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Aberdeen 2 - 1 Ross County

HT Score: Aberdeen 1 - 1 Ross County

Youth Cup Quarter Final
Aberdeen scorers: Ross 5, Roscoe 63.
Ross County scorers: Ashmore 18

26/02/2018 | KO: 17:00

After last week's magnificent win against Celtic in the League it was back to Cup action for the Young Dons as they took on Ross County to decide who would meet either Motherwell or Kilmarnock in the semi-final of this season's Youth Cup. With Dean Campbell injured and Miko Virtanen on international duty with Finland, Danny Harvie and David Dangana were drafted in to the starting eleven while David Craddock replaced Archie Mair in goal.

County were first to threaten when Ashmore's free-kick was flicked on by Grivosti but MacBeath was unable to get on the end of it.
Aberdeen took the lead on 5 minutes. Connor McLennan broke on the left and crossed for Seb Ross who engineered the space well to get a shot in which was well saved by Munro, but the rebound fell kindly to Ethan Ross who headed into the net to notch his third goal in the last two games. The Dons almost doubled their advantage a couple of minutes later when Danny Harvie got his head on an Ethan Ross corner, but his effort drifted narrowly wide.
MacBeath came close for County again when he fired MacIver's cross just over, but the visitors drew level on 18 minutes. Aberdeen gave away a free kick in a central position twenty yards out and former Rangers man Max Ashmore curled a delightful left footed effort over the wall and past the stranded Craddock. County had their tails up now and Gallagher came close with a snap-shot following a right wing corner.
A rugby tackle by Wallace on Connor McLennan as he tried to break through the middle of the park sparked off a melee which resulted in yellow cards for County's Wallace and Ashmore and also for McLennan.
MacBeath spurned a great opening for County ten minutes before the break when he fired an angled shot wildly over. A cutback to either of two unmarked team-mates would have been the better option. Three minutes from the break Harvie again came close with a header but the interval was reached with the teams all square and with everything to play for in the second period. A very even first 45 minutes.

Half time Aberdeen 1 Ross County 1

Neat interplay between Ethan Ross and David Dangana created a sight of goal for Ross but he fired over. The game then went through a rather scrappy spell as neither side was able to gain the upper hand in what was developing into quite a battle on a difficult pitch. Things were becoming very tense as well. As the second half wore on Aberdeen were beginning to get the upper hand and for the first time of the game they had a little bit of control which allowed then to enjoy some possession but there were very few chances at either end.
Just after the hour mark, Grivosti was booked for a foul on Bruce Anderson. From the resulting free kick, Ethan Ross' shot was deflected into the path of Toby Wells who saw his effort on goal blocked at the expense of a corner. From the flag kick Ethan Ross floated in a nice ball which was headed on by Joe MacPherson for Sam Roscoe to nod into the roof of the net despite keeper Munro's desperate attempt to keep it out.
Joy for Paul Sheerin's boys who could now see a semi final beckoning if they held firm for the remaining half an hour. A fine run from full back Kelly created a chance for County but Grivosti's effort at goal didn't trouble Craddock. The central defensive pairing of MacPherson and Roscoe were certainly earning their corn as they stood up to County's probing with Greg Morrison their main danger man. Chris Antoniazzi replaced Bruce Anderson on 76 minutes as the Dons looked for fresh legs to help them for the final stages. Gallagher was booked for a crude foul on Seb Ross, but the referee should have allowed play to continue as the ball broke to McLennan who had a clear run in on goal.
With five minutes remaining David Craddock pulled off a great save from Greg Morrison and then MacPherson blocked valiantly from substitute Wright as the Highlanders threw everything at the Dons. Both MacPherson and Roscoe were excellent tonight, having to make a number of last ditch tackles, interceptions or headers. All the Aberdeen players were working so hard in the final stages to close down any space.
Central defender Grivosti did manage to get a shot on target from the edge of the area but Craddock's positioning and handling was spot on. Sean Linden replaced David Dangana for the dying seconds as the Dons saw the game out in relative comfort to book their place in the last four of the competition.

A performance full of character and determination from the Dons to see off a strong Ross County side, the result taking them a step closer to a first Youth Cup success since 2001.

Paul Sheerin's side will now play the winners of the Motherwell v Kilmarnock Quarter Final. Celtic will meet Hibs in the other semi-final.
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Craddock, Harrington, Wells, Harvie, MacPherson, Roscoe, McLennan, Ross, Dangana (Linden 90), Anderson (Antoniazzi 76), Ross.

Unused Subs: MacKenzie, Barry, Chesser, Mykyta, Mair.

Bookings:  McLennan (31).
Ross County Teamsheet
Munro, Kelly, Johnson, S Morrison (C), Grivosti, Gallagher, MacBeath (Wright 81), Ashmore, G Morrison, Wallace, MacIver. Unused Substitutes: Williams (GK), Johnstone, Watt, Noel

Bookings:  Wallace 31,   Ashmore 31,   Grivosti 62,   Gallagher 84,   MacIver 88
Venue: North Lodge Park, Pitmedden
Referee: Harry Bruce