Aberdeen were left very frustrated after they went down to defeat this afternoon in Brechin in a game which could easily have finished 8-8. The scoreline in no way tells the story of an action packed game. Despite the rain and difficult underfoot conditions, both teams put on a really good spectacle and played at a very high tempo and the match very much had the feel of a first team game. Aberdeen will be extremely disappointed to have taken nothing from it, despite the fact they dominated for spells. After a pretty astonishing first half which saw five goals, the young Dons were the better side for most of the second half. However they could find no way past the Rangers keeper who made two exceptional saves. He also saved a penalty and Harvie hit the crossbar. Rangers picked the Dons off on the break and scored a couple of very good goals.
There was a very fast start from both teams and the pace never let up throughout the entire 90 minutes. Aberdeen forced a corner in the first minute which Rangers took about six attempts to clear. When they did, they broke at pace and Ross Lyon just got in ahead of Brown but the keeper got just enough of a block to divert the ball away from goal and Storie got back to clear. Smith then won Aberdeen a free-kick in a good area after a clever turn drew a foul. Robson's ball in was cleared and again Rangers broke at pace and it took some very good defending from Jamie Henry, stepping in from his full-back position, to stop the move.
Aberdeen opened the scoring just after the quarter hour when Robson played in a superb corner which Nuttall headed home from close range. However a couple of minutes later, Scott Roberts got in behind the Dons defence and squared the ball to Lyon who finished on the turn with Brown out of position. The young Dons were a bit unlucky as Smith had slipped and lost possession during a promising attack just before that.
On the 20 minute mark, Robson almost found Smith but then Rangers took the lead when a mistake let in Roberts and he squared to Fraser Aird who tapped home. But within 30 seconds, Aberdeen were level. Slack play by the visitors straight from the kick off allowed McKenna to find Nuttall who showed good composure to round the Rangers keeper Liam Kelly to score.
Aberdeen then had some good chances to take the lead. Wright had a volley from close range but his effort was straight at the keeper. Robson then put a free-kick just wide before Wright set up Nuttall, but the striker failed to connect with the ball as well as he would have liked.
However it was Rangers who then regained the lead when a slip by Robson allowed Burt space for a shot and he produced an excellent finish, a dipping volley from 25 yards that gave Scott Brown no chance. The goal was against the run of play as Aberdeen continued to look the better team. On 40 minutes, a Harvie cross was met by Nuttall but his header down just went wide. Just before the half-time interval a major blow came when Barry Robson had to be carried off after a late challenge by Aird. Robson was having an outstanding game and for him to go off, it must have been a sore one. However it is hoped it is not too serious.
After the goalfest of the first half, the opening spell in the second was a bit subdued. Rangers did have one half chance before Daniel Harvie put over a very good low cross which the keeper did well to touch to safety.
Aberdeen were starting to dominate but once again, Rangers picked them off on the break. On the hour mark, Aird was put through but Brown made a very good block and Harvie did well to head the ball over the bar despite being under a lot of pressure.
Back came the Dons who took control of the game thanks largely to Craig Storie's performance in the middle of the park. On 63 minutes, Storie fired a shot just over. A few minutes later from a similar distance he did hit the target with a great shot but Kelly produced an outstanding stop with an outstretched left arm. Five minutes later, as the Dons continued to dominate, the keeper made an even better save when he somehow kept out a Smith effort from point blank range.
Aberdeen were made to pay for those misses when Aird rifled home another excellent finish with 20 minutes to go. At 4-2 down, the game looked over but Aberdeen had so much momentum they knew they would still get chances. The young Dons never let their heads go down and with fifteen minutes to go, they were awarded a penalty when Scott Wright skipped past his marker before being brought down by Jamie Mills. The Scotland U19 winger gave the Rangers left-back a tough time all afternoon. Joe Nuttall took the spot kick but Kelly produced another fine save diving to his right and pushed the ball to safety. Still the heads did not drop and Harvie thought he had finally beaten the Rangers keeper when his deflected shot looped over him but the ball rebounded off the bar. And to compound the Dons misery, Rangers grabbed a fifth when Brown made another good stop but Lyon bundled the ball over the line.
Aberdeen Teamsheet Brown
.Unused Subs: Mair, Robertson, Anderson, Norris.
Kelly, Bradley, Brownlie, McCrorie, Mills, Barjonas (Ashmore 71), Dykes, Burt (Rudden 81), Lyon, Aird (Jeffries 74), Roberts. Subs: Wright, Lang, King, Gibson
Venue: Glebe Park, Brechin