showed them what we are capable of. As I said on Saturday the players deserve a lot of credit. That game is gone now but it is important we try and replicate a lot of that good work on Saturday and going forward.

“I have seen Dundee’s recent games against St Johnstone and Hearts, two tough away fixtures for any team. They have scored in each of those games, Rory Loy’s goal at Tynecastle was an excellent goal, and Kane Hemming’s goal against St Johnstone the other night was also very good. So they have that capability of scoring goals. In both games although they maybe did not do enough to win the games they certainly more than earned a point at two very difficult venues.

“They normally play with a front three and they are all capable of scoring goals so they have an attacking threat. They also have a lot of experience. Paul has put together a decent squad. They are a team who can fight it out with anyone on any given Saturday.

“Dundee’s stats show that they don’t lose many games. You normally get tight games against them. The game against them at Pittodrie earlier this season was tight and we just managed to edge it. On Saturday we will have to try and get those little percentages to go our way if we are to win the game.

“Every game brings another challenge. You learn about your team all the time. You try and put consecutive wins together at different periods during the season, we know you can’t win every game. A few weeks ago a win seemed such a hard thing to do but the last two home games have been very strong performances. At Hamilton we got an away point without being anywhere near our best. I think what we are looking for, especially when we are on the road, is that we are really convincing with our work and we try and make sure we are difficult to play against first and foremost. 

“Ryan Jack trained today. That is the first time he has trained with the squad since picking up the injury. He has been away working very hard with the physio’s but today was his first involvement back with the boys and he came through training. As it stands, as long as there is no reaction, and that is what we have always got to be wary of, he will travel with the squad tomorrow. If he does that I will be very pleased because Ryan is an important player for us. Barry Robson will miss out. He is progressing but his ankle won’t be ready for this game. Josh Parker took a knock in training and he is a doubt. Everyone else is fit and ready to go and ready to try and win another three points to add to the three we won last week.” 
 

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Storm-ing performance from The Dons

December 5, 2015 3:00 pm Author: Aberdeen FC

Desmond fails to derail dominant Dons

Aberdeen continued their fine form from the second half of last week's match into the first half of this week's match with a blistering performance in very challenging conditions. McGinn and Rooney gave Aberdeen a deserved 2-0 lead at half-time. After the break McLean and Pawlett went close whilst at the other end The Dons defence held firm to comfortably see out the match.

Match Report

Aberdeen made one change to the side that staged a stunning second half comeback to defeat Ross County at Pittodrie last week. The change came at the heart of the defence with Paul Quinn dropping out of the squad due to a virus and Ash Taylor taking his place in the starting XI. The Dons were also handed a boost as Ryan Jack was deemed fit enough to claim a place on the bench after a spell out injured.

Ward retained his place between the sticks and a back four of Logan, Taylor, Reynolds and Considine were tasked with keeping his afternoon quiet. Flood, Shinnie, McLean, Hayes and McGinn were selected in midfield with Rooney up front.

A couple of former Dons were included in the line-up for the home side with Scott Bain in goals and Nicky Low in midfield. Some horrendous weather conditions caused a number of matches around the country to be postponed but the Dens Park pitch was in good condition for kick-off.

The weather in Dundee was pretty dismal and the home side opted to switch sides at kick-off to try and use the conditions to their advantage. The Dons started on the front foot but Dundee had a real chance after four minutes with a free-kick just outside the area. Low’s delivery was an enticing one but it went through the air unchallenged for a goal-kick.

Up the other end McGInn won a free-kick for Aberdeen 30 yards from goal but his effort went straight into the wall. Moments later The Dons had a free-kick in an identical area and McLean took charge of the situation. This time his effort was struck with power and forced Bain into action to tip the ball over the bar.

A corner from Hayes was turned towards goal by McGinn, the effort was cleared off the line and sparked a frantic goalmouth scramble which ended with Bain turning a shot from Considine past the post.

The Dons didn’t let Dundee catch their breath and made the corner count in the 9th minute.  A quick delivery from Hayes was flicked on by Taylor and McGinn took advantage as he scrambled the ball past Bain from 10 yards.

McGinn was causing all sorts of problems for the opposition and this time it was Rooney who tried to take advantage of a cross by laying the ball off for Shinnie just inside the area. Shinnie’s shot looked to have taken a deflection as it went over the bar but a goal-kick was given.

The Dons were dominant but Dundee were presented with an opportunity to level with a free-kick 20 yards from goal in the 17th minute after a foul on Low. Low stepped up to strike the free-kick but the wall did its job and flicked the ball behind for a corner which was wasted by the home side. 

With the benefit of watching the footage back Dundee would probably count themselves as being unlucky not to have had a penalty for the foul but it did not look inside the box in real time. It would have been a difficult one for Bobby Madden to have given.

After 20 minutes the match began to settle down with Dundee seeing a bit more of the ball but some good pressure from The Dons was limiting them to hopeful long balls into the channels for Hemmings to chase.

In the 25th minute that type of pressure got the ultimate reward for Aberdeen as McLean won the ball in the Dundee half to kick-off a counter-attack. Aberdeen rushed forward in numbers and waited for their moment, the ball was worked wide to Hayes and his cross was perfect for Rooney who was left with a tap-in from inside the six yard box.

Just before the half hour mark Aberdeen had a free-kick in the Dundee half which was turned towards goal by Rooney but he was unable to generate the power or direction to trouble Bain.

In the 35th minute Hayes attempted a strike from 30 yards which Bain was forced to turn round the post.  The fact that Hayes was willing to take the strike on typified the confidence that was apparent in every aspect of Aberdeen’s play. Hayes took the corner and Rooney was again on the end of it but this time he turned the ball wide of the post under pressure from a dark blue jersey.

The home side were struggling but Low looked to have been spurred on by the long range effort from Hayes as he attempted one of his own, just over the bar.

With five minutes of the first half remaining Niall McGinn forced another corner, the delivery was just too high for Taylor. Logan became the first player to go into the book for a rash challenge on the halfway line on Stewart.

A lovely ball from Hayes set Aberdeen on their way again in the final minute of the half but they weren’t given an opportunity to extend their lead after McGinn won yet another corner as Bobby Madden blew the whistle for half-time.

It was an excellent half from Aberdeen which showed the quality that The Dons have throughout the side. The front four of McGinn, McLean, Hayes and Rooney were linking up so well that it would have been difficult for any side in the league to have coped. Despite having a two goal lead it looked clear that Dundee could only improve on their first half performance and would come out fighting to get something from the game.

Niall McGinn was replaced at half-time by Peter Pawlett. The substitution was presumably made as a precautionary measure as McGinn was excellent during the first half.

Dundee had the first chance of the half when a free-kick was headed towards goal but it was a comfortable save for Ward. Hayes raced up the other end and was brought down by Extabeguren which earned the Dundee defender a booking.

A cross from wide left was again put in the direction of Rooney but on this occasion his header ended up wide of the near post.

In the 52nd minute Stewart had his first real opening as he cut in from the right to the edge of the area, his shot lacked the power to really prove difficult for Ward but it gave The Dons a reminder of the potential threat that the home side carried.

A couple of minutes later Stewart was the driving force again as the ball fell kindly for Loy on the edge of the area, his shot was pretty weak but the home side had already shown more than they did for the entire first half.

Up the other end Pawlett shuffled past his marker and hit a strike at goal, Bain pushed his effort back out and it came too quickly for McLean who volleyed over from 12 yards. McGinn had found real joy down that side and it was encouraging for The Dons to see Pawlett repeating the trick.

Dundee constructed a quick counter-attack but Holt was unable to combine accuracy with power as he rifled the ball across goal and past the post from inside the area after good link-up play.

With an hour played Dundee were certainly enjoying more possession and at this point they introduced Harkins to the play as a replacement for Ross. The next real opportunity went to Aberdeen as Pawlett found space in the area for a strike after showing some great movement to lose his man. He opted for power and was unfortunate to see the shot clip the bar and head over.

Pawlett was oozing confidence and glided past his man and into the box once again at pace, this time Bain turned his shot round the post as The Dons looked to put the game beyond doubt with a quarter of the match remaining.

Dundee remained a threat and Ward was forced into his first proper save of the match to turn an effort from Hemmings over the bar. Low took the corner but Aberdeen got to the first, second and third ball and were able to clear.   

The home side were given another opportunity to put the ball in the area after Reynolds was harshly judged to have fouled Hemmings when both players had a hold of each other. Nevertheless, The Dons were able to clear again.

More great play from Pawlett opened up space for Aberdeen as Hayes flicked the ball over the top for McLean but his cross was cut out at the near post. With 15 minutes remaining Rooney was replaced by Goodwillie. The striker could be well pleased with his afternoon’s work as he left the field to a standing ovation from The Red Army.

The Dons managed the next ten minutes or so well as Dundee weren’t allowed to threaten.  In the 86th minute they did have another opening though and it was from Stewart again. The winger drifted inside to the edge of the area but again the finish was lacking as he curled the ball over the bar.

There was time for another chance for Aberdeen to within the 90 minutes as Pawlett broke at pace again before playing in Hayes. His low cross was turned away from goal and it would be his last action of the game before being replaced by Frank Ross.

As the board went up to show 3 minutes of added time Ward was called into action to keep out Hemmings. Some slack play 30 yards from goal allowed Dundee another opportunity but Ward was again equal to the effort from McGowan.

That was the last real action of the game as The Dons claimed a clean sheet and a well-deserved three points at Dens Park with a dominant performance.

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