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AFC - Match Report
match report 1923-24 fixture list
Scottish Cup Second Round 
Cowdenbeath 0 - 2 Aberdeen
Kick Off:          Rankin 15, Grant 65.  
Attendance: 17,000
Venue: Central Park, Cowdenbeath
In the opening fifteen minutes at Cowdenbeath and for most of the second half the home side did the bulk of the pressing. But if Aberdeen were often in a corner they were always the likely winners. They played with ease and confidence, while Cowdenbeath, even at their best, never appeared like winners. Early in the game Pullar sent across a centre which gave trouble, Walls in the end sending narrowly past. Devlin followed with a bad finish to a pass from Wilson, who had made a good opening for the centre-forward. In contrast with these mistakes, Aberdeen's first raid produced a corner, from which Rankine headed the opening goal. Smith, on the visitors' extreme left wing, getting good support from Rankine and Maclachlan, was constantly harassing the home defence, and one great shot from him was finely saved by Stevenson. The second half opened with a strong Cowdenbeath attack, and for most of the period they had the bulk of the game. There was a lack of finish in their efforts, however, and the visiting defence was seldom in difficulty. Smith continued to be the dangerous man for Aberdeen, and combination on his side of the field led to the visitors getting a second point, which practically decided the tie. Smith crossed nicely, and Paton drove hard against the upright. The rebound came to Grant, who left Stevenson no chance to save. There was a finish in the Aberdeen play which was wanting from Cowdenbeath's efforts, and the visitors never looked like losing, even when matters were best for the Fifers. The attendance was given as 16,500, 820 being taken at he gates, and 280 at the Stand.

Source: The Scotsman, 11th February 1924

Aberdeen emerged victorious over Cowdenbeath at Cowdenbeath by 2 goals to 0, and passed into the third round of the Scottish Cup competition. The only cup tie in Fifeshire, the game attracted fully 17,000 spectators, and these were treated to a stirring tussle, in which the more methodical team won. The weather, though cold, was quite favourable for football, and enthusiasts travelled to the match by train and motor from all parts of Fifeshire. A special train from Aberdeen carried about 600 of the winning team's supporters.
Aberdeen won the toss, and MacLachlan gave his side the advantage of a fairly strong breeze. A terrific pace was set from the start, the Cowdenbeath forward's attacking right away. Jackson checked a dash through by Devlin, and the play was quickly at the other end, where Murray, harassed by Miller, had to pass back to Stevenson for relief. Cowdenbeath quickly returned to the attack, and Dorrans, after cutting in, swept the ball across the Aberdeen goal. Blackwell fisted it into the air, and in an exciting scrimmage Dick ultimately brought relief, but Birrell met the clearance to shoot narrowly past. Grant and Paton on the Aberdeen right threatened the Cowdenbeath defence, but Hopewell checked their progress, and clever footwork by the inside trio of forwards took Cowdenbeath back to the offensive. Blackwell had to clear a high ball from Devlin. Rankin took the eye with clever footwork, and, letting Smith away, the winger beat Murray and centred, but Grant just failed to reach the ball ere it went out of play for a bye-kick.


Chiefly through the forcing play of Rankin, Aberdeen kept up a vigorous offensive, and Stevenson had to save a great shot by Smith. The game again took a turn in favour of Cowdenbeath, and Dick conceded a corner in checking Wilson when that player was in the act shooting. Blackwell went out to meet the ball from the flag kick, and, with ball in hand, was charged over the line wide of the goal by Devlin for a second corner, off which MacLachlan brought relief. Rankin and Smith again carried the play to the other end, and from the winger's cross Paton forced a corner off Hopewell. Grant placed the ball accurately from the flag, and Rankin, located near the far upright, headed into the net past Stevenson, who made a frantic effort to save. This was after fifteen minutes play.


Following this success, Aberdeen promised to take a grip of the game, but although their forwards were lively, especially Rankin and Smith, they were kept out of range of Stevenson. Encouraged by their supporters, the Cowdenbeath forwards ultimately got going again, and clever passing by the inside trio culminated in Blackwell having to field a tremendous shot by Leonard. The Aberdeen goalkeeper was kept busy for a time, and following a free kick against Jackson just outside the penalty area, he had to clear from Birrell whilst beset by opponents. Smith again got going for Aberdeen, and carried the ball past all opposition almost to the goal line when he returned it to Rankin, and that player's hard drive appeared to be fisted out by Murray, but the referee failed to observe the incident. Another dash by Devlin looked ominous for Aberdeen. He beat both Forsyth and Hutton, but the left back made a recovery. Once more Smith got away, and on this occasion Stevenson had to field his shot from near the corner flag.
The Aberdeen forwards, finely backed up by the players in the rear, maintained the attack, and Paton had a shot blocked by Birrell. Play, however, was anything but one-sided. Pullar got away on a brilliant run, and after cutting in had his shot deflected by Hutton for a corner, Rankin clearing. Following this, the Cowdenbeath left came into prominence, and Wilson was about to shoot at close range when Forsyth cleverly dispossessed him. MacLachlan got the Aberdeen left wing away, and Stevenson at full length stopped a terrific shot by Smith. The pace continued hot until the interval, with Aberdeen retaining their lead.


Cowdenbeath were quick to utilise the advantage of the wind on resuming, and in the opening five minutes there was a thrilling duel between the home forwards and the Aberdeen defence. Blackwell had to stop an express delivery from Wilson, and Devlin followed quickly with a terrific shot, which the Aberdeen goalkeeper at full length was just able to reach. Try as they might, the Aberdeen defence could not shake off the eager home attackers, and Blackwell was again called upon to clear from Dorrans. It was left for MacLachlan to bring relief. He let Smith away, and the winger centred accurately, but Paton, with only Stevenson to beat, shot weakly past. Another raid by the Cowdenbeath right brought out a corner, off which Birrell shot wildly over. Smith, who was brilliant on the Aberdeen left, again came into prominence, but this time his centre was cleared by Birrell. Both goals were threatened in turn, and then, after twenty minutes' play, Aberdeen obtained a second goal. Smith beat both McGuire and Murray to centre on the run. Paton met the ball to crash it against the upright, but Grant caught the rebound to send it to the back the net. Following this the Aberdeen left wing and MacLachlan served up some clever combination, and Murray and Hopewell were frequently in difficulties. Cowdenbeath, however, never lost an opportunity to harass the visitors' defence, and Blackwell had to save in quick succession from Leonard and Devlin. In the closing stages Aberdeen were well held, but their defence was equal to all the calls made upon it. and although Blackwell was often in action, they easily retained their lead.


It was a most interesting struggle. Aberdeen won deservedly, but they were flattered by the margin of two goals. Cowdenbeath's display was a credit to Second Division football, and it was only Aberdeen's superior craft that told. There was not a passenger in the Aberdeen defence, in which each gave of their best. Smith and Rankin, were the outstanding forwards on the field, and their play contributed largely to Aberdeen's victory. Cowdenbeath gave a plucky and clever display. In defence they were best served by Stevenson, Hopewell, and Birrell, and in attack by Leonard, Devlin, and Dorrans. The net receipts, after deducting tax, amounted to 573.

Source: Press & Journal, 11th February 1924

N.B. The Glasgow Herald of 11th February 1924 gave the crowd as 17,000 and drawings of 495 which seems a more likely sum than the figure reported in The Scotsman. However, the P&J reckoned it was 573. evidently some confusion somewhere.
Cowdenbeath Teamsheet:  Stevenson; Murray, Hopewell; McGuire, Burrell, Walls; Pullar, Dorens, Devlin, Leonard, Wilson


Aberdeen Teamsheet:  Blackwell, Hutton, Forsyth, Dick, Jackson, MacLachlan, Grant, Paton, Miller, Rankin, Smith.

Unused Subs:


Referee: Andrew Allan, Glasgow

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