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Motherwell 2 - 2 Aberdeen

HT Score: Motherwell 0 - 1 Aberdeen

SPFL Development League
Motherwell scorers: Scott, Morris (o.g.)
Aberdeen scorers: Norris 14, Wright 92.

30/08/2016 | KO: 18:00

The Under 20s made the long journey to Lanarkshire to meet Motherwell who opened their Development League campaign with a solid 3-1 win in Nairn against Inverness Caley Thistle. Paul Sheerin's starting eleven showed two changes from the side which shared four goals with Dundee last week. Craig Storie is on Under 21 duty with Scotland and Toby Wells dropped out, the replacements being Aaron Norris and Danny Harvie who is on a development loan at Dumbarton.
The hugely experienced Neil Alexander was in goal behind a back four of Kesi Omolokun, Callum Morris, Scott McKenna and Danny Harvie. Skipper Dylan Thomas was alongside Aaron Norris in the centre of midfield flanked by Scott Wright on the right and Frank Ross on the left with Bruce Anderson tucked in behind main striker Connor McLennan.

The Dons made a bright start and great tenacity from McLennan saw the striker win the ball thirty yards out before feeding it into the path of Bruce Anderson whose 15 yard shot was beaten away by former Inverness keeper Dean Brill. It was a clear opening but excellent goalkeeping. Motherwell reacted positively and Dom Thomas tried his luck from 20 yards but his shot didn't trouble Neil Alexander.
The artificial surface was suiting both sides as they passed the ball quickly and accurately but both defences were on their toes whenever danger threatened. On twelve minutes a lovely through ball from Wright saw McLennan race past the Well defence but Brill was again the saviour for Stephen Craigen's team diving full length to his right to tip Connor's shot past the post. Two minutes later and the Dons were rewarded with the opening goal. McLennan cut the ball back from the right to Anderson who saw his ten yard shot blocked but Aaron Norris was on hand to rifle the ball past Brill. Just reward for an enterprising opening to the game by the young Dons whose pace in attack was unsettling the home defence.
Callum Morris picked up the first booking of the game on 21 minutes for a solid tackle on Scott as the Motherwell striker tried to break clear. A similar looking foul on Scott Wright by Campbell moments later went unpunished. The pace and strength of Connor McLennan was very evident and at times it took the efforts of three Motherwell players to keep him in check. You can see why, even though he is still only 16, Scot Gemmill has selected him for the Scotland Under 19 trip to Greece later this week. A clever free kick from Motherwell's MacLean almost created a chance for Maguire rushing in at the far post but the ball was just too far in front of the centre back for him to be able to get a shot on target.
The Dons thought they had doubled their advantage on 35 minutes when Morris turned Harvie's knock down past Brill but the linesman signalled Danny had strayed offside when he met Frank Ross's free kick. On 40 minutes Bruce Anderson was the second name in referee Wilson's book as he was pulled up for failing to retreat the required ten yards at a free kick.
Motherwell were seeing a bit more of the ball but the Dons defence were keeping a close eye on the dangerous Dom Thomas who was the main man in attack for the home team. The Dons went back on the attack just before the interval and a lovely reverse ball from Ross played Wright in down the right but his cutback was blocked behind for a corner. From the flag kick Anderson had a shot which was sneaking in at Brill's far post until Watt made a timely clearance. A very good first half from Aberdeen who more than deserved their lead but Motherwell's performance improved as the half progressed with them looking reasonably dangerous on the rare occasions when they got close to Neil Alexander's goal.

Neither side made any substitutions at the interval. The home side were first to threaten in the second half MacLean firing in a fine effort from 25 yards which Alexander held comfortably. Scott Wright tried his luck after combining well with McLennan by Brill had no problems dealing with his shot from 15 yards. Sloppy defending from the Dons saw Motherwell grab an equaliser three minutes shy of the hour. Striker James Scott was on hand at the back post to knock the ball in after a cross from the right evaded three defenders. Motherwell had worked hard to get back into the game and wingers Turnbull and Thomas were causing problems.
Seb Ross came on in 64 minutes taking the place of Thomas - a straight swap in central midfield. A minute later Motherwell took off goal scorer Scott, bringing on Mackin. Bruce Anderson wriggled clear on the left side of the box after getting on the end of a Wright cross but couldn't hit the target with his left foot shot. Hutchison took the place of Anderson on 80 minutes as Paul Sheerin looked for fresh legs to invigorate the Dons attack for the final stages of the match.
Motherwell were enjoying a lot of possession and took the lead on 84 minutes when Callum Morris diverted a Watt cross from a previous corner past his own keeper. It was nearly 3-1 a minute later when Turnbull's trickery on the left gave him a shooting chance but the angle was tight and Alexander positioned himself well to block the effort.
David Dangana came on in 87 minutes to replace Frank Ross and the sub won a free kick wide on the left as the game went deep into stoppage time. Harvie's delivery found McKenna unmarked at the back post and his clever header inside was turned past Brill by Scott Wright to win the Dons a point. Over the piece a share of the spoils was just about right as each team dominated a half of the game but the Dons left it very late to get their equaliser.
Motherwell Teamsheet
Brill, Watt, McMillan, Maguire, Ferguson, Campbell, Falconer, Turnbull, Scott (Mackin 65), Thomas, MacLean. Unused substitutes - Morrison (GK), Armstrong, Semple
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Alexander, Omolokun, Harvie, Thomas (Ross 64), McKenna, Morris, Wright, Anderson (Hutchison 80), McLennan, Ross (Dangana 87), Norris.

Unused Subs: Roscoe, Antoniazzi, MacPherson, Craddock.

Bookings:  Morris (21),  Anderson (40).
Venue: Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie
Referee: Lloyd Wilson