An Early Shock for Aberdeen at Pittodrie.
BEATTIE'S GOAL BOOKS TO EASTER ROAD.
(By "Clansman")Aberdeen are one of the eight teams who have to play their Cup second round ties all over again. Hibernians, a virile, clever side, ran the Dons to a meritorious one goal each at Pittodrie on Saturday. Indeed, until twelve minutes after the resumption, when they secured an equalising goal, the more fancied First Leaguers were fighting a losing battle. This goal, scored by Beattie, put new life into the home attack, but the Edinburgh defence, after showing signs of faltering, again stiffened up, and the visitors finished strongly, almost snatching the winning goal in the closing minutes. Aberdeen will have a harder task than ever to win the re-play at Easter Road on Wednesday, and a tightening-up in the reconstructed forward line is necessary if they are to survive. Hibernian came, saw, and almost conquered. From the kick-off till the final whistle at Pittodrie the atmosphere was charged with tense excitement. The issue hung in the balance until the last moment. The verdict, a draw, was not wholly unjust, but there can be no gainsaying that Hibs got "the benefit of the doubt." No one in the crowd, numbering over 16,000, could complain as to the quality the fare. The game was a typical Cup-tie, packed with more thrills than all the episodes of a cinema serial put together. True, the quality of the actual football displayed lacked a certain veneer, but then polish is the last thing one expects to find in a second round Scottish Cup-tie between two well-matched teams. Furthermore, the ground was heavy, following the quick thaw, and the turf cut up badly. It required a good hefty kick to send the ball upfield, and towards the end one or two players on both sides who had been in the wars were incapable of doing much of a hefty nature. But both sides lasted the terrific pace wonderfully well, and it was a tribute to the stamina of the home men that they finished fresher than their opponents, who showed signs of weariness and were obviously delighted at having pulled off a draw. The Hibs were not unhonoured nor unsung. Hundreds of their supporters travelled from Edinburgh and made much to-do with green and white banners and emblems of good luck. Even at the interval an ardent Easter Road follower ran to the field and presented Blyth, the visitors' goalkeeper, with a lucky horse-shoe or something. This seemed to be tempting providence over-much, for till then Hibs had monopolised all the luck that was going.
Story of the Game.Here is the story the game in brief. After a spirited opening Hibs were mercilessly beaten back, and their defence underwent a severe test. It seemed just case of waiting upon the inevitable, so far as a home lead was concerned, when the unexpected happened. Sixteen minutes had elapsed when Hibs were awarded a free-kick on the left, not far from the home goal area. I confess to being seized by a premonition of danger as Walls placed the ball preparatory to shooting (Hibs scored with a "free" against Forfar from practically the same angle and distance in the previous round), and my premonition was correct. Walls shot in a low ball, with little sting behind it - in fact he partially "duffed his drive" - but in the excitement that ensued in front of Smith the leather found the net. Smith was unsighted for a vital second or two, and when he flung himself full-length to save only succeeded in knocking the ball against the foot of the post for it to curl over the line. A soft goal and no mistake. Hibs had struck it lucky.
Marvellous Save.Aberdeen showed great courage following this fell blow, but all their efforts came to naught. One shot by Mills looked a sure scorer, but Blyth threw up his arms to effect a marvellous save. The Dons resumed in, the same courageous spirit as they had left off, and they got no more than their due when, to the accompaniment of a mighty roar, Beattie drove home the equaliser. It was bad for one's nerves after the teams were level once more. One moment Aberdeen seemed certain to take the lead, and the next Hibs were careering towards Smith to conjure up visions of a snap victory for the Second Leaguers. Aberdeen will no doubt consider themselves unlucky not to have won. They certainly were not favourites of fortune, whereas Hibs did enjoy a fair measure of luck. The Dons' slight superiority would have been fairly represented, by an odd goal victory. They deserved this, but it was not to be. The team as a whole played well, though the attack never gave the impression of being thoroughly confident. Apart from the strategical mistake which led to Hibs' goal - the positioning of the men in front of Smith was faulty ? the defence was sound under the severest strain. Smith performed with confidence and ability, but I must say I did not like the manner in which he retreated on at least two occasions, when saving high shots. On one occasion it looked as if another backward step would have carried him over the line with the ball in his arms. And if Flucker had been on hand he might well have been assisted over the line. Shades of Harry Hampton and Jimmy Brownlie in the famous international of Yesteryear.
Fearless Falloon.Cooper was slightly the better he back, but he and McGill kicked a splendid length on a heavy pitch, and their tackling was incisive. There is little wrong with any defence that can keep in check so well such dangerous raiders as the Hibernian forwards. Falloon once more proved his worth as a defensive asset, and I was pleased to see him carry the ball into enemy territory more frequently than is his wont. He is a grand, fearless centre-half. Godfrey was tireless at left-half. He was slightly ahead of O'Reilly, but both were strong and reliable, if not spectacular. Warnock more than justified his inclusion at outside-right. He played throughout with rare spirit and dash, and he and Beattie were a continual source of danger to the visitors' goal. Jack Beattie again touched great heights. His energy was amazing, and the way in which he time and again carried the ball through was most inspiring. It was fitting that he should have the honour of saving day for Aberdeen. He was their best forward, and his wholehearted example undoubtedly did much to encourage his colleagues. Mills was a good second to Beattie. Neither lad spared himself.
Adam a Trier.Adam was always a trier at centre, and the ball seldom came kindly to him. He never really got a fair scoring opportunity, though more than once he was slow in "getting off his mark," as the saying goes. McLean, like the rest of his front-line colleagues, put in a hard afternoon's work on the extreme left, and some of his individual efforts deserved a better fate. Taken all over, however, the forwards did not knit into a real match-winning force. The old fault of bunching in front of goal was once more apparent and the leadership of Moore was sadly missed. Aberdeen will have their work cut out to win at Easter Eoad. In several departments the Dons' can claim a distinct pull over their opponents but there is no denying that on Saturday the Hibs were generally the sweeter-moving side or that their attacks always suggested itself as being the more dangerous near goal. One sighs to think of an opportunist and born leader like Paddy Moore nursing an injury at this time. Had he been out with the "bhoys " on Saturday there would have been no occasion for a mid-week visit to the capital. The Aberdeen directors are to be sympathised with in their forward problem.
IT'S GOALS THAT COUNT.While It took Aberdeen all their time to score one goal against Hibs in the Cup-tie at Pittodrie and thus escape the ignominy of a home defeat, the Pittodrie reserves scored six goals against Airdrie A at Broomfield. The main point of interest in the Broomfield result is the fact that Armstrong, the Dons' reserve centre-forward, scored four goals. Earlier in the season Adam, who led the first team on Saturday without much success, scored four goals in an Alliance game, and the following week was brought in at centre for Moore, then Injured. Will the the board follow the same course in regard to filling Moore's place in the replay at Easter Road on Wednesday? Armstrong's performance is certainly worthy of notice, and it is patent to all that the centre-forward problem in the present Cup-tie team has not yet been satisfactorily solved.
Source: Press & Journal, 6th February 1933