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Aberdeen 0 - 1 Ross County

HT Score: Aberdeen 0 - 0 Ross County

SPFL Development League
Ross County scorers: Dykes (pen) 59

10/04/2017 | KO: 18:00

The Under 20s were back in Peterhead for the second time in four days as they looked to stretch their winning Development League run to five games. Table toppers Ross County provided the opposition in what was sure to be a major test for Paul Sheerin's young guns as he challenged them to finish their season in style after a mixed bag of results up to the winter break. The Dons starting lineup showed three changes from last Thursday's win over Falkirk with Scott Wright, Aaron Norris and Dean Campbell being replaced by Sam Robertson, Dylan Thomas and Seb Ross.

Aberdeen had an early chance to pressurise the visiting defence when Frank Ross floated an inviting free kick into the area but there were no takers in a red shirt. A nice cross from Franks found Keillor-Dunn on the left side of the Dons box but Harlain Mbayo blocked his shot at the expense of a corner. Full back Tumilty was next to threaten the home goal as he cut in from the right to fire in a fine left footed effort which deflected wide. The corner from former Middlesbrough man Franks was cleared well by Dylan Thomas. The Dons forced their first corner in the 15th minute but Frank Ross' low ball into the box was cleared easily. A minute later a bad challenge by Hall on Seb Ross resulted in the County centre back receiving a yellow card. Frank Ross' free kick from the left hand junction of the box was well struck but straight at Foden who saved comfortably.
It had been a bright start from both sides, each looking dangerous when they went forward. A bitterly cold wind sweeping across the park meant conditions were not ideal but the players were creating an entertaining spectacle for the hardy band of supporters in the stand. Frank Ross almost netted a bizarre opener in the 22nd minute when a clearance ricocheted off him but the ball flew wide of Foden's right hand post. A mix up between Foden and Hall on the edge of the Ross County almost created an opening for Jamie Henry but the midfielder couldn't get a clean shot on goal. On the half hour Dylan Dykes drove forward from midfield for County and the former Tannadice academy product's shot flew inches wide of David Craddock's right hand post. To be fair to the keeper he looked to have the shot covered.
There was controversy in the 36th minute when referee Fordyce sent Jamie Henry off after he was judged to have kicked out at County's outside left James Wallace. A minute later Seb Ross passed up a great opportunity to put the Dons ahead when he steered his shot wide after fine work from Sam Robertson. Having an extra man, County started to dominate possession but the defence, well marshalled by Scott McKenna, stood firm as the game reached half time with the scoreline blank.

Half time Aberdeen 0 Ross County 0

Neither side made any changes at the interval. Aberdeen were first to threaten when Wells combined with Seb Ross to send Sam Robertson flying off down the right but the wing back's left footed effort flew wide of the far post. Stuart Kettlewell's side were seeing plenty of the ball but were finding a very disciplined Aberdeen team difficult to break down. County were awarded a penalty in the 59th minute when Mbayo was ruled to have brought down Wallace although the initial contact between the players looked to be outside the area. Dykes coolly stroked the penalty into the bottom left hand corner to give the league leaders an advantage their possession justified.
County pair Foden and Morrison needed treatment after they collided with one another in preventing Bruce Anderson from reaching a through ball as the Dons fought back but both were able to resume. The visitors should have been two up in the 65th minute when Franks picked out Tumilty from a corner kick but the full back put his header wide when he really should have been hitting the target.
Quick footwork from Frank Ross won the Dons a free kick right on the edge of the County box but the midfielder's right footed effort was blocked by the wall. Despite being a man short the Aberdeen boys were battling hard. A brilliant run by Franks saw him cross for MacIver whose goal-bound header was knocked clear from right on line by M'bayo, a superb piece of defending from the big man.
On 77 minutes Lewis Hutchison came on for Bruce Anderson, with Sam Roscoe replaced by Dean Campbell two minutes later. The final Dons change saw Joe MacPherson come on in 84 minutes taking over at right back from Sam Robertson. Wallace tested Craddock from twenty yards but the Irish keeper save well at his right hand post. Despite all their possession it had been a relatively quiet game for the Dons stopper.
The home side staged a late assault on the County goal but found the route to goal shut off as County clung on to move one step closer to the Development League title. Despite playing for almost an hour with ten men there was much to admire about the Aberdeen performance in terms of their spirit and endeavour.

Aberdeen Teamsheet
Craddock, Mbayo, Wells, Robertson (MacPherson 84), McKenna, Roscoe (Campbell 79), Henry, Thomas, Anderson (Hutchison 79), Ross, Ross.

Unused Subs: Sharp, Antoniazzi, Ross.

Bookings:  Henry (36).
Ross County Teamsheet
Foden, Tumilty, Malcolm, Morrison, Hall, Dingwall (C), Keillor-Dunn, Dykes, Franks, MacIver, Wallace. Unused substitutes - Munro (GK), MacBeath, Gallagher, Murray, Ramsay, Kelly, Brownlie

Bookings:  Hall 16
Venue: Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead
Referee: Chris Fordyce