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Aberdeen 1 - 3 Rangers

HT Score: Aberdeen 1 - 2 Rangers

Youth Cup Semi Final
Aberdeen scorers: Barron 4.
Rangers scorers: Dickson 9, McPake 41, Young-Coombes 72

22/02/2019 | KO: 14:00

A place in the Final of the SFA Youth Cup was up for grabs as Aberdeen and Rangers locked horns at Balmoral Stadium. Aberdeen had beaten Inverurie Locos, Motherwell and Kilmarnock to claim their berth in the last four, while the Glasgow side had seen off East Kilbride, Morton and Cove Rangers on their way to this stage.

 The Dons made the perfect start opening the scoring after only four minutes. A long ball eluded the Rangers defence allowing Kevin Hanratty to get in behind the full back and he showed good composure to pick out Connor Barron in the middle, the wee man making no mistake from six yards.

Aberdeen were going forward at every opportunity and a fine run and shot from Lewis Duncan forced a fine save from keeper Hogarth. However, Rangers drew level on 10 minutes when Dickson forced the ball home after his initial effort had been blocked by Archie Mair.

The goal reinvigorated Rangers and they enjoyed a lot of possession without creating anything clear-cut. Aberdeen fought their way back into things and Shanks was only inches away from connecting with another Hanratty pass in the box. It had been an entertaining opening twenty minutes with both sides enjoying some good moments.

McPake tested Archie Mair on 25 minutes after beating the offside trap, but the big keeper stood up well to parry the shot away to safety.  

The pace and trickery of Rangers striker Mebude was causing the Dons defence a few problems and his strong run ended with a shot which didn't seriously trouble Mair.

Rangers took the lead four minutes before the break, McPake sliding the ball past Mair from ten yards after a good run through the inside-right channel. On the balance of possession, Rangers had edged themselves ahead of the Dons and were perhaps deserving of the lead.

The Dons would be disappointed to be trailing at the interval having made such a good start and face a real battle in the second half against a Rangers team which dominated the last twenty minutes of the opening period.

Half time Aberdeen 1 Rangers 2

The home side introduced Mark McLauchlan at half-time, taking the place of Jack Chesser who had taken a knock in the first half. The sub moved into the left back role to allow Lloyd Robertson to bolster the Dons midfield.

McPake had the ball in the net again for Rangers after 48 minutes, but the flag was up for offside.

A lovely flowing move from the Dons saw Robertson and Ross combine to create a shooting chance for Hanratty, but the winger's effort as just the wrong side of the keeper's right-hand post.

Rangers left back Patterson was the first booking of the game in 55 minutes following a clumsy challenge on Duncan.

A good run by Robertson saw him drive into the Rangers box, but he was closed off before he could get a shot away. Hanratty raced forward to fire in a shot at goal, but Hogarth was well positioned to make the save look routine.

Archie Mair produced the save of the game to deny McPake on 66 minutes, just before Dickson was replaced by Young-Coombes. Aberdeen took off Barron and Shanks as Max Barry and Michael Dangana were introduced.

A display of dissent from Williamson earned the Rangers midfielder a caution then Duncan shot high and wide as the Dons pushed for an equaliser.

Rangers caught the Dons on the counter-attack on 72 minutes when Mebude slipped the ball through for substitute Young-Coombes to dink the ball over Mair to make it 3-1.

Mebude was the third Rangers man into the book after a foul on Danny Strachan, the striker almost going from sinner to saint in the space of sixty seconds as he placed the ball just wide after a fine pass from the impressive McPake.

A foul on Ethan Ross saw Miller booked as the Dons skipper threatened to get clear shortly after Mair had again saved brilliantly from McPake. McClelland could have put the game out of sight but snatched at his shot before another excellent Mair block denied Williamson.

Ethan Ross had an opportunity on 86 minutes after the Dons won a free-kick twenty-five yards out, but his shot ballooned high over the bar.

Danny Strachan was cautioned for a late challenge as the clock ran down with Rangers seeing the game out to deservedly claim their spot in this year's SFA Youth Cup final. Aberdeen had battled hard throughout but ultimately didn't have enough on the day to get the victory they craved.

Aberdeen Teamsheet
Mair, Strachan, Robertson, Chesser (McLauchlan 46), Turner, Power, Duncan, Barron (Barry 67), Shanks (Dangana 67), Ross, Hanratty.

Unused Subs: Mykyta, Dalling, Ramsay, Ritchie.

Bookings:  Strachan (89).
Rangers Teamsheet
Hogarth, O'Connor, Patterson (Maxwell 73), Miller, Finlayson (C), McClelland, McPake, Williamson, Mebude (Balde 80),Dickson (Young- Coombes 66), Kennedy Unused substitutes: Kinnear (GK), Maxwell, McKechnie, Yates, McKee

Bookings:  Patterson 55,   Williamson 68,   Mebude 75,   Miller 81
Attendance: 450
Venue: Balmoral Stadium, Cove
Referee: Liam Duncan