Aberdeen Under 18s returned to winning ways on Friday night with a good win in Paisley against St Mirren, where Adam Emslie grabbed a double, and Alfie Bavidge chipped in with one of his best goals efforts yet.
The Young Dons returned to action following an international break which saw Dylan Lobban away with Scotland Under 17s, Brendan Hamilton met up with the Northern Ireland Under 17 squad which took on both Denmark and England. Alfie Bavidge missed out on joining Dylan in representing his country this time due to injury, but the young hitman was able to recover in time to make - and start, the visit to Paisley.
Stuart Duff rung the changes ahead of the third meeting between the two sides this season. Blair McKenzie and Finlay Murray bolstered the backline, with Victor Enem and Jamie Mercer dropping out. Findlay Marshall returned from suspension, replacing Lewis Pirie.
Aberdeen started, and crucially stayed strong throughout the opening 45. Adam Emslie and Alfie Stewart looked lively, both had early efforts go wide and saved respectively.
St Mirren's only real chance of the first half fell to Ryan Porter, but Blessing Oluyemi was alert and equal to it, putting the ball behind for a Saints corner.
On the 20-minute mark Aberdeen got their noses in front, Finlay Murray marked his return to the starting XI with a powerful header, rising highest to meet Stewart's dead ball. The corner came as a result of some great play between the two Alfie's, Stewart's through ball was latched onto by Bavidge and his effort was thwarted only by a strong save from Kenzie Smyth. 1-0 Aberdeen.
Aberdeen continued to dominate the first half while still looking solid at the back when needed. Murray looked comfortable at right back and defended well after a flurry of St Mirren corners.
Before the half-time whistle there was time for one more goal, this time Bavidge got his name as ever on the scoresheet, but the finish was far from a straightforward one. Alfie was the calmest person in Paisley, meeting a pinpoint ball that he let come across his body, before firing high and across the helpless keeper on the volley and into the back of the net. It was a simply magnificent finish that caught everyone off guard.
Bavidge's goal was the last action of the half, and Aberdeen went into the break with a comfortable advantage.
The second half, although it saw more goals than its predecessor, was a much more subdued affair. Bavidge was replaced at the break, with Cammy Wilson coming on.
St Mirren saw a potential lifeline come their way early in the second half after Evan Mooney was able to break away and catch Oluyemi ever so slightly off his line, finishing over the keeper and into the back of the Dons net.
There was a feeling that the next goal would be crucial, which saw a cagey period as both teams looked to take control, but Emslie made sure it would be Aberdeen who asserted their dominance. The young winger hit a great finish on the hour mark from the edge of the box after St Mirren were unable to properly clear their lines, the ball came crashing off the woodwork and past Smyth for a third Aberdeen goal, and the Young Dons reinstated their two-goal cushion.
A few minutes after the goal, McKenzie went down injured and was unable to continue. Jamie Mercer came on in his place to see out the game. Just five minutes later, it was Marshall's turn to go down and he was also unable to go on, this time Fletcher Boyd was the man chosen to replace the midfielder.
The second half looked like it would finish up a 3-1 victory for the Young Dons, but two goals near the death transformed a good win on the road into a great win on the road. Boyd, at just 15 years of age got himself on the score sheet, keeping up the trend of great goals in the game, blasting home after some great work from Emslie.
Before his day was done Emslie got another goal of his own, catching out Smyth for one last time and unleashing an arrow from distance. The goal capped off a great individual performance from the winger who looked a major threat throughout.
There was no more action in the game and Aberdeen ran out as comfortable winners on the night thanks to a selection of great individual goals. The three points come at a great time for the Young Dons at a crucial point in their league campaign. The U18s play St Mirren again next week, the fixture this time at Cormack Park.
St. Mirren Teamsheet
Smyth, Logue, Carey, Foster, McLelland, Campbell, Mooney, Gaffney, Gilmartin, Porter, Phinn
Unused Substitutes: Anderson, Sutherland, Dunlop, Delvin, McEvoy, Grady
Aberdeen Teamsheet Oluyemi
70).Unused Subs: Fatona, Kondolo, Smilie.
Referee: Andy Taylor