The semi-final round of the North-Eastern Cup competition was played at Pittodrie, Aberdeen, yesterday afternoon, between Aberdeen and Falkirk. The weather was good in the pitch in excellent order. There were two changes in Aberdeen's team which played the Celtic on Saturday, Niblo and Murray taking O'Hagan's and McEchran's places. There was a fair attendance when the teams lined up as follows:-
Aberdeen: Mutch; Colman, Hume; Halkett, McIntosh, Low; Murray, Simpson, McNair, Niblo, Lennie.
Falkirk: Stewart; Hendry, Gibson; MacMillan, Donaldson, Orrock; Simpson, MacTavish,
Clark, Devine, Brown.
Referee - Mr. J B Stark, Airdrie.
Murray and Niblo, Aberdeen's new men, received a great ovation on taking the field. Falkirk won the toss, and played towards the sea. To Aberdeen made off on the right, but Murray sent too far ahead, and Hendry cleared. Lennie got away, but he was cleverly robbed of the ball by Gibson. Play was confined to the visitors' territory for a few minutes. A great shot by Niblo was kicked out by Gibson. The ball went to Murray, who sent past. During a promising attack by Aberdeen Macdonald got amongst the players, and the game was stopped for a minute. Exciting play followed in front of Stewart. Lennie and McNair had good tries, which were cleared by the backs. A long drive by Halkett was cleared by Stewart. Niblo showed good form, and was an able partner to Lennie. Murray and Simpson combined well, but they kept too close together, with the result that they were often robbed of the ball. Niblo was repeatedly dangerous, and one of his shots went behind. Falkirk had a run down on the left, but the ball was secured by Colman, who sent ahead. Mcintosh passed to Lennie, and the winger forced a corner. The corner kick was well placed, and Niblo, who was in good position, scored with his head. Falkirk put more life into their play after this reverse. They rushed down in a body, but Colman and Hume were a steady as a rock. A hard drive by Orrock was cleverly cleared by Mutch. Simpson, Falkirk's flier, was kept well in hand by Low. Lennie forced another corner, but the ball was got away. Falkirk forced a corner a minute later, the ball was sent out by an Aberdeen player. Devine got it well out, and, after outwitting two men, scored with a high shot. Mutch jumped at the ball, and got his hands on it, but it was too fast for him. Equal play followed until Simpson, Falkirk, got away. He rushed down nearly the whole length of the field, and sent in a swift shot. Mutch, in clearing, gave away a corner. This advantage proved fruitless. Play was confined mostly to the Aberdeen left, and it was only now and again that the men on the right got an opportunity. Niblo was not so prominent as in the opening stages. He repeatedly missed passes from Lennie, who in consequence was inclined to be somewhat selfish. Aberdeen did not open out the play at all well. A well-combined run by Niblo and Lennie resulted in the ball going behind. Aberdeen's forwards showed the old weakness of hesitating too long in front of goal before shooting. The halves endeavoured to show them how to shoot, and Low and Halkett and capital tries from far out. Aberdeen had most of the game, but they could not follow up their advantages. Hendry and Gibson proved a strong pair of defenders. Aberdeen were very near securing another goal. A 'cute move by Niblo allowed McNair to get off. the centre-forward passed to Murray, who in turn sent over a well-timed pass. Niblo got the ball, but being in an awkward position, he had not time to shoot. He sent in with the side of his left foot. As the ball was crossing the goal line Stewart threw himself at it and sent it round the post with the tips of his fingers. It was a near thing. The resulting corner proved fruitless. A minute later McTavish had a great shot, which was smartly cleared by Mutch. McNair was in poor form. Had he taken full advantage of the opportunities given him, Aberdeen would've been a few goals up.
Aberdeen be started in promising fashion, and the Falkirk defence was kept busy for some time. Niblo headed over. Three of the Bairns got away with a clear field, but McIntosh overtook them on the run and cleared. Falkirk played with much dash, and after Mutch had been called upon, McNair got through from a pass by Lennie. His final effort was saved by Stewart. Falkirk attacked on the left, but grand defensive work by Colman broke relief. Aberdeen attacked strongly, but sound play by the visitors' halves and backs kept them out. The siege was raised when McNair sent over. Falkirk had now more of the game. They had several dangerous Russians, but Aberdeen's defence was sound. An exciting struggle was witnessed in front of Falkirk's goal, and it was only when a fruitless corner resulted that relief was given. The visitors broke away on the right, and for a few minutes Aberdeen's backs were busy kicking out. Notwithstanding the pressure Falkirk brought to bear on Aberdeen, Mutch had very little to do. Aberdeen gradually took the game in hand, and on many occasions the visitors were lucky in keeping their goal intact. All the local forwards had good tries, but they could not get the ball piloted into the net. Falkirk were extremely lucky. Very seldom did they get beyond midfield. Stewart gave a masterly exhibition of goalkeeping. Terrific cries by Niblo, Lennie, and Simpson were dealt with in a clever manner. Aberdeen were all over their opponents, but their shooting was generally wretched. Time and again Stewart came to the rescue when all seemed lost. Aberdeen's new men showed capital form during the closing stages. Niblo and Lennie were the best wing on the field, and the new man fed his partner very well. Niblo played a strong, robust game, and his display was much ahead of that he gave in the first half. The Falkirk backs were sorely pressed, and they repeatedly kicked out of the field. Such pressure as Aberdeen brought to be a could not go long on rewarded, and in the closing minute McNair gave his side the lead and also victory. The point was mainly due to Simpson, who gave the centre-forward an opportunity that could not very well have been missed. McNair practically walked the ball into the net.
The gate and stands amounted to £60.
SUMMARY OF THE GAME
The game, on the whole, was a good one. Aberdeen had easily the best of matters during the first 20 minutes, and Niblo's goal, cleverly taken from a corner, was well deserved on the general run of the play. Falkirk made a splendid rally, Devine's goal being a capital left-foot drive, beating Mutch all the way. Aberdeen should have lead at half-time, but week shooting, coupled with a lucky defence, saved Falkirk. Aberdeen had even more of the game in the second half, and Falkirk were extremely lucky in not being a few goals down. It appeared as if the game was to result in a draw. A minute from time McNair scored. Aberdeen fully deserved their victory, and with a little luck would have secured a crop of goals. Aberdeen's new men played well.
Source: Aberdeen Daily Journal, 26th December 1908