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AFC - Match Report
match report 1938-39 fixture list
Div 1 (Old) 
Arbroath 0 - 2 Aberdeen
Kick Off:  3:00 PM         Nicholson 49 (Pen), Smith 90.  
Attendance: 8,000
Venue: Gayfield Park, Arbroath

Dons' Forwards Make Arbroath Victory Hard: Nicholson Stars

The score of 2-0 does not convey just how hard Aberdeen had to fight to beat Arbroath at Gayfield on Saturday. It was only in the last minute of the game that Aberdeen got their second goal.
The Dons had the better of the exchanges in the first half, but Arbroath held the advantage territorially after the interval, and always threatened snatch the equalising goal.
There was no comparison between the teams in football skill and general tactics. Aberdeen were far ahead of their opponents in these respects, yet they were no more dangerous. The Pittodrie forwards were clever. Their positional play was good and they combined smartly, but they failed to translate sound approach work into goals.


Arbroath relied on dash and enthusiasm, but although they often threatened danger they were even less effective than Aberdeen when it came to the all-important matter of goal-getting.
Aberdeen opened the scoring four minutes after the start of the second half and they had to fight tenaciously to retain their lead. The goal came from a penalty award.
Gavin handled in an Aberdeen attack and Nicholson took the spot-kick. He fired the ball straight the 'keeper, who pushed it out, and it was only by a quick follow-up that the centre-half managed to retrieve the situation.
The Dons' second goal came somewhat unexpectedly. A quick and accurate pass by Armstrong made Smith hustle to beat the back in a race for the ball. The winger ran on and with splendid judgment beat Robertson from a difficult angle.

Defence Difficulties,/p> Aberdeen's defence did well, but did not altogether inspire confidence. Johnstone in goal escapes criticism. He brought off a number of brilliant saves.
Adey never got tight grip of Gould. His positional play was weak, but he tried hard. Graham, who came in for Cooper at right-back, made promising debut in First Division football. He played with the coolness of a veteran and kept close watch on Christie.
Nicholson, however, was the outstanding Aberdeen defender. He refused to get flurried in the hottest attack. Dunlop, at right half, gave sound display and was particularly effective in forcing on the attack. Thomson, on the other flank, was never at ease.
Both McKenzie and Hamilton, the Aberdeen inside forwards, worked hard to keep the attack going and both supplied their wing men with promising passes. At the same time they could have displayed a little more enterprise in the matter of finishing.
Armstrong, an energetic leader, distributed play well, but when he attempted break through on his own he found Gavin an insurmountable barrier.
Smith, on the right wing, tried hard, but found it difficult to shake of Becci. Strauss on the other wing seldom threatened danger. He has still to recover his former vigour and punch.
Arbroath's defence is not polished, but it does not lack determination. Robertson was a good 'keeper and Fordyce reliable back. Honours, however, went to Gavin, the former Aberdeen centre-half. It was a pity that he marred a grand display by giving away the penalty.
McInally was the cleverest forward. He could hold the ball, and when he released it he invariably found his man. Brand was a lively leader, but found it practically impossible to elude Nicholson. Gould was the more dangerous winger.

Source: Press & Journal, 12th September 1938

Arbroath Teamsheet:  Robertson; Fordyce, Becci; Adams, Gavin, Urquhart; Gould, Mclnally, Brand, Devlin, Christie


Aberdeen Teamsheet:  Johnstone, Graham, Adey, Dunlop, Nicholson, Thomson, Smith, Hamilton, Armstrong, McKenzie, Strauss.

Unused Subs:


Referee: J. M. Martin, Ladybank

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