The Aberdeen team completed the first half of their Scottish League fixture card on Saturday, their match with Third Lanark at Pittodrie being the fifteenth on the list. After a severe 6-0 drubbing at Dundee on the previous Saturday, very few of the Aberdeen supporters expected the local team to defeat Third Lanark, but a hard game and a close result was hoped for. Added to their loss of prestige, the Aberdeen club had on Saturday to face the handicap of a weakened and rearranged team due to the absence of Halkett, the right half, on account of the injury sustained at Dundee. When the game started there were between 4000 and 5000 spectators around the arena. The teams were:-
Aberdeen: Macfarlane; Boyle, Gault; Wilfred Low, Strang, Henry Low; Robertson, Edgar, Hamilton, McAulay, Lennie.
Third Lanark: Raeside; Barr, Hill; Cross, Sloan, McIntosh; Johnston, Graham, Comrie, Wilson, Lean.
Referee - Mr. McGill, Thornliebank.
Aberdeen lost the toss, and played with their backs to the sea against a south-westerly breeze. The game was not long in progress when it was evident that the Third Lanark players were bent on winning, for they started with a vigour that caused the Aberdeen half backs and backs considerable anxiety. The Third's football was strong, if not pretty, and, aided by superior height, weight, and speed, and the wind, the visitors rushed the local defence which stood up stubbornly to the attack. Johnston, the Third's outside right, is a flier, and when he slipped past Gault and left the back behind, the Aberdeen's supporters quaked. The parting shot was high and the goal-kick relieved the pressure. Returning to the attack, the Third's forced a corner, and Macfarlane cleared from the kick. Dashing play by Strang eased the pressure on the Aberdeen defence, and the ball being slipped on to Edgar that tricky player ran round an opponent and passed to Robertson. The outside right, by neat play, hoodwinked McIntosh, but nothing came of some clever manoeuvring on the Aberdeen right through Hamilton's weakness in centre. Aberdeen were again dangerous on the left, McAulay cutely drawing out Barr and slipping the ball out to Lennie, who shot hard and fast in to Raeside's hands. Some exciting play followed, both ends being visited in quick succession. The Third Lanark players were very quick on the ball, and they lost no time in fancy display, but rushed eastwards at top speed. From one of these rushes the visitors almost scored, Macfarlane, after appealing in vain for offside, running out and sending the ball against one of the Third's forwards from whose chest it rebounded over the line. The Third, with their bustling tactics, still held the upper hand. With the Aberdeen forwards close down on the Third goal, Henry Low place the ball well in, and so awkward was the situation for the Glasgow backs that relief was got only by giving a corner from a head over. Robertson centre well from the corner flag, but the third got the ball away, and the forwards when racing up the field in characteristic style. Wilfred Low was flustered when he might have nipped the ball from Wilson and Lean, but he recovered quickly, and kicked the ball away from Wilson when that player was about to shoot. An exciting race between Boyle and Lean finished on the Aberdeen goal line, when the Aberdeen right back, touching the ball as it rolled over, gave a corner. Several of the Third Lanark players were not over-particular in their tactics, especially when the referee, who was slow in his movements, was some distance behind the play. Rushing down on the Aberdeen goal, Comrie headed in, but Macfarlane was on the alert and fisted out. A few minutes later Wilson, much to his annoyance, was pulled up for offside when on the run with nobody between him and the net but Macfarlane. Then the Third Lanark goal had a narrow escape, a deadly centre by Robertson being popped smartly into goal, the ball being scraped out of the danger zone more by good luck than good management. The Glasgow forwards had twice tried the Aberdeen defence before the local forwards were again able to make an advance movement, but when they did get on the run one of the best pieces of play of the match was seen. McAulay, by clever dodging and dribbling, made an opening, and, sprinting ahead, he drove the ball fast and low for the far off corner of the net. The angle was a yard off the upright, but Lennie might have put on the finishing touch had he not missed the ball as he dashed in from the wing at great speed. Away to the other end went the Third Lanark forwards, and forced a corner. Macfarlane accurately judged the flight of the ball from the corner flag, and fisted out. Clever work by McAulay and Lennie almost led to the much-desired goal for Aberdeen, but Lennie's rocket shot struck the upright with great force, and rebounded into play. For ten or fifteen minutes the Aberdeen hemmed in the Third Lanark, and besieged their goal, the excitement on the part of the spectators being intense. Try as they might, the Third could not shake off the attack, Strang and Henry Low, strongly aided by Gault and Boyle, keeping them at their own end of the field. Relief came when Hamilton headed the ball over, instead of under, the bar. Macfarlane saved somewhat clumsily, getting in his kick after he had fumbled his pick-up, but giving away a corner. At the other end Lennie tried a shot, which was high. So on the game was waged, with the Third more aggressive and dangerous than their opponents. Both goalkeepers had several shots to hold, all of them more or less soft, but at half-time there was no scoring.
The second half started with an exchange of big kicking. During an Aberdeen raid Boyle, the right back, charged in and dropped a long shot into the Third Lanark goal, Raeside, taken by surprise, kicking out somewhat awkwardly. Gault, hard pressed, gave away a corner, which the Third Lanark failed to profit by. The annoyance which was felt by the spectators at the referee, not so much on account of the decisions he did give, as the decisions he did not give, began to make itself apparent. Far too much latitude was allowed the players on both sides, and some ill-feeling crept into the game on account of this laxness. After Macfarlane had twice smartly saved in a scrimmage, play was more open. Four glaring fouls committed under the referee's eyes went unpenalised. Johnston who was the only really dangerous forward, was knocked off the ball by Gault, but he got in his shot, which was cleared. About ten minutes from the start of the second half Johnston slipped Low, and crossed with deadly accuracy, Wilson of running in and banging the ball into the net, the Aberdeen goalkeeper having no chance to save. Within three minutes Aberdeen equalised in a scrimmage. Lennie ran the ball almost to the goal line and crossed close in. In the scramble Edgar popped the ball into the net, the crowd cheering frantically at this unexpected, but not undeserved success. Aberdeen, thus encouraged, played with great dash, and the Third Lanark goal underwent a brisk bombardment. First one Aberdeen forward, then another headed in, but Raeside was omnipresent; and with ready fist, first on one side of his goal and then at the other, banged the ball to right or left out of danger's way. The jubilation of the Aberdeen team's supporters was short lived. The irrepressible Johnston again showed Low and Gault a clean pair of heels, and although Gault made a desperate effort to knock the clever right winger off the ball he was much too slow for the task, and Johnston, never slackening speed, turned in towards Macfarlane, and when at convenient distance, shot with admirable judgement into the far low corner of the net, beating Macfarlane all the way. Sometime after, Gault was again beaten in the same way by Johnston, but on this occasion Macfarlane saved brilliantly, by throwing himself full length and turning the ball round the outside of the post. Aberdeen then visited the other end, Lennie nipping the ball from Barr's toes and sprinting off goalwards. He was blocked before he had time to shoot. Johnston was again set on goal-getting, but this time Low was after him, and heaved him off the ball just as he shot. As it was, Macfarlane had difficulty in saving. The Aberdeen goalkeeper, twice in succession, was tried, his saving of one high shot from Wilson being smartly done. The Third Lanark forced three corners in quick succession, Macfarlane giving away another corner and turning aside a shot. The Aberdeen forwards could not get down on Raeside, and Strang endeavoured to go through himself. He dribbled the ball past several opponents and drove hard, but a little high, for goal. Hamilton, who did little during this half, got in the way of a shot by McAulay, which looked like beating Raeside. In the last 10 minutes of the game, which was fought out desperately in semi-darkness, an unfortunate incident occurred. Johnston and Henry Low being ordered by the referee to leave the field. The referee had little control over the players in the closing minutes, and a keenly-contested, but far from brilliant game, ended with the score:- Third Lanark 2, Aberdeen 1. The divisible gate was £132 17s, in addition to which about £30 was drawn at the stands.
Source: Aberdeen Daily Journal, 27th November 1905