Despite being without a host of players, Aberdeen U20s put in an excellent performance to beat Kilmarnock 2-1 at the Kilwinning Sports Club and in doing so gained some revenge over the side that knocked them out of the SFA Youth Cup earlier this season. A number of the young Dons are currently away on International duty - Cammy Smith and Scott McKenna play for Scotland U19s tomorrow whilst Scott Wright and Michael Kelly were away with the U17s. Add in the injured players and those who are out on loan to the missing list, it was again a very young team Neil Cooper fielded in Ayrshire. Aberdeen lined up with Rogers in goal, Campanile at right back, Murray at left back with Shaughnessy and Rose in the centre of defence. McMahon, Petrie and Low were the midfield three with Jones on the right, Orsi on the left wing and McManus up front. The Dons started the game really well and had a couple of chances. They put an effort just past the post so when Kilmarnock took the lead on 9 minutes it was against the run of play. The young Dons gave the ball away in midfield and Killie broke forward. Michael Rose did really well to get and make a good block but at the expense of a corner. When the corner came over poor marking allowed Ross Barbour to get in a free header which gave Rogers no chance.
Credit to Aberdeen though as they came back strongly and scored a really good equaliser.
The ball was played down the line for Marcus Campanile who produced a great turn to beat the defender. Nicky Low made a really good supporting run and was picked out by Campanile in the middle of the box and Nicky showed his usual composure in front of goal to finish well.
Delcan McManus then had a good strike which was well saved by Antonio Reguero. The Dons had a couple more half chances before they took the lead. Kalvin Orsi played the ball in from a corner. Michael Rose did well to win the ball and knock it out to Richie Petrie. Richie then whipped in a superb ball to the back post area and Declan McManus managed to find space and plant a great header into the net. The Dons defended well all afternoon and Rogers had little to do.
The second half was similar to the first with Aberdeen looking the better team. The Dons had the chance to increase their lead and should have taken at least one of the chances. McManus and Low were through on goal but Reguero was in excellent form this afternoon. McMahon and Campanile also had chances but in the end it did not matter and Aberdeen ran out deserved winners. After the game Neil Cooper said "I thought we played very well this afternoon and thoroughly deserved the win. Everyone played very well. The three experienced boys, Shaughnessy, Low and McManus were outstanding and led by example. They are great professionals and linked well with those round about them. The young lads also did very well. Many of them, such as Michael Jones have had to be patient because of the quality we have in the squad but they have come in in recent weeks and given a very good account of themselves.
"Kalvin Orsi had another good game but he played for the U17s on Sunday, they had a good result when they beat Dundee United 3-0, so I decided to replace him with Aaron Norris. We also put Frank Ross on for Matthew and he acquitted himself well. It was very good to get those boys introduced to a higher level of football."