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Bloemfontein Celtics 1 - 2 Aberdeen

HT Score: Bloemfontein Celtics 1 - 1 Aberdeen

Bloemfontein Celtics scorers: Chalwe 10
Aberdeen scorers: Stewart 2 (Pen), Stewart 75.

14/07/2006 | KO: 21:00

Dons off to a winning start

Aberdeen started their pre-season tour of South Africa with a 2-1 victory over Bloemfontein Celtics this evening in Bloemfontein. The Dons got off to a sensational start when they scored after only two minutes. John Stewart was brought down in the box and the striker took the penalty himself, calmly placing the ball home. The lead was shot lived however. A header from a corner gave Bloemfontein an equalizer after some poor defending from Aberdeen in the penalty area - although it was a fine header by Chalwe.

In an even match both teams had chances but it was the Dons who broke the deadlock when Kyle Macaulay played a superb ball in from the left and Stewart was on hand at the back post to knock in his second. Despite some pressure from the hosts late on, the Aberdeen defence held firm to claim the win and get their tour off to the perfect start.

Jimmy Calderwood was able to pick Jamie Smith for the first time in a pre-season match as the midfielder returned from injury. He also picked a strong and experienced looking side as he knew it would a difficult and physical game.

Aberdeen lined up in a 4-4-2 formation. Anderson partnered Touzani in the centre of defence. Chris Clark and Jamie Smith played in wide positions, Clark on the left and Smith on the right, and Nicholson and Dempsey in the centre of the midfield. With Stevie Crawford and Steve Lovell both struggling with slight knocks they were not risked so the manager paired Darren Mackie up front with John Stewart.

Played in cold conditions, in front of a sparse crowd the Dons got off to a sensational start as from virtually their first attack John Stewart was brought down in the box after a clumsy challenge. The striker picked himself up and took the penalty, calmly placing the ball home, drilling the ball wide of the goalkeeper.

Aberdeen's joy did not last long though as the hosts equalised after 10 mins. Soutar fumbled a shot and from the resulting corner Sashi Chalwe was left unmarked and scored with a looping header. It was not the greatest bit of defending from Aberdeen but to be fair it was good header. Gary Dempsey was on the goal line but was unable to get stop it.

After the initial goal burst and frenetic start, the game settled down as both teams enjoyed spells of possession and territory. The Dons started knocking the ball about with confidence without hurting their opponents although they did have a couple of half chances. At the other end Souter was forced to make a couple of good saves. The first half though was an evenly matched affair and the teams went in at the break level.


Into the second half and the home side started to force the pace and Souter again made another good safe. Jimmy Calderwood then decided to freshen up things a bit and replaced Gary Dempsey with Kyle Macaulay on the hour mark. The substitution worked wonders as the youngster would set up the winning goal. He played a good low cross in from the left and Stewart ran into the back post area to put the ball into the net with a well taken finish. It could in fact have been his hat-trick as minutes before that Stewart had a similar opportunity but made a mess of his finish with the goal beckoning.

Calderwood then made another substitution with Diamond replacing the tiring Clark, who had impressed. Although it was more of a defensive move the change again almost brought about a goal as Diamond nearly scored with what was virtually his first touch after a free kick was played in.

The Celtics realised the game was slipping away from them and started pushing everything forward and Aberdeen were now under a fair bit of pressure but Anderson as usual was superb at the back and marshaled his troops well.

In the final minutes Calderwood put on a fresh pair of legs with young Chris Maguire replacing Darren Mackie up front.

In injury time there were chances at both ends. Anderson had an effort cleared off the line and deep into injury time Bloemfontein had a final opportunity but thankfully for the Dons they missed it. Before that they had a decent penalty shout but the referee adjudged it was no hand ball.

Aberdeen held on. Job done.

The manager will be have been pleased with the win. He will also be pleased with the fact Jamie Smith got a game under his belt. The midfielder was inspiration in the first part of last season, and although he finished the season quietly, mainly because he was struggling with injuries, he will be a vital player again this campaign. Anderson and Touzani seemed to form a good partnership at the back after an uncertain start. The Dutchman strolled through the game again and continues to look a great signing.

In the other match in the tournament Jomo Cosmos were beaten 2-0 by Rangers. Kris Boyd and Gavin Rae getting the goals. Aberdeen will now play Jomo Cosmos on Sunday.

Bloemfontein Celtics Teamsheet
Unused Subs:
Venue: Vodacom Stadium, Bloemfontein
2 minutes gone and a penalty to Aberdeen. John Stewart takes it......
and scores! 1-0 to Aberdeen
Jimmy looks less than impressed as Bloemfontein equalise
Barry Nicholson skips away from his Celtics opponent
Motsere Motlhaping holds off Darren Mackie
Barry Nicholson continues to work hard in the midfield
Goal! Stewart grabs his second after a superb cross from substitute Macaulay
Karim Touzani battles with Lebogang Mothibantwa as the Dons hold out for the win
Next Match
10 Jul 2024 / 19:00 / Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead