The Aberdeen U20s travelled to Peterhead this afternoon to play their first game in Scotland of the pre-season campaign. Paul Sheerin's side took part in three bounce games in Austria, winning two and losing one and they were to lose this afternoon against the Scottish League One side. It was a disappointing performance from the young Dons who failed to create any real chances and that is very unlike them - last season they scored 90 goals. At the other end Scott Brown had an excellent game, making five very good saves.
Paul Sheerin's side lined up with Brown in goal, Jamie Henry at right back, Rose and Culjak were in central defence with Sam Robertson at left back. Storie and new arrival Dylan Thomas were in central midfield with Wright on the right and Ross on the left. Smith played off Shankland upfront. The home side, with ex Dons Ross, Strachan, Brown and McAllister in the starting eleven were the better side in the opening exchanges but were unable to trouble Scott Brown. With a strong wind behind them Jim McInally's side continued to dominate and on 20 minutes they took the lead. A clever ball over the top by Stevenson picked out the run of McAllister who managed to get in behind Rose and the experienced striker used his strength to hold off his marker before placing the ball over the advancing Brown. A good finish. A few minutes later Stevenson troubled Brown with a low free kick but the keeper was alert to the danger.
Then on 27 minutes Brown produced a fantastic double save. A ball over the top once again allowed McAllister to get a shot away at goal. Making a low stop down to his right Brown managed to parry the ball away but Nicky Riley got to the ball ahead of captain Culjak and he looked certain to score as he had an empty net to aim at but somehow Brown managed to get across and get enough of a touch to deflect the ball behind. Just on the stroke of half time Storie created room for a shot and he flashed his just effort just over the bar. It was a good shot from the Scotland U19 International which had Graeme Smith scrambling, but it was the only time all afternoon the Peterhead keeper looked troubled.
After the break the young Dons were slightly better but the home side had by far the better chances. On 51 minutes a mistake at the back allowed former Inverness CT player Shane Sutherland room on the edge of area and he unselfishly set up McAllister but his shot was weak. Then just before the hour mark another great save from Brown. The ball was well worked to Jordan Brown who made a great late run into the box, something he did so often for the Aberdeen U20s, but Scott Brown got out quickly and spread himself well to make the block and then Riley hit the rebound over the bar. On the hour Peterhead made their third substitution and number 17 (trialist) straight away forced Brown into another good save, this time the team had to dive full length to his right. Five minutes later Paul Sheerin brought on Lewis Dunbar and Scotland youth player Arron Norris and they replaced Welsh schoolboy internationalist Thomas and Scotland U17 star Frank Ross. During this spell there were a lot of changes which as ever in pre-season games affected the flow of the match. The home side now had three trialists on including former Don Scott Ferries.
On 65 minutes Cammy Smith made a good run forward but just could not find Shankland with his pass. It was a frustrating day for both attacking players who linked up so well for the SPFL Youth League Champions last season. On 75 minutes a ball into the Dons box held up nicely in the wind for sub Adam Scott to attack and his header was tipped wide by a flying Brown. Then Scott beat the offside trap but again Brown could not be beaten, getting out quickly to block. In the closing stages the Dons pushed hard for an equaliser but nothing was working for them in the final third of the pitch, which was unusual to see. Shankland almost created a half chance when he barged his way into the area but Smith managed to gather the ball at the second attempt. On 83 minutes Henry was replaced by Bruce Anderson, one of the latest players to make the step up from the U17s. In the closing stages Brown made yet another one on one save. Despite the disappointing team performance Scott Brown can be very satisfied with his afternoon's work.
Smith, Strachan, Noble, Ross, Gilchrist, Dzierzawski. Stevenson, Brown, McAllister, Sutherland, Riley
Unused Subs: Jarvie, Blockley, Rodgers, Scott, Lawrence, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist
Aberdeen Teamsheet Brown
65).Unused Subs: Youngson, Mutch.
Venue: Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead