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Ross County 0 - 1 Aberdeen

HT Score: Ross County 0 - 1 Aberdeen

Scottish Premier Reserve League
Aberdeen scorers: Anderson 33.

20/08/2018 | KO: 14:00

The opening fixture of the new Reserve League saw Aberdeen make the long trek north to face Ross County. Last term's fixtures between the sides in both the Development League and the Youth Cup saw entertaining, tight battles and more of the same was expected on a pleasant Dingwall afternoon. Bruce Anderson and Connor McLennan, who saw first team action on Saturday, both started while Chris Antoniazzi also featured after playing for an hour for Montrose for whom he's on loan for the season.

The opening exchanges were keenly contested by both sides, but neither was able to fashion a clear-cut opening with the play being mainly in the middle of the park. Aberdeen's first shooting chance fell to skipper Dean Campbell when he fired in a twenty-five-yard effort following a Morgan Brown corner, the County defence standing firm to block the shot to safety.
The experienced Ryan Dow had County's first shot in anger but his angled effort from the right-hand side of the box was wide of the target. On 12 minutes Dow was the provider as his pass put MacIver into a good position, but the Staggies skipper pulled his shot wide. A let-off for the visitors.
Midway through the first period the Dons combined well down the right through Miko Virtanen and Ryan Harrington and when the full-back's cross came in at the near post Bruce Anderson was first to react, but his scuffed shot was comfortably held by keeper Munro. Ten minutes later though and the Dons had the lead - albeit slightly against the run of play. Antoniazzi and McLennan combined well to slip Bruce Anderson in and he placed the ball past Munro into the net. Another example of the predatory instincts of the boy from Banff and Aberdeen were ahead.
County reacted well to going behind and Greg Morrison had two chances in the space of 30 seconds, the first saved well by Craddock and the second denied only by the width of the keeper's left-hand post. Aberdeen almost grabbed a second just before the interval but Jack MacKenzie's shot was blocked. The young full back then found his name in the ref's notebook after a foul on Paton.

Half time Ross County Reserves 0 Aberdeen Reserves 1

County coach Richie Brittain made a change at the break by bringing on Wallace for the limping Dow and the substitute almost made an immediate impact flashing a shot just over.
Good work on the left created an opening for Dykes and Craddock was happy to see his rocket shot from distance sail just over his crossbar. On 57 minutes Anderson did superbly well to get on the end of a long ball from Brown and steady himself for an effort on goal. Unfortunately, Bruce lifted the shot just wide as Munro scrambled to regain his position after an untimely charge off his line.
Paul Sheerin made a double switch in the hour replacing McLennan and Antoniazzi with Ethan Ross and Lewis Duncan. A minute later Duncan crossed well for Anderson to fire in a powerful effort on the half-turn, but Munro saved well to keep County in the game.
MacIver saw a shot well blocked by MacKenzie as County applied the pressure but the Dons rearguard was being well led by Sam Roscoe, who was playing really well under the watchful eye of his mum Nicola and little sister Erin who had made the long journey north from Manchester to watch the big centre back.
Lloyd Robertson came on for the last quarter of an hour to replace trialist centre back Jordan McGregor while County introduced Reid in place of McCourt.
The home side pressed right into the final seconds of the match when David Craddock produced a magnificent save to deny MacIver whose header seemed destined for the top corner until the Irishman flung himself to his right to tip the ball away. A match-winning moment which was hugely appreciated by all his team-mates.
In addition to MacKenzie, County's Johnstone and McCourt were cautioned as were Anderson and Robertson in a competitive but sporting encounter.
Ross County Teamsheet
Munro, Kelly, McCourt (Reid 82), Johnstone, Murray, Dykes, Dingwall, Paton, Morrison, Dow (Wallace 45), MacIver (C). Unused substitutes: Williams (GK), Fraser, MacDonald, Noel, Trialist

Bookings:  Johnstone 71,   McCourt 77
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Craddock, Harrington, MacKenzie, Campbell, Trialist (Robertson 74), Roscoe, McLennan (Ross 60), Virtanen, Anderson, Brown (Dangana 90), Antoniazzi (Duncan 60).

Unused Subs: Mykyta, Linden, Mair.

Bookings:  MacKenzie (44),  Anderson (77),  Robertson (90).
Venue: Highland Football Academy, Dingwall
Referee: Harry Bruce