Source: The Scotsman, 3rd January 1922
Regrettable Incidents.It is a regrettable feature of present-day football ?and especially games of the local Derby order ?that players cannot control their tempers. In this case there were many inexcusable instances of indulgence in hard knocks that were otherwise than legitimate, and the pity was that the official in charge of the game did not show a better appreciation of his responsibilities with regard to the interpretation of the laws of the game as they apply to foul play. Throughout, the game was marked all over by an over-indulgence in robust tactics, and if the teams were in some measure to blame, there were several "incidents" to which a "sequel " was warranted, but did not materialise. Throughout, the players on both sides were on "edge," and the circumstances called for firmer handling than was accorded. These incidents had an important bearing on the result from the Aberdeen point of view. In the first five minutes of the game Wright, the Aberdeen right-half, charged Troup. Dundee's internationalist left winger, rather unceremoniously over the line, and the Dundee player saw fit to retaliate in a manner which justified but did not earn his instant dismissal to the pavilion. As the result of the "incident," the Aberdeen player was lamed for the remainder of the game, and the fact had considerable bearing on the result. This was by no means the only discreditable incident in a hotly contested game. On one occasion, Bell, the Dundee centre-forward, and Forsyth, the Aberdeen back, were in grips on the ground, and here again the actions of the Dundee player justified his being ordered off. Later, Thomson, the home left back, and Miller, the Aberdeen centre-forward, had a little forceful argument which warranted the putting into force the full powers vested in the referee, but in neither case did the official reveal that firmness which is desirable if the game is to be kept unsullied by those things which appertain to bad sportsmanship.
Goal-less First Half.Winning the toss, Aberdeen held the advantage by the wind in the first half, and it was only to be expected that play resolved itself more or less into a duel between the Aberdeen attack and the Dundee defence. At an early stage in the game Miller skied badly in an attempt to locate the goal with a first time effort, and later it was entirely due to the fine spoiling tactics of the Dundee rear divisions that Fotheringham's goal was saved. Milne had one particularly fine try from long range, and Wright followed with another, but was unable gauge the wind. The Aberdeen attackers were inclined to lose control, and either through over-running the ball or through faulty trapping on the slippery ground, the number of shots sent in to Fotheringham were not in accordance with the pressure exerted. Crafty play by the Dundee inside forwards and tricky work by Troup on several occasions brought the Aberdeen goal within range of the Dundee forwards, but generally the Pittodrie half-backs and backs had the balance on their side. Dundee were without Jackson (injured) in the last three minutes of the first half, at the end of which a goalless draw paid tribute to the home defence, considering they were playing against the wind.
Futile Attacking.After the interval Aberdeen had early experience of the disadvantage of facing the wind, the defence finding great difficulty in returning the ball with accuracy. Anderson brilliantly saved a hot shot by McLean, but Aberdeen retaliated in fine style, and it was more due to luck than anything else that Fotheringham got in the way of a brilliant try by Thomson. Severn minutes had gone when the deciding goal came along. A high cross from the right was not cleared by the Aberdeen defence, and Bird, working into position just outside the penalty area, drove the ball obliquely along the ground into the net, Anderson at full length just failing reach it. Aberdeen just failed to equalise immediately, Thomson terminating a brilliant forward movement by sending narrowly past with Fotheringham well beaten. Subsequently Aberdeen had an equal share of the play, and both goals in turn were endangered. Bainbridge did not make the most of a chance to equalise when he sent past. Troup and Bell both had hard tries for Dundee, but in the closing stages Aberdeen held the upper hand, and twice in the last minute Miller just failed to reach passes from the left which must have produced the well-deserved equalising goal, the final whistle sounding with Aberdeen attacking strongly.
Aberdeen Strength and Weakness.In what was a gruelling game, Dundee had little credit in their victory. In the first half they accounted for much less of the attacking work, and when the elements were in their favour later their advantage was not so pronounced as Aberdeen's had been. They won because they had the good luck get in the only shot that counted, and yet it was not as meritorious effort as that of Thomson s which was nullified by Fotheringham or of the same player's which just missed by the proverbial hairbreadth. Anderson in the Aberdeen goal had several capital saves, and both with and against the wind the deceptive flight of the ball necessitated his keeping on the alert. Forsyth was a big power in the Aberdeen defence indeed, his display was his best since he resumed in the League team. His judgment was never at fault, and if he found it difficult kick a straight ball in the face of the strong wind in the second half, he came out of the game with an enhanced reputation. A hard worker, Grosert was not quite so successful as in some recent games. MacLachlan was easily the best of the Aberdeen half-backs; indeed, he was the best middleman on view. His fine anticipation and well-timed tackling reduced the Dundee right wing to comparative ineffectiveness. Dr Milne was none too sure of himself in his tackling in the first half, but gave a much improved display later, and Wright's play was obviously affected by the injury sustained in the "incident" in which he figured with Troup. Thomson was easily Aberdeen s best forward. He repeatedly pushed home the attack with great vigour, and was very unfortunate in not scoring. Middleton was lively on the right but yet he did not make the best of things considering how he was fed. Miller has been seen to better advantage in the centre, yet it could not be said that the bail came too kindly to him. His passing was marked by great accuracy, but his reputation as a goalscorer makes him a marked man, and the Dundee defenders were none too scrupulous in their tackling when he was in possession. As a combination, the left wing scarcely realised expectations, even if both Rankine and Bainbridge did things that were individually clever, but showing in this this game there is room for a better understanding between them.
Strong Dundee Defence.As was the case with Aberdeen, Dundee were more powerful in defence than in attack, and it was a game and day that tried the mettle of the best. Fotheringham was very sure in goal, and vigour, skill, and steadiness characterised the work of Raitt and Thomson, both of whom were inclined to over-do the pass-back to the goalkeeper, especially when facing the wind. Willis, Nicol, and Jackson constituted a serviceable if not brilliant half-back line, whoso methods suited the occasion, Jackson's efforts to keep the ball low being noteworthy. Of the forwards, McLean and Bird were crafty inside men, and Troup accounted for much tricky work on the left. Bell continually worried the Aberdeen backs and goalkeeper, but the occasion was obviously too big for Cumming, who made his debut at outside right.
Source: Aberdeen Daily Journal 3rd January 1922