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Motherwell 1 - 2 Aberdeen

HT Score: Motherwell 1 - 1 Aberdeen

Scottish Premiership
Motherwell scorers: Johnson 5
Aberdeen scorers: McGinn 25, Taylor 62.

15/08/2015 | KO: 15:00

3 Wins on the Spin as Well Beaten

Aberdeen's 100% start to the Ladbrokes Premiership season continued with an extremely hard-fought win at Fir Park against a bright Motherwell side in an absorbing encounter.

This was another impressive performance from Derek McInnes' side, who had to come from a goal behind. The Lanarkshire side hit the Dons on the break in the fifth-minute and although Ward saved McDonald's effort, Marvin Johnson was on hand to score.

The Dons were not fazed by the loss of the early goal and kept playing some very good football. They were the better side in the first half and for a 20 minute spell were excellent. Niall McGinn was drifting into some great areas and on one of those occasions he scored a slightly fortunate equaliser. On 25 minutes his low cross from the right edge of the box was missed by Goodwillie but also by keeper Ripley and the ball trundled into the net in off the post. Niall admitted afterwards that it was a cross but he was happy enough to claim the goal!

After the break it was quite an even and very entertaining game but the Dons had the better chances and just after the hour mark they scored what proved to be the winner. From a free kick wide on the left touchline McGinn delivered the perfect ball which was met by Ash Taylor who showed real determination to get on the end of it.

So a goal and an assist for Niall this afternoon.

The final 20 minutes saw Motherwell have plenty of possession but the Dons were well set up for hitting on the break. McGinn hit the post and Rooney, who had come on at half time and made a big impression, also missed a decent chance. At the other end Taylor was superb at heading everything clear and Quinn and Considine also gave Ward plenty of protection.

Nine points from nine, and it is the first time since 1991 Aberdeen have won their opening three league matches of the season.

Match Report

Derek McInnes made two changes to the side that beat Kilmarnock last Sunday. Andrew Considine came in for Paul Quinn and David Goodwillie replaced Adam Rooney. The Dons lined up with Ward in goal, they had a back four of Logan, Taylor, Considine and Shinnie. Jack was the sitting midfielder with Flood and McLean ahead of him and McGinn and Hayes were out wide. Goodwillie was the loan striker.

Motherwell had made a mixed start to the season after beating Inverness, playing well against Dundee United but losing and then on Wednesday they lost to Hearts in Edinburgh. The Dons were looking for a third win in a row, the last time they did that was back in 1991-92.

After only three minutes McGinn found himself in acres of space on the right. He picked out Goodwillie in the box. David's shot was blocked but the ball rebounded to McGinn who almost then found Hayes at the near post. From the resulting corner McGinn then had three more chances to put the ball over from the right side. He eventually found Logan who got in a good header which was directed goalwards but was too close to the keeper.

After five minutes the home side took the lead, Aberdeen conceding their first goal of the campaign.

A simple long ball put the Dons in trouble down the right. Initially the ball was squared to McDonald who should have scored but Ward made a decent block. However the ball could only be palmed into the path of left winger Marvin Johnson and he made no mistake from close range.

Back came the Dons who did not panic at the loss of the early goal. A few minutes later they put together a fine passing move and again they got some joy down the Well left. McGinn played it inside to Jack whose run was not tracked. The captain burst into the box and got a shot away but could only find the side netting.

On nine minutes another chance for Aberdeen. A quick break saw Goodwillie play in McGinn. He made his way to the edge of the area before trying to curl a shot with the outside of his foot into the far corner. He was not far away. Then a free kick was knocked down to McLean but his hurried shot never troubled Connor Ripley in the Well goal.

With 15 minutes gone the Dons would have wondered how they were behind as they had pretty much controlled the opening proceeds. Flood and McLean were producing some nice stuff in the middle of the park and Hayes and McGinn were finding space in some good areas.

On 20 minutes the Dons created a chance down the left after fine hold up play by Goodwillie. McGinn had time to look up but failed to give Goodwillie a return pass. On 22 minutes Shinnie broke forward to win Aberdeen a corner. Taylor got his head on it but could not get any power on the ball and the home side hacked it clear.

On 25 minutes Aberdeen were finally, and deservedly level. McGinn again popped up in space and his low diagonal cross was just missed by Goodwillie. Ripley could not move until the ball was past the Aberdeen striker and by the time the keeper reacted it was too late and the ball was already beyond him. He could only watch as McGinn's cross hit off the post and trickled over the line. Jonny Hayes was on hand on to score anyway.

Motherwell then very nearly regained the lead when McDonald worked room for a shot but Taylor stood up to him and made a vital block.

On 28 minutes Goodwillie had the ball in the net but referee Collum had blown for a push by David inside the area. On 33 minutes Aberdeen were guilty of not clearing their lines after twice failing to knock the ball to safety. The ball fell to Jake Taylor and his dipping volley from the edge area was not far away.

On 39 minutes Motherwell again caught the Dons on the break and in the end Logan did well to haul down Marvin Johnson. He was booked for his troubles. Johnson took the free kick himself and although he got the ball over the wall Ward had read it and made a comfortable enough save.

During the interval Derek McInnes made a change. Adam Rooney replaced Willo Flood as the Dons went to a 4-4-2 formation. Within two minutes of the restart Adam's strike partner missed a good chance. McGinn's ball in from the left was met perfectly by Goodwillie but his header was frustratingly straight at Ripley.

Both teams then won a couple of corners, nothing came of them. Aberdeen continued to have lots of possession in good areas but the final pass was just going astray. On 57 minutes Johnson put over a better ball to the far post but Scott McDonald's header went wide. Ryan Jack did just enough to put him off. The home then enjoyed a good little spell. McDonald forced Ward into a save before the experienced Australian striker forced Taylor into a rash challenge which he picked up a booking for.

The Dons weathered that little storm and on 62 minutes they took the lead. McGinn was taken down over on the left touchline. Niall took the free kick himself, swinging in a superb ball which found Taylor and he planted a header into the net from six yards out. Niall's assists and importance to the team last season was sometimes overlooked by some, but the quality of his crossing was again evident this afternoon.

The home side, who had been happy to soak up pressure for much of the game and hit on the break, now had to open up more. This however led to opportunities for the Dons to exploit. On 67 minutes Hayes broke forward and his low shot forced Ripley into a smart stop. On 69 minutes goal scorer Johnson was replaced by Dom Thomas. The Well youngster has impressed at U20 level in recent seasons and he impressed this afternoon.

On 70 minutes more chances for the Dons on the break. Hayes got in behind but his ball to Rooney was just behind the striker. From the resulting corner the Dons took a short one which allowed Hayes to deliver from better angle. He put over an enticing ball which just missed Goodwillie and Taylor. That was the last action for Goodwillie as he was then replaced by Paul Quinn. The Dons stuck with a back four, Considine went to left back and Shinnie moved into the middle of the park alongside Jack.

On 75 minutes a luck escape for the Dons when the lively Thomas swung over a ball that was missed by the Dons defence but Moult could not direct his header on target. Then Thomas tried to squeeze a shot in at the
near post, Ward in the end had to make a very good stop diving low to his left.

The final 15 minutes were end to end. The game was probably a bit too open for Derek McInnes' liking. The home side had plenty of possession and put over a lot of crosses but the Dons were just waiting for a chance to hit on the break. On 83 minutes that chance came when a Hayes break set up a chance for McGinn. He fired in a low shot from 15 yards which beat the keeper but hit off the post. Then a superb turn by McGinn set up Rooney who had peeled into space but the striker blasted over.

You wondered if the Dons would regret missing those chances and the closing stages were nervy as the Fir Park side threw on David Clarkson and Chris Cadden. However Aberdeen had regained control and were dealing comfortably with the long balls that were coming their direction. Ash Taylor was outstanding as he attacked the ball in the air and Paul Quinn's positional sense is a real asset in situations like this. The Dons managed the closing stages perfectly and hung on for another very good win.
Motherwell Teamsheet
Ripley, Hammell, Laing, McManus, Law, Ainsworth, Johnson (Thomas 70), Lasley, Taylor (Cadden 89), Moult (Clarkson 86), McDonald Unused Subs: Twardzik, Joe Chalmers, Kennedy, Leitch

Bookings:  Hammell 50
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Ward, Logan, Shinnie, Considine, Taylor, McLean, Flood (Rooney 46), Hayes, Jack, McGinn, Goodwillie (Quinn 72).

Unused Subs: Smith, Robson, Shankland, Wright, Brown.

Bookings:  Logan (40),  Taylor (61).
Attendance: 5,437
Venue: Almondvale Stadium, Livingston
Referee: Willie Collum
Next Match
10 Jul 2024 / 19:00 / Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead