Aberdeen this afternoon beat Arbroath 7-0 at Gayfield in their final pre-season game before this Thursday's Europa League Qualifier first leg.
In fairness to the Third Division side, they have only recently begun their pre-season training but this was still an impressive Aberdeen performance and manager Derek McInnes will be delighted with the player's sharpness as they head into Thursday's massive game. Cammy Smith missed the match this afternoon with a slight strain but he will be should back training on Monday.
RedWeb Match report
For the Dons final pre-season friendly ahead of their First Round Europa Cup Qualifying match on Thursday Aberdeen lined up with Langfield in goal, Logan at right back with Reynolds and Anderson in the centre of defence and Jonny Hayes at left back. Jack and Flood were the sitting midfielders with McGinn wide left, Robson on the right and Pawlett in behind Rooney.
Jonny Hayes has impressed at left back before and as early as the first minute he almost created a goal when he made a positive run into the box but his cross was too strong for everyone. Aberdeen completed controlled the possession in the opening stages and on 5 minutes they won the first corner of the game. Robson's ball was knocked out to Hayes at the edge of the area and although the Irishman did not catch his shot as sweetly as he would have wanted, the ball was heading goalward until it was deflected just wide and behind for another corner.
On 8 minutes Willo Flood had time and space about 25 yards out so he tried a shot which beat keeper Scott Morrison but rebounded off the upright. Seconds later Niall McGinn headed a Robson cross just past the post but on 11 minutes Aberdeen took the lead. From a Robson free kick Russell Anderson, located at the back post, knocked the ball across the face of goal and Mark Reynolds was on hand to head the ball into the corner of the net.
The steady rain became a downpour on the quarter hour mark. Although it caused the healthy crowd to run for cover the slick surface was certainly an advantage for the Aberdeen players. The Dons continued to dominate and forced a number of corners but the Arbroath defence held firm. New Lichties boss Allan Moore will have been pleased with the performance of centre half Craig Johnstone and also Kevin Nicoll impressed in the middle of the park. Both players prevented the scoreline from getting silly in the end.
On 25 minutes Ryan Jack poked one just past the post and then on the half hour Aberdeen got a second. Niall McGinn put in a great cross from the right and Barry Robson's brave header from close range beat Morrison. Two minutes Robson won the Dons a free kick on the edge of the area. As the wall lined up it looked like Robson would take it with his left foot but McGinn in fact swung the ball round the other side of the wall which fooled everyone, the keeper tried to get across but was helped out by his right post which came to the rescue. The ball rebounded across the face of goal but no one in a red jersey was there to prod it home.
On 36 minutes Hayes and Flood combined neatly and although Willo collected Jonny's neat chip he over ran the ball and the keeper was able to gather. A few minutes later the Dons broke down the same wing again and this time McGinn and Pawlett combined. Peter picked up the through ball and should have done better with his cross as he was in acres of space.
On 41 minutes Aberdeen broke quickly again and great play by Hayes set Logan free. The right back was forced wide and well tackled by Craig Johnstone and the ball went out for a throw-in. However before the Arbroath defence could regroup Logan threw it to Robson, who cut inside, beat a couple of defenders, made a neat turn before hitting a low shot that wrong footed the keeper. 3-0 was probably a fair reflection of the Dons dominance during the first half.
On 44 minutes Arbroath had their first shot at goal but Scott McBride's low effort wad comfortably saved by Langfield.
At half time the only change saw Russell Anderson being replaced by Ashton Taylor.
On 50 minutes a slick Aberdeen move set McGinn free. Niall had time to look up and tried to pick out Rooney but his pass was over hit and the chance gone. A few minutes later Pawlett played a neat back-heeler into the path of Jack but his low curling went just past the post. The midfielder looked frustrated he had not hit the target.
On 54 minutes a Robson cross was not cleared and Pawlett picked it up. Peter showed good composure to side step a defender before coolly slotting home. Aberdeen had by now stepped it up a gear and some of the interplay between McGinn, Jack, Flood and Pawlett was excellent. On 58 minutes after another good passing move the ball was shifted to Robson and his shot from the edge of the area went inches past.
On the hour mark Mark Reynolds was replaced by Andrew Considine. Then on 62 minutes it was five. Willo Flood picked the ball up about 30 yards out. The Arbroath players were tiring so no one was able to close him down quickly enough. Willo decided to hit a shot which deflected off the unfortunate Johnny Lindsay and past the helpless Scott Morrison.
With about twenty minutes to go Nicky Low replaced Barry Robson.
Adam Rooney got on the score sheet on 75 minutes. Hayes beat his man from a standing start before chipping over a good cross. The defence could only knock the ball up in the air and the ever alert Rooney got in a cheeky little back header with beat the stranded keeper. Before the game could restart Derek McInnes brought on the rest of his bench - Shaughnessy, Storie, Wright, McManus, Murray and Masson replaced McGinn, Pawlett, Jack, Hayes, Rooney and Flood.
The youngsters impressed, Scott Wirght in particular looked lively and he probably should have been awarded a penalty. The Arbroath defenders, whose legs had done by now, not surprisingly really struggled to deal with Scott's lightening pace. On 80 minutes Murray put over a great ball across the face of goal which Wright was not far away from and then on 82 minutes a Murray corner was headed just wide by Taylor. On 87 minutes it was seven. Nicky Low made a brilliant tackle on McWalter before putting McManus in the clear. Declan had time to look up and fire the ball in off the post.
Referee Kevin Clancy sensibly blew up shortly after that. A very useful work out for the Dons, now for Europe.