Aberdeen U20s put in an excellent performance this evening to defeat a spirited Nairn County 3-0. The match was a well-deserved testimonial for long serving County defender Martin MacDonald. After a disappointing performance from Paul Sheerin's side on Saturday at Peterhead, the coach will have been pleased with young side tonight. They played at a good pace and their passing was impressive. Substitute Bruce Anderson, who graduated from the AFC Youth Academy this summer, took his chance to impress with a very good hat-trick.
The Dons gave a trail to former Swansea City youngster Thomas Atyeo. He partnered captain Culjak in central defence. Henry was at right back with Robertson the left full back. Storie and Thomas were in central midfield with Ross and Wright on the wings and Norris played in behind Orsi. Aberdeen made a good start to the game and forced a few corners early on. On 4 minutes good pressure by Scott Wright led to a chance for Kalvin Orsi who had a decent shot and forced County keeper Antell into a fine save. Two minutes later good play down the right hand side gave Scott Wright a shooting chance but the keeper was able to make a more comfortable save. Just after 10 minutes the game settled down after a lively start and both teams enjoyed good spells of possession. After 14 minutes good use of the ball by the home side saw them put over a couple of dangerous crosses from the left hand side. By now the Dons were playing some good football but not really causing any problems in the final third. On 25 minutes the Highland League side had their first shot at goal but an effort from Wallace went over the bar. On 28 minutes Frank Ross produced a tremendous run and beat three or four men but the midfielder could not convert when one on one with the keeper, putting his shot inches wide. After the half hour mark Bruce Anderson came on for the injured Kalvin Orsi. On 32 minutes Ross again was in the middle of the action and made a good darting run forward but Wright just failed to get on the end of his through ball.
On 34 minutes Aberdeen took the lead. Craig Storie did well to win the ball in the middle of the park. He then strolled forward before cutting the ball back to Anderson who finished calmly, putting the keeper the wrong way.
Nairn responded strongly to the loss of the goal and on 36 minutes Conor Gethins rattled the crossbar with a fine shot from the edge of the box. On 37 minutes good play again by Scott Wright, who was to be named man of the match, set up a chance for Anderson but he failed to score on this occasion. The Dons defence were looking very solid during the first half and were restricting County to long range efforts which did not trouble Mutch in the Aberdeen goal. On the stroke of half time Storie stole the ball again high up the park which almost created another opening.
During the interval Lewis Dunbar replaced Frank Ross. Lewis went to right back and Jamie Henry moved into the middle of the park. Straight after the restart Henry hit a great shot which clipped the post. In the 54th minute Aberdeen scored a second and it was very similar to the first. Storie once again started the move by winning the ball in the middle of the park and he picked out Anderson who produced another composed finish. On 61 minutes Darren Hynes came on for Sam Robertson in a direct swap, the U17 player going to left back. County worked hard throughout the game and almost got back into the game when a long ball initially caused a problem but the back line, who looked very solid all night, did well to mop up the danger.
On 66 minutes a great ball was put into the box by Dunbar from the right side of the pitch but no one could get on the end of it. The cross deserved better. On 70 minutes a fierce shot from Jamie Henry just flow over the bar. Dunbar then did well at the other end with some good covering to snuff out a chance. In the 82nd minute Martin MacDonald came off to a standing ovation from everyone inside Station Park.
In the closing stages Nairn made a number of changes and the Dons also got a little bit sloppy in possession. However in the final minute Bruce Anderson put the icing on the cake on the win with a fantastic free kick. Young Bruce curled a shot from 25 yards into the net to complete his hat-trick.
Nairn County Teamsheet
Antell, Webb, Adam Naismith, Morrison, Martin MacDonald, Gregg Main, Halsman, Pollock, Duncanson, Wallace and Gethins.
Unused Subs: Subs: Ross Naismith, Glenn Main, Paul Macleod, Duncan Jones, Steven Mackay, Willie Barron, Sam Maclean, David Hind and Brian MacLeod
Aberdeen Teamsheet Mutch
.Unused Subs: Craddock, Sheerin.
Venue: Station Park, Nairn