Aberdeen used two different elevens in either half of tonight’s friendly at Turriff, but both sides performed well as they rattled in nine goals without reply with debutant Ester Sokler taking the honours with a four goal salvo in the second period.
A full house of around two thousand fans at The Haughs greeted the Dons as they made their first appearance of the 2023-24 season, sporting their new red and gold playing kit. Summer signing Nicky Devlin featured in the first half eleven while Findlay Marshall made a first top team start after a fine season with the Under 18s last term.
The Dons almost took the lead with their first attack, a fine ball over the top from Evan Towler releasing Alfie Bavidge whose angled shot drew a fine save from David Dey in the home goal. Aberdeen enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and came close through Ylber Ramadani and Ryan Duncan while the constant probing of the returning Vinnie Besuijen was a problem Turriff never really got to grips with.
After Jonny Hayes saw a curling effort tipped over, Findlay Marshall broke the deadlock in the 27th minute slotting home in calm fashion with his left foot after being picked out by the impressive Ramadani. Six minutes later the youngster was provider as he knocked the ball into the path of Leighton Clarkson who scored with ease from six yards.
After Besuijen shot wide, Ramadani scored the pick of the first half goals, firing an unstoppable 25 yard effort high past Dey’s right hand after a great run from the Albanian powerhouse.
Half time – Turriff United 0 Aberdeen 3
Barry Robson sent out a totally different eleven for the second half, but they carried on where the first half team had ended. Dante Polvara saw a fine curling effort well saved by Dey before Shinnie’s right wing corner was scrambled into the net from close range, Duk being credited with the goal.
A fine pass from Kieran Ngwenya sent Sokler racing in on goal, another fine save from Dey keeping the striker at bay.
But he was not to be denied and on 64 minutes the Slovenian grabbed his first Aberdeen goal, rifling Polvara’s pass high into the net from 15 yards. A finish which promises much for the season ahead.
Three minutes later Ester doubled his tally sending Dey the wrong way from the penalty spot after Duk had been fouled. Then with ten minutes left on the clock he claimed his hat-trick, pouncing on a loose ball in the box to again leave the keeper helpless.
But he wasn’t settling for just three debut goals, four minutes later a fourth strike found the net after good work from Duk and from Shayden Morris. A brilliant start to Sokler’s Aberdeen career, the Dons recruitment team look to have unearthed another gem.
A minute later Morris got the goal his all round display merited when he fired a low shot from twenty yards in off the keeper’s right hand post to complete a comprehensive victory for the two Dons elevens who showed some real fluency allied to great sharpness throughout both on and off the ball.
Next up is a trip to Bellslea Park to face Fraserburgh on Saturday, kick off for another sell out is 3pm.
Turriff United Teamsheet
Dey, Grant (Kinsella 54), Watt, Stuart (R. Clark 64), Foster, Cormack (Cooper 70), Gray (Strachan 54), Smith (Murray 58), Allan (McKeown 54), E. Clark (Gauld 46), MacKenzie (Alberts 46)
Unused Subs: Abolfathi, Gordon, Thompson, Linton
Aberdeen Teamsheet Roos
46).Unused Subs: Lobban, Emslie, McKenzie.
Venue: The Haughs, Turriff
Referee: Joel Kennedy