Aberdeen U20s were unable to do the double over Rangers this season as they suffered a late defeat at the hands of Rangers at Balmoor. After a goalless first half, the visitors took the lead on 50 minutes after being gifted a goal by Aberdeen before Declan McManus equalised 16 minutes later. Both teams pushed for a winning goal and it was the visitors who got it when a deflected shot from Dykes beat Rogers 4 minutes from time. Aberdeen lined up with Rogers in goal, Campanile at right back, McKenna at left back with Shaughnessy and Rose in central defence. The midfield four were Murray, Petrie, Low and McMahon with Smith playing just off McManus. Young Richie Petrie had a fine game considering it was his first start of the season. Scott Wright, Michael Kelly and Michael Jones were away on international duty. Alan O'Sullivan, Craig Storie and Kieran Gibbons are injured whilst O'Neill, Shankland and Rumsby are out on loan for the remained of the season. All this meant U17 players Kalvin Orsi, Lewis Dunbar, Sam Robertson and Arron Norris were named on the bench. Neil Cooper's side started the game strongly and for the opening 25 minutes were the better team. Cammy Smith had two half chances in-side the area whilst McKenna at the back post had a chance with a header. Nicky Low also went close with a powerful long range shot and Marcus Campanile saw his powerful drive blocked. Whilst the Dons had all the possession they failed to create any real clear cut chances in the final third of the pitch. As the half wore on Rangers slowly came more into things. A slip at the back allowed Gallagher in but Rogers did well to get out quickly and save. The keeper then made a good save from Ramsay who hit a shot from 20 yards out. The Dons defended well for most of the game with Shaughnessy and Rose solid at the back. Campanile and McKenna also had good games. Gasparotto did have a chance with a header from a corner but put his effort wide - that was probably the best chance of the half. Just before the half time interval Kyle McAusland also had a similar chance from a corner but he also failed to hit the target. Before that Craig Murray had gone close for Neil Cooper's side. He made a great burst from the middle of the park but put his shot just past the post.
The second half was a more even affair. The Dons cause was not helped when they gifted Gordon Durie's side the opener five minutes into the second period. There was no danger what so ever but Joe Shaughnessy tried to play a cross field pass. Jamie Burrows read the situation and intercepted. He was through on goal and although Rogers did well to come out and try and put him off the Rangers man managed to recover and slot home. Aberdeen showed great commitment throughout and did well to force their way back into the game. Rangers keeper Gallacher saved a Cammy Smith effort at the near post. The Dons put over a number of dangerous crosses but could not get the break of the ball in the penalty box. However on 66 minutes Aberdeen scored a deserved equaliser. Nicky Low floated a great ball into the box. Scott McKenna at the back post did well to keep the move alive by knocking the ball down and Declan McManus was on hand to score. After that the Dons had chances to win it. Declan got on the end of a great move, he beat one defender and had a chance to shoot but from a tight angle he elected to try and beat another defender who managed just to get a blocking tackle in. Cammy Smith also went close but Gallacher in goal did well to stop a dangerous cross by diving at Cammy's feet. Minutes later the keeper was more fortunate when he punched a clearance only as far as Craig Murray. The midfielder straight away headed the ball goalwards but the ball just looped over the net. Rogers at the other end looked assured as usual and made a couple of good saves from distance however he was slightly fortunate when he spilled a header when landing on the ground but the Dons defenders reacted quickly to recover the situation. Just when it looked like the game was heading for a draw Rangers scored an extremely fortunate winner. Charlie Telfer had a shot from the edge of the area which looked a routine save for Rogers but Dylan Dykes diverted the ball past the diving keeper into the net. Aberdeen pushed hard at the end for another equaliser and there was one half chance when McKenna and Rose challenged in the air but the ball broke kindly for the visitors.A draw would have been a fair result this afternoon and this was a game the young Dons did not deserve to lose.
Aberdeen Teamsheet Rogers
60).Unused Subs: Burns, Dunbar, Robertson, Norris.
Gallacher, McAusland, Halkett, Gasparotto, Sinnamon, Burrows (Gibson 67), Dykes, Crawford, Telfer, Ramsay; Gallagher Subs: Kelly, Pascazio, Roberts.
Venue: Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead