Top of the Development League table and in a rich run of form, the Young Dons faced a hectic forty-eight hours with a League and Youth Cup double header away to Hamilton Accies. First up was the league meeting with Accies. Having won their previous five league games, Paul Sheerin's team were brimming with confidence but also wary of a Hamilton side who currently lie eleventh in the standings although they have played two games less than Aberdeen. Their recent form has been almost as good as Aberdeen's, winning three of their last four, so a close encounter was on the cards.
The Dons fielded a very young side, perhaps with the Youth Cup tie in mind, and with the first team on duty at Ibrox on Wednesday, none of those who have featured in the last two games for the 20s were involved. There was a welcome return to action, after injury, for Craig Storie while Joe MacPherson skippered the side.
Accies started brightly and Ferguson broke clear on the left but couldn't find any colleague with his cross. Chris Antoniazzi had the Dons' first shot on 4 minutes but Jamieson held the ball comfortably. The home side threatened again in the tenth minute but Biabi's shot on the turn was deflected away for a corner. A quickly taken free kick sent Lewis Hutchison racing through but a fine last-ditch tackle from Jamie Boyd averted the danger. Steven Boyd saw his shot blocked by Archie Mair on 19 minutes with Joe MacPherson well positioned to clear the loose ball before Biabi could pounce. Mair then had to produce a top quality save to deny Biabi as the home side pressed for the opener.
Considering the difference in experience of the two sides, the opening quarter had been very solid from the Dons. A superb run from Smith saw him jink past three Dons defenders but Mair was quickly off his line to block the winger's shot. Accies' Cunningham was booked on 29 minutes after showing dissent. Sam Roscoe did well to clear from close to his own goal-line after Mair had parried yet another Biabi shot.
Lewis Hutchison and Ethan Ross both took knocks in quick succession, but they were able to resume after treatment. A deflected Hutchison shot almost gave Dangana a chance but he couldn't get any power on his header and Jamieson saved easily.
Just before the interval, Want headed wide from a Steven Boyd free kick as Accies tried to turn their territorial advantage in their favour but the Dons defence, and Mair in particular, were determined to keep the scoreline blank. A brilliant run from Ethan Ross saw him burst from the halfway line before firing in a left footed effort from 18 yards but Jamieson made a solid save to deny the Dons an opener. The half time whistle blew with the score nil-nil, mainly thanks to some fine saves from Archie Mair but the Dons looked dangerous when they attacked.
Half time Hamilton Academical 0 Aberdeen 0
Sam Roscoe didn't appear for the second half, Harlain Mbayo slotting into central defence alongside Joe MacPherson while Tierney replaced Biabi in the home ranks. The experienced Grant Gillespie was booked on 52 minutes after a cynical hack at Antoniazzi. Two minutes later Harlain Mbayo was cautioned after a challenge on Steven Boyd, a harsh decision considering it was his first challenge of the match. Accies took the lead in the 56th minute when Cunningham?s ten-yard shot deflected off Mbayo to beat Mair at his near post. A really unlucky break for the Dons who had been dealing comfortably with the home attack.
Douglas replaced Want in the Hamilton defence on 58 minutes. Another fine run from Ross saw him get into the box before Jamieson touched his shot away for a corner. Tierney should have made it two for the home side on 69 minutes but he lifted his shot over when he only had Mair to beat.
David Dangana forced a save from Jamieson after another fine break by Ethan Ross, the wee man showing some excellent form in the middle of the park.
Archie Mair produced another stunning stop to deny Cunningham in 72 minutes, instinctively turning the striker?s powerful ten-yard shot wide of his left-hand post. Ferguson thought he?d made it 2-0 on 76 minutes when he knocked home the rebound after another fine Mair save but his joy was short-lived when he saw the flag raised for offside. Lloyd Robertson came on to make his Development League debut for Aberdeen on 79 minutes, taking over from Craig Storie. Sean Linden replaced Hutchison for the last five minutes of the match ? another Development League debutant for the Dons.
Mair once again saved brilliantly from Steven Boyd when a second Accies goal seemed a certainty. The big keeper from Turriff was producing a performance of the highest quality.
Linden nearly brought the Dons level in the 89th minute when he raced through on Jamieson but the keeper stayed big and blocked his shot. It would have been a dream debut for the youngster.
The Dons were finishing the game much the stronger side but just could not get the equaliser they probably merited after a battling display.