Aberdeen U20s started 2016 with a narrow defeat to Dundee United in Montrose. Despite the atrocious conditions both teams deserve great credit for trying to play football and putting on a very entertaining game. Both teams missed good chances in the first half before Scott Wright opened the scoring at the start of the second period with a neat finish. On the hour mark United equalised with a scrappy goal from Aiden Connolly and it was the home side who grabbed the winner with a well worked move on the break, finished off by Coote with fifteen minutes remaining.
Playing with a strong wind behind them, Aberdeen started brightly and in the opening minutes Scott Wright raced to the by-line, however his cross from the right evaded everyone. Daniel Harvie then beat his man and put over a dangerous cross from the left to the near post with was almost touched in by McLennan. That incident led to the first a corner of the match which Rose headed just wide. Aberdeen had a lot of possession but United, who played an attacking formation, had a lot of pace on the break. On ten minutes Aiden Connolly played in Ali Coote are the striker got a yard on the last defender but the got ball caught up in his feet.
The end to end nature of this game was summed up in the 12th minute. Simon Murray was put through and looked certain to score until he was flagged offside. Rose took the resulting free kick quickly and played a great through ball to pick out the run of Wright. Scott was one on one with the keeper but Zwick was able to narrow the angle and make a good block. Playing into the wind, United were forced to try and pass the ball out from the back. On a number of occasions they almost became unstuck doing this and in the 20th minute Connor McLennan was very unlucky not to cut out a loose pass back.
The home side then enjoyed a decent spell. Coote put over a cross for Murray and the former Arbroath striker put his header inches wide. On the half hour mark the impressive Connolly produced a good run and shot which had Brown beat but the ball went just past the post. Five minutes later Murray thought he had opened the scoring but Scott Brown did extremely well to keep out a shot from close range and then stop the ball crossing the line. Both teams then missed great chances to opening the scoring.
Aberdeen missed a golden opportunity when Scott Wright set up McLennan but his shot was well saved by Zwick. In the 40th minute Aberdeen appealed loudly for a penalty after a hand ball from a corner. The referee waved play on and United broke quickly. The ball was worked to Murray who should have scored but slid his shot past the post. Connor McLennan did have the ball in the net on the stroke of half time but the linesman raised his flag. He adjudged that Connor had made his run a split second too soon. On reply it looked a very tight decision.
Aberdeen started the second half positively and were rewarded with a goal. Down the left flank Sam Robertson flicked the ball into the path of left back Harvie and he made a very good run before picking out Wright with his cross. Scott still had a lot to do but very cleverly poked the ball into the corner of the net. A fine finish.
United responded with a ball across the six yard box that could easily have resulted in a goal. Then at the other end Wright picked up the ball again in the area but this time the United defence managed to get in a block. From the resulting corner Ross put over a great ball that held up in the wind but no one in a white shirt had judged the flight of the ball. Everyone in a tangerine shirt also missed it and in the end the ball rolled past the back post. Then just before the hour mark United equalised. They managed to get in behind the Dons defence down the right hand side. Telfer, Robson and Coote were all involved before the ball was eventually bundled over the line from close range by Connolly despite the best efforts of Storie to keep it out. Aberdeen will be disappointed as they wasted a couple of opportunities to clear their lines.
On 61 minutes Connor McLennan produced a fine drive from the edge of the area that only just went over the bar. That was his last involvement as shortly after that there was a double chance with McLennan and Robertson making way for Bruce Anderson and Kalvin Orsi. Kalvin has missed most of the season through injury so it was a big positive to have him back involved tonight. For the final 20 minutes the rain finally stopped as the game continued to rage from end to end. Aberdeen had a number of really promising moves but the final pass would just not lead to a goal. On a couple of occasions they should have worked an opening. United also had their chances and Connolly was guilty of missing a decent opening. His movement was continuing to cause problems. Then on 76 minutes United scored what was to be the winner. They dispossessed the Dons on the half way line and initially there did not appear to be any danger. The home side however put some quick passes together and the ball was worked to Coote and his first time shot beat Brown. It was a good early hit which was past the keeper before he could set himself properly.
The most disappointing aspect of the night was that Aberdeen never looked like getting back into the game after going behind. United and Connolly in particular went close to adding a third on three occasions as a lack lustre Dons failed to put any real pressure on at the other end and United held on for a deserved win.