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match report | semi-final

April 14, 2018 4:49 pm Author: Malcolm Panton

 

William Hill Scottish Cup Semi-Final | Hampden | Motherwell 3 Aberdeen 0

With Shinnie, McLean and Logan all missing the game through suspension, the manager brought in Dom Ball at right back, Arnason went into at centre half as part of a back four, Chidi Nwakali was in centre mid and Adam Rooney partnered May up top.

The Dons almost repeated their trick of last season by scoring a very early goal. Greg Stewart took a heavy knock in the first minute but 30 seconds later, after a throw in down the left, he found himself moving up the by-line after a neat piece of skill. His ball into the six yard box was just missed by May. Rooney at the back post then headed the ball back across goal but Arnason could not get a touch before Christie finally floated the ball out of play.

Aberdeen had started well and enjoyed more of the possession in the fist ten minutes without troubling Carson.

On 11 minutes Stewart again made inroads down the right. His cut back was cleared before Dom Ball lofted in a cross which Carson claimed under pressure. A minute later Motherwell won the first corner of the afternoon after good play by Grimshaw down the ‘Well right. May only half cleared the low delivery at the near post and then Rose ballooned it over the bar.

On 16 minutes the ball looked to have gone out of play but Ball was allowed to continued. He linked up with May who from an ambitious angle sliced a shot well wide. Aberdeen continued to look the more dominant side, but they could not find a killer pass inside the final third.

After a positive start, all was about to change as the ceiling fell in.

On 18 minutes a long throw by Charles Dunne was palmed away by Lewis. But Tait, who appeared to use an arm to control the ball, got in down the left and had time to squared it for Main who tapped into the empty net. Ball who had stopped as he thought it was a foul, appealed for hand ball, but referee Clancy waved awarded the goal. Four minutes later it was two. McKenna sliced a clearance and the ball fell kindly for Bowman inside the area who pushed Arnason out of the way and at the second attempt the striker was able to bundle the ball past Lewis who had parried his first attempt.

It had been absolute nightmare five minute spell, not helped by the six officials as one of them should have spotted the hand ball.

After 24 minutes another chance for Bowman as Aberdeen tried to play offside. He beat Arnason but this time Lewis made the save and held on.

On 27 minutes Ball’s cross was headed only as far Nwakali but he fired well over the bar. The Dons desperately needed a goal before the interval but any time they did get into a promising area they could not find the quality needed.

And it was Motherwell who looked more like adding to their lead.

On 32 minutes Bowman was almost in again but this time Clancy spotted an infringement. Another opening for Motherwell a minute later from a corner. The ball fell to Kipre on the edge of the area but he curled a shot over.

With ten minutes of the half to go Christie worked a shooting chance but decided to play the ball wide to Considine and his cross was easily dealt with. The Dons desperately needed Ryan to get into the game if they were to find a way back. On 39 minutes Stewart drove in a cross but Christie and Rooney failed to get a flick on it.

On 42 minutes Chidi’s game was over as he pulled up. He was replaced by Gary Mackay-Steven. He almost made an instant impact. On the stroke of half time Gary did brilliantly to set up May with a neat through ball but the strikers shot went agonisingly past the post. It was a massive moment in the game and would have completely changed the dynamics of the half time team talks.

HT: Motherwell 2 Aberdeen 0

The second half started at a slow pace which was certainly suiting Motherwell. Aberdeen again had good possession but they could not get Christie into the game.

On 53 minutes Considine had to deal with a dangerous free kick from Cadden. The same player took the resulting corner which very nearly led to a goal. Rose made a late run into the front of the six yard box and won his header.

Dom Ball did very well to react and clear the ball to safety.

After 55 minutes O’Connor was the first booking of the afternoon for a late foul on Main. A minute later Stewart’s cross field pass very nearly found GMS. All the move petered out it did at least lift the Red Army.

On the hour mark the Dons went for broke. Dom Ball was replaced by Niall McGinn. On 62 minutes McKenna did well to get a move going. He found Stewart – Scott and Greg were probably the only two players to get pass marks today – he played it wide to McGinn who fed Rooney. Although Adam was at a tight angle the striker forced Carson into a smart stop with a well hit shot. Aberdeen finally had a corner but Clancy blew for an infringement when the ball came over.

The Dons were just beginning to get a head of steam up when on 65 minutes it was game over. A slip by Arnason allowed Main the chance to run in from the half way line and he coolly slotted past Lewis.

The last twenty minutes really were a tough watch.

On 71 minutes McGinn fired over the bar after Christie got in behind the defence. Adam Rooney then worked an opening before pushing a shot wide. Ryan Christie put a free kick into the wall and frustratingly Stewart was halted from a run in on goal for an alleged hand ball. The officials managed to spot that one.

With ten minutes to go Cosgrove came on for Rooney. Scott McKenna was then booked for a foul on substitute Ciftci who came on for Bowman.

On 83 minutes McGinn wasted the best Aberdeen chance of the afternoon when he had time and space but blasted a shot over.

Another massively disappointing experience at Hampden for the 12,000 strong Red Army and everyone connected with AFC. Despite being helped by the handball decision, Motherwell fully deserve to be in the final.

FT: Motherwell 3 Aberdeen 0

Stats

Motherwell: Trevor Carson, Richard Tait, Liam Grimshaw (Ross MacLean 88), Chris Cadden, Curtis Main (George Newell 86), Ryan Bowman (Nadir Ciftci 78), Andy Rose, Charles Dunne, Tom Aldred, Cedric Kipre, Allan Campbell.

Subs not used: Russell Griffiths, Gael Bigirimana, Elliot Frear, Barry McGuire.

Aberdeen: Joe Lewis, Dominic Ball (Niall McGinn 61), Kari Arnason, Scott McKenna, Andrew Considine; Greg Stewart, Anthony O’Connor, Chidi Nwakali (Gary Mackay-Steven 44), Ryan Christie; Stevie May, Adam Rooney (Sam Cosgrove 78).

Subs not used: Freddie Woodman, Mark Reynolds, Dean Campbell, Scott Wright.

Goals: Main 20, 66 Bowman 22

Yellow Cards: O’Connor, McKenna, Stewart

 

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