Reporter Martin McConnell with his take on Wednesday’s cup defeat by the Dons…
Betfred League Cup Round 2
at New Douglas Park, SuperSeal Stadium
on Wednesday 9th August 2017 at 7.45pm.
Hamilton Academical 0 Aberdeen 1
Aberdeen edged themselves past us for the second time in three days, and secured themselves a quarter final place against Motherwell. It was a close game, with a much improved performance but there will be disappointment for fan and player alike, going out by a single goal in a match in which we more than held our own before a big midweek crowd of 3000.
Martin Canning said afterwards, “It was similar to Sunday. Although we we’re probably better than we were on Sunday and like you say, it’s small margins. We had a couple of opportunities that we don’t take and they get a ricochet from a break and get their goal. We didn’t get the rub of the green tonight again, wee Boydy’s one is going in but hit’s Ali on the line and he’s offside, which just seems typical just now and the ball not going in the back of the net.
“Rakish also has a good chance in the second half when he is through on goal. Boydy I thought was magic throughout the whole game, and had a shot as well. So, I said to the boys, ‘Am I happy after that?’ No, I’m not happy because we lost the game. Am I encouraged by what I’m seeing? Yes, I’m encouraged by what I’m seeing.’
The Dons took a lead into the break thanks to a 12-yard Kenny McLean strike, just on the cusp of half time. It was a hammer blow for an Accies side that competed well and should have seen them score but for a ridiculous goal line blunder. Aberdeen had plenty of shots from in front of goal, but nothing that overly troubled Gary Woods. Accies probably saw the best of the little second half action that there was, with Greg Docherty and Rakish Bingham going closest to finding an equaliser.
With a 2-0 opening day league defeat to the Dons just three days behind them, both managers felt confident enough in their selections to make just one change each. For Accies, Grant Gillespie came on for Ioannis Skondras and for the Dons, Mark Reynolds replaced Kari Arnason.
Accies started well in the opening ten minutes or so, giving the Dons backline something to think about, although Joe Lewis didn’t have much to worry about, Steven Boyd impressed with some good work around the fringes of the Aberdeen penalty area.
The Dons should have gone in front just before the half hour, when a Woods clearance landed right at the feet of Maynard, the Dons striker squared for Ryan Christie in front of goal, but sliced his shot wide of goal. At the other end, Accies made a quick break forward, Boyd making the run through the centre to the edge of the penalty area, then fed wide to Dougie Imrie. Boyd got the ball back and ran toward the goal, shot from close range, and in the confusion, Ali Crawford stopped the net bound strike and found himself in an offside position to boot!
With the half time whistle approaching, the Dons managed to steal a lead when Scott Wright blocked a clearance then squared for Graeme Shinnie to shoot, his effort was blocked before running kindly for Kenny McLean to drive a shot low into the corner of the net.
Accies put the disappointment behind them and went on a charge forward looking for a quick leveller, Boyd cutting the ball back for Greg Docherty to strike first time from the 18-yard line, and Joe Lewis pulling off a magnificent save that deflected the ball from going in at the top corner. From the corner that followed, Imrie rose to head over the cross bar.
With eight minutes of the second half played, Steven Boyd showed the sort of skill that followers of the 20s will be more than aware that he can produce. With a drag back he took a couple players out, then a ball wide released Rakish Bingham on an angled run on goal. The big man struck on the angle, only to see his effort go wide for a corner after Mark Reynolds launched himself into a block. From Ali’s corner, Xavier Tomas raced in to head wide of the near post.
Neither of the sides were exactly knocking on the door for another goal, but Accies showed some promise with breaks that gave the Aberdeen defence more than a little bit of trouble going into the last half hour. Accies made most of the running in the closing stages, certainly the more creative, with some great quick movement and passing in midfield.
Hamilton had one final attempt to level when Louis Longridge played in Grant Gillespie, his run took him along the 18-yard line before he checked back and curled wide of the back post. Aberdeen went close in the final seconds, when Greg Stewart headed over from a Storey set piece.
Accies: Woods, McMann, Tomas (Donati 70), Gillespie, Imrie (c) , Docherty, Bingham (Longridge 61), A. Crawford, MacKinnon (Redmond 67), S. Boyd, Sarris. Subs Unused: Skondras, Lyon, Hughes, Fulton.
Cautions: MacKinnon, Tomas, Crawford,
Aberdeen: Lewis, Logan, Shinnie, Considine, O’Connor, Reynolds, McLean, Maynard (Storey 71), Wright (Mackay-Steven 67), Tansey, Christie (Stewart 68 ). Subs Unused: Arnason, Stockley, Rogers, Harvey.
Goals: McLean 42
Referee: Nick Walsh. Assistants: Stuart. Stevenson & Michael . Banks. 4th Official: Barry Cook.