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Kilmarnock 0 - 3 Aberdeen

HT Score: Kilmarnock 0 - 1 Aberdeen

Youth Cup Semi Final
Aberdeen scorers: Anderson 8, Anderson 55, Anderson 61.

05/04/2018 | KO: 14:30

Young Dons reach the Youth Cup final

The young Dons are through to the final of the SFA Youth Cup at Hampden. They beat Kilmarnock 3-0 this afternoon at Rugby Park thanks to a hat-trick from Bruce Anderson. They will now face the winner of the other semi-final between Hibs and Celtic which was postponed earlier today. It will be the Dons first final since 2003.

There was a boost for the young Dons as captain Seb Ross and Connor McLennan returned from injury whilst Harlain Mbayo and Frank Ross, who are both currently out on loan, were also selected. But Dean Campbell and Sam Roscoe both missed the game. The home side were captained by Iain Wilson who has featured for the Kilmarnock first team. A decent crowd was in attendance on a bright and sunny afternoon at Rugby Park. The pitch looked very dry which would affect how the Dons would play.

There was a nervy start from both teams which was to be expected. In opening minutes Harlain Mbayo did well to win a header up against Innes Cameron. The tall Kilmarnock striker would be the main threat to the Dons. Then a long ball by Mbayo was flicked on by Bruce Anderson into the path of Frank Ross. The Morton player did well to get a shot on target and Keranovic was forced to make a smart save. Despite Kilmarnock having most of the possession in the early stages, in the seventh minute Aberdeen took the lead.
After a good passing move Connor McLennan and Toby Wells linked up down the left flank. Toby did brilliantly to make room for the cross and he put over an excellent ball which fell for Anderson. Bruce took one touch before calmly slotting home. It was a really good finish as he placed the ball out of the keeper's reach. The perfect start.
On 12 minutes Anderson took the ball down on the edge of the area and played in the overlapping Frank Ross. From a very tight angle he fired in a shot which forced the Australian keeper Keranovic, who is on loan from WBA, into a decent stop. A few minutes later a half chance for Samizadeh who won the ball in the area but Harvie and Wells both did really well to block a shot on the turn. After 17 minutes Wells tried his luck from distance but unfortunately Iain Wilson got in the way of the shot. The captain required treated but it was an important block. On 21 minutes a major blow for the home side when Alex Samizadeh, Killie's top scorer in the youth cup this season, was red carded for punching Toby Wells off the ball. The altercation took place when the teams were waiting for a free kick to be taken. The incident was spotted by the linesman. A Graham shot defected off Seb Ross for the first corner of the game. Cameron and Wilson both had shots blocked before the offside flag went up when the ball was returned to the area.
Kilmarnock were enjoying their best spell of the match so far, but the Dons were looking solid at the back. Just after the half hour mark Bruce Anderson won a free kick about 30 yards out. Frank Ross took it but failed to hit the target. A few minutes later Connor McLennan won Aberdeen their first corner. It was taken short to Ethan Ross who put over a cross which Harrington headed goalward but it was a comfortable save for the keeper. Aberdeen with the man advantage then enjoyed some good possession. Kilmarnock got lucky when Keranovic dropped a long ball from Wells. Fortunate for the keeper Aberdeen were unable to take advantage.
On 35 minutes McLennan was very unlucky to receive a yellow card for keeping hold of the ball. Connor was trying to keep the ball in the play and it looked like he had succeeded. Aberdeen again enjoyed some good possession with five minutes of the half to go. Defensive slackness almost allowed Anderson to get a second on the stroke of half time. A long clearance from Craddock found Anderson unmarked at the edge of the Killie box and he smashes a low effort that the keeper parried away. It was a good save as Keranovic had to get down quickly. Then seconds later Bruce got the ball again six yards from goal, but he could not react quick enough.

HT Kilmarnock 0 Aberdeen 1

Straight from the off Cameron fired in a shot which was well held by Craddock. The keeper had to look very alert a minute later when the ball broke free in the six yard box as the right back Barr was about to pounce. In between that Connor McLennan had a chance and probably should have done better with his cut back after finding space inside the area. On 50 minutes Cameron did well to win a corner as Mbayo tried to shield the ball to safety. McDonald's ball in though went straight out of play. A chance wasted. A second corner five minutes was better and Harrington had to head the ball behind for a third corner. Again Harrington defended the set piece very well as the ball was played to the back post area. Kilmarnock were on top at this stage, but Aberdeen then grabbed a vital second.
A great tackle by Frank Ross deep inside the Aberdeen half won the ball back and got the Dons going forward. Iain Wilson did well initially to get the better of Bruce Anderson but his clearance was picked up by Miko Virtanen after good pressing from the Finn. Miko played it to Seb Ross who unselfishly played in Bruce Anderson who slammed it home.
The goal completely took the sting out of the game and on the hour mark Bruce completed his hat-trick. The striker took a shot from just inside the box on the right. His low effort was too powerful for the keeper and landed in the net. A brilliant display for finishing from one of the most naturally gifted strikers at the club. After 64 minutes Harlain Mbayo pulled up with a hamstring injury. The central defender had just battled back from a similar injury. He was replaced by Joe MacPherson.
Miko Virtanen made a very good defensive header before Seb Ross and then Ryan Harrington had shots blocked. Iain Wilson made a good run and beat a couple of players which forced Daniel Harvie to give away a corner. Danny had a very good game at the back, using all his experience. On 71 minutes Chris Antoniazzi replaced Connor McLennan. Seconds later Aiden Wilson gave away a penalty after he handled the ball in the area when Seb Ross tried to flick it past him. Bruce Anderson wanted the ball but captain Seb Ross took the responsibility. Unfortunately the keeper guest right and made a good save diving to his left. Anderson them almost got this fourth when he produced good quick feet to get a shot away inside the area but again the keeper produced a smart stop. A slip by MacPherson then allowed Will Graham to get a powerful shot away but Craddock produced a really fine save. Great concentration as well from David. Then at the other end Antoniazzi almost found Ethan Ross at the back post.
Harvie was booked when he stopped a promising Kilmarnock attack, that was the only real scare late on. Scally curled the free kick just wide.
Kilmarnock Teamsheet
Keranovic, Barr, McLevy (Campbell 78), A.Wilson, I. Wilson (c), Mouanda, McDonald (Paterson 78), Graham, Scally, Samizadeh, Cameron
Unused Substitutes: Miller, Dempsie, Paterson, Walker, Campbell

Bookings:  A. Wilson 70  Samizadeh 21
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Craddock, Harrington, Wells, Virtanen, Mbayo (MacPherson 64), Harvie, McLennan (Antoniazzi 70), Ross, Anderson (Dangana 80), Ross, Ross.

Unused Subs: MacKenzie, Barry, Barron, Mair.

Bookings:  McLennan (36),  Harvie (84).
Venue: Rugby Park, Kilmarnock