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Gretna 1 - 1 Aberdeen

HT Score: Gretna 0 - 0 Aberdeen

Gretna scorers: A Jenkins 90
Aberdeen scorers: Lovell 86.

26/12/2007 | KO: 15:00

Dons forced to share points

After an uninspiring 85 minutes Aberdeen looked to have claimed all three points when Steve Lovell grabbed his first goal of the season after 86 minutes. Gretna went straight up the field and won a soft penalty kick when Byrne was adjudged to have bundled over Deuchar. The striker took the kick himself and smashed the ball against the upright. The Dons failed to take the warning and in the first minute of injury time Jenkins smashed a McGill cross past Langfield to earn a share of the spoils. Days like this could well come back to haunt the Dons come the end of the campaign.

Gretna started strongly as they attempted to test the re-jigged Aberdeen defence in front of a huge Aberdeen support that had clearly been underestimated by the home side. The home side won a free kick in the 6th minute but Langfield comfortably held the effort from Yantorno. A minute later Miller looked to have beaten the offside trap but was flagged by the linesman much to his disgust. At the other end Langfield had another easy take from a Deverdics header.

Good pressure from Smith in the 8th minute looked to have won a throw in but referee Winter decided to award the throw to the home side. Two minutes later Miller had the legs taken from him and again no decision was given but seconds later Caig had to scramble a Smith shot away and didn't cover himself in too much glory in the process. Gretna won the first corner of the match after 13 minutes but again Langfield dominated his area and quickly released Aluko. The youngster raced forward and forced a save from Caig.

Deuchar then had a good chance in the 24th minute and as Jamie Smith broke referee Winter made an impromptu interception to deny the Dons. A minute later Aluko tested Caig in the Gretna goal but the keeper did well to hold the 20-yard effort. Two minutes later Yantorno should have given Gretna the lead but he blasted over from six yards when it looked easier to score. Foster was causing the home defence problems on the flanks and he won a second corner on the half hour mark, but once again Nicholson's delivery was easily cleared.

There was almost a bizarre goal for the Dons a minute later when the ball bounced off a Gretna defender, rebounded of lee Miller and went wide with the keeper scrambling across his goal. Innes became the first player to be booked when he pulled Lee Miller back. The resulting free kick came to nothing when Aluko was penalised for a tug. A Touzani shot went well wide in the 35th minute as the game cried out for a goal to get things kick started. Seconds later Foster picked up the ball and fired in a cross that was back heeled by Miller before being booted clear.

Two minutes later Langfield had to look lively to prevent a Richie Byrne slice from landing in his own net. The home side finished stronger, but the Dons defence held firm and kept their goal intact. Then in the final minute Aluko and Foster combined well, but Foster fired his effort wide of the target.

Lovell replaced Touzani at the start of the second half in a positive move from Jimmy Calderwood. The striker was involved early when he released Young in the 47th minute and was inside the area for the return. Gretna cleared but seconds later Aluko made a great run into the box, but he fired wide when he really should have hit the target. Aberdeen were looking more positive now and were looking more of a threat to the home side. Gretna made their own substitution five minutes into the half as they tried to counter the Dons new attacking threat.

Almost immediately the home side broke forward and Foster had to make a timely headed clearance. Good work from Smith won the Dons first corner of the second half in the 55th minute and a good delivery from Nicholson was headed inches wide by Lee Miller. Two minutes later Deuchar gave the Dons a reminder that they were still very much in the match as he skipped past Byrne and fired wide. After the whirlwind start to the second half Aberdeen were now struggling but in the 62nd minute they had two chances to score. First Hart hit the bye line and his cross was met by Miller who watched in agony as his overhead kick was headed off the line then Aluko was denied as Caig turned his shot wide.

A minute later Maguire replaced Aluko but it was Gretna who almost opened the scoring when Langfield did well to block a shot and concede a corner. Langfield punched the corner clear but the Dons were still on the back foot as they struggled to clear their lines. Another corner in the 70th minute was wasted before a second corner a minute later had Caig struggling to tip the ball over and seconds later Lovell was unable to connect with a Smith cross as the keeper tidied up. In the 76th minute Aberdeen went forward in droves but no one wanted to shoot until Miller fired and had his shot deflected wide.

Another Miller effort was cleared from the six yard line as the Dons looked to get the break through. A Foster cross in the 80th minute was cut out by Innes and Maguire followed up but failed to hit the target. At the other end Deuchar threatened before Hart was fouled. The full back failed to recover and was replaced by Dan Smith. The ball came into the Gretna box in the 84th minute but once again no Aberdeen player wanted to take the responsibility and Caig was able to pick up. Lovell finally broke the deadlock in the 86th minute when Young did the spade work on the flank and when the ball came in Lovell was on hand to tap in.

Within a minute lightning struck twice in two weeks when Richie Byrne conceded a penalty at Fir Park, but as Deuchar stepped up he slammed the ball off the post. Justice was probably done as the award looked soft but Gretna were not to be denied and they levelled in the first minute of injury time as a cross from McGill was smashed past Langfield by Jenkins. Aberdeen went hunting for a second goal and won a corner in the last minute of the match, but they were unable to penetrate the Gretna defence and will be rueing the loss of another two important points.

Gretna Teamsheet
T Caig, G Skelton, C Innes, A Collin, E Horwood, K Deuchar, F Yantorno, D Cowan, H Makinwa (R McGuffie 48), N Deverdics (A Jenkins 75), P Murray (B McGill 80). Unused Subs: G Fleming, C Barr, F McLaren, E Paartalu.

Bookings:  C Innes (32)
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Langfield, Hart (Smith 82), Byrne, Foster, Touzani (Lovell 45), Mair, Nicholson, Young, Miller, Smith, Aluko (Maguire 62).

Unused Subs: Soutar, Smith, de Visscher.

Bookings:  Foster (87).
Attendance: 1,730
Venue: Fir Park, Motherwell
Referee: Brian Winter, Motherwell
Next Match
10 Jul 2024 / 19:00 / Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead