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Aberdeen 0 - 1 Heart of Midlothian

HT Score: Aberdeen 0 - 0 Heart of Midlothian

SPL Youth 18
Heart of Midlothian scorers: Ramos 75

29/03/2019 | KO: 14:00

Aberdeen U18s went down to a narrow 1-0 defeat at Cove this afternoon against Hearts. In a game that mirrored a number a number of matches this season, they dominated for long spells but lacked a killer instinct in front of goal.

There was a blow in the opening minutes for the visitors when centre half Arron Darge picked up an injury and had to be replaced. Despite the disruption the Tynecastle youngsters had the better of the opening exchanges and Archie Mair was forced into a fine block with his legs when striker Mackenzie Ramos got the wrong of the defence.

15 minutes in, from the first corner of the game, substitute defender Brodie Strang saw his header hit the cross bar and then a few minutes later Jay Charleston King missed a golden opportunity when he failed to find the target from inside the area. A great ball in from the right had picked him out.

The Dons responded and Lewis Duncan put over a decent low cross. Kieran Shanks did well to keep the move alive by getting to the ball ahead of the keeper and then played the ball back to Duncan. From a tight angle his drive just went over the bar.

After 20 minutes Aberdeen forced their first corner but the keeper Josh Doig took a good catch under pressure. Both keepers had impressed in the opening stages. Although it was a decent day weather wise, it was still quite windy.

On the half hour mark more Dons pressure as they started to get on top. Duncan almost started and then finished a move. He made a great tackle on the half way line and played an early ball in behind for Shanks to chase. The striker played it back to Barry who produced the best Dons cross of the game to pick out the run of Duncan but he could not quite do enough inside the area and was quickly crowded out.

Lewis Duncan was producing some superb wing player and on two occasions completely left his marker bamboozled on the floor but was unable to pick out any red shirts inside the area. That was to be the story of the game.

An Aberdeen free kick saw Conor Power at the back post almost find Shanks with his header back across goal and then Duncan missed a great chance when he out spirited the defence but pulled his low shot inches wide. He did everything right apart from applying the finish.

It was not completely one way traffic at this stage and on 36 minutes right back Strachan produced a good tackle on Ramos.

Duncan again produced some lovely play on the wing and his cross was well defended by Leo Watson. Before the break more chances for Aberdeen as first Shanks had a shot blocked and then on the turn forced the keeper into a smart stop. On the stroke of half time Danny Strachan weaved his way into the area but his shot did not match the fine run.

Aberdeen should have been ahead at the break, but Hearts probably had the clearer chances.

Half time: Aberdeen 0 Hearts 0

At the start of the second half, another scramble inside the area but again Aberdeen could not find the decisive touch.

Then Duncan, who was at times unplayable this afternoon, put over two more crosses after more wonderful skills. You almost felt story for anyone trying to mark him. He just could not find the final pass, but it was not through a lack of trying.

And then Max Barry broke forward, he had options left and right but elected to go for goal and his deflected shot was easily saved in the end.

With 20 minutes to go Aberdeen had an incredible let off. Mair at full stretch produced a fine save from close range, it many have been Romas with the final touch as the ball came in from the right. The attack though was kept alive inside the area and when the ball was rolled back to Ramos he looked certain to score but instead fired against the post, the ball then hit Mair instead of going over the line, the keeper then made a third block before the ball was eventually cleared.

Seconds later Aberdeen produced a good break and right winger Kevin Hanratty found Duncan with a clever cross field pass. Duncan ran onto it, settled himself before hitting a shot which beat the keeper but rattled the crossbar.

With just over 15 minutes to go Hearts would made the Dons pay for their misses when they took the lead. As the game became stretched the visitors worked a good attack which just for a second had the defence on the back foot and they lost their shape. Then a quality ball in from the Hearts right was directed into the net by the alert Ramos. A few minutes earlier Aberdeen should have taken the lead, instead they had to try and find a way back into the game.

Aberdeen put on Michael Dangana and the striker made an instant impact and might have got himself a penalty but the referee was unmoved.

The last ten minutes became a bit frantic as the young Dons tried to find something. Hearts were doing there best to frustrate them at every opportunity but to be fair, the Edinburgh side managed the game well after going in front. Also John Rankin?s side were well organised defensively.

Aberdeen had a lot of the ball in and around the box but again, could not find that bit of quality needed and lacked a bit of composure.

The only real chance came in injury time when a low Strachan crossed was stabbed towards goal by Lloyd Robertson but the keeper got an outstretched hand to it.

A disappointing defeat although there would have been plenty of positives, in particular the performance of Lewis Duncan.

Aberdeen Teamsheet
Mair, Strachan, Robertson, Mykyta (Dangana 79), Turner, Power, Duncan, Barron (Booth 72), Shanks, Barry, Hanratty.

Unused Subs: Dalling, Milne, Ramsay, Paterson, Ritchie.
Heart of Midlothian Teamsheet
Harry Stone, Jay Sandison (C) (Sean Docherty 65), Leo Watson, Josh Doig, Arron Darge, Dean Ritchie (16 Kyle Somers 65), Ryan Schiavone, Aidan Denholm, Mackenzie Ramos (15 Kieran Mitchell 79), Jay Charleston King, Sean Ward

Subs not used: Harris Spratt (GK)

Venue: Balmoral Stadium, Cove