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St. Patricks 2 - 2 Aberdeen

HT Score: St. Patricks 2 - 0 Aberdeen

St. Patricks scorers: Quigley 2, Forrester 17.
Aberdeen scorers: Rooney 50, McGinn 60.

21/06/2014 | KO: 16:00

Irish League Champs Give Dons Thorough Test

Aberdeen were this afternoon given a very useful work out against Irish League Champions St Partick's Athletic in Dublin. Unsurprisingly the Dons were slow to get going and found themselves 2-0 down early on against impressive opposition. However Aberdeen put in a very encouraging second half showing with the first European game now only 12 days away and goals from Adam Rooney and Niall McGinn gave the Dons a draw.

For the first pre-season game of 2014/15 Derek McInnes named Scotland U17 player Scott Wright in his starting XI. It was the first time the Youth Academy youngster has been involved with the first team squad. The players are into their second week of their high intensity pre-season campaign, and have been building up to getting some match minutes into the legs. The team that started the first half was Langfield in goal, Logan at right back, Shaughnessy and Reynolds in central defence with Considine at left back. Jack and Flood were the holding midfielders with Hayes on the right, Wright on the left and Pawlett playing in behind Rooney.

It was certainly a tough opening pre-season game for the Dons, St Patrick's Athletic are the Irish Champions and in the middle of their season. Like the Dons they have one eye on Europe - they are in the Champions League draw on Monday. A useful game then for both teams.

The match kicked off in warm humid conditions. It was certainly an afternoon for keeping the ball and not chasing it.

Aberdeen got off to a dreadful start when they first of all gave away a corner after Shaughnessy was forced to head behind a dangerous cross. Conan Byrne swung in the ball from the left and Mark Quigley could not believe his luck as he was left completely unmarked and was able to head the ball past Clarke.

Shortly after that Aberdeen got themselves in a mess again when Langfield had to deal with a back pass, although the keeper lost the ball on his goal line, the defence were able to regroup and deal with a chipped cross into the box.

On 6 minutes Hayes played in a free kick which was met well by Shaughnessy but his well directed header was saved by Brendan Clarke in the St Pats goal. Two minutes later Hayes went on a great run down the right. He cut inside the full back before beating another defender. Jonny then played the ball back to Pawlett and it looked like the ball was heading goalwards but Conor McCormack was able to clear the ball off the line.

After a lull in play the home side then went two up on 17 minutes. Poor marking on the edge of the area allowed Mark Quigley time to get a shot away and he fired a fine shot into the corner of the net past Langfield. He really should have been closed down better though.

On 22 minutes Aberdeen had a great chance to pull a goal back. Pawlett did well to win the ball half way inside the St Pats half. He drove forward before playing the ball wide to Flood who had done well to get up in support but his first time shot went inches wide with the keeper beaten.

After about 25 minutes Derek McInnes made a tactical change, Hayes and Wright swapped wings. On 27 minutes a long ball down the left set Byrne free. As Logan came back to cover he played the ball inside to Quigley but his chipped effort was read by Langfield who had stood up to the shot and he was able to save easily.

On 33 minutes Scott Wright played in a free kick after Hayes was brought down running at full pace. The free kick was met by Shaughnessy who headed the ball up in the air. Reynolds then came in and tried his luck but he could not get enough on it and after a bit of a scramble the Irish side cleared their lines.

As the half wore on Aberdeen started playing a bit better and find their passing range.

On 41 minutes Hayes, who was the pick of the Dons players in the first half, played a great low cross across the face of goal but there was no one there to score. Then Jack played a good through ball to Rooney but the striker was unable to get a clean shot away and his effort was deflected behind for a corner. Aberdeen then won another corner but it was the home side who should have added to their lead before the break when Quigley got the wrong side of Logan and was clean through, however he put his effort just over. Then on the stroke of half time a Brennan free kick beat the wall but Langfield made a good save.

HT 2-0

At half time McInnes made two changes; Shaughnessy and Wright went off, Smith and McGinn came on. Hayes moved to left back with Considine partnering Reynolds in the middle of defence. McGinn went wide left and Smith was wide right. Aberdeen looked a completely different team in the second half and got themselves back into the game on 50 minutes. Cammy Smith hit a powerful shot from about 30 yards. Substitute keeper Rene Gilmartin made a decent save but could not push the ball wide, instead the ball sat up nicely for Adam Rooney who was the first to follow in.

On 58 minutes Jack played a good ball in for Pawlett who latched onto it in the box but Derek Foran came across to make a great tackle. Then on the hour mark Aberdeen were level. Willo Flood in typical style put pressure on the home defence, he was then able to tackle substitute Foran which allowed Niall McGinn to nip in and the striker had time to pick his spot before hammering it past Gilmartin.

On 61 minutes Robson replaced Pawlett. On 64 minutes Conan Byrne had the ball in the net after he scored from close range but the striker was correctly ruled offside. After 70 minutes more changes, Rooney and Flood made way for Shankland and McManus. Shankland played up front with McManus going to wide on the left.

On 71 minutes McGinn, who looked remarkably fit considering he only met up with the team late on Thursday evening, had a snap shot but Gilmartin saved. Then a minute later Shankland had a shot but again the keeper saved and a minute after that McManus had an even better chance but again the keeper saved. On 76 minutes Shay Logan was replaced by Craig Murray in a straight swap. Storie went to right back, Murray right midfield and Robson moved into the middle of the park.

Aberdeen were by now dominating the possession and Derek McInnes would have been happy with some of the link up play. However on 84 minutes St Pats won a free kick in a good area and Byrne cleared the wall but Langfield tipped it over at the second attempt.

With three minutes to go Jack was replaced by Masson and Rose came on for Considine. Murray moved to left back and Rose went to right back. Understandably all the changes from both teams effected the flow of the game in the closing stages. On 88 minutes Murray went down in the box but no penalty was given and then the home side raced up the park but Byrne wasted a good chance by blasting it high and wide. In injury time Cammy Smith had the final shot of the game but his low effort was saved by Gilmartin at the near post.

St. Patricks Teamsheet
Brendan Clarke (Rene Gilmartin 46), Conor McCormack (Gary O'Neill - Trialist 46), Ian Bermingham, Ken Oman, Kenny Browne (Derek Foran 46), Greg Bolger (Lee Lynch 62), James Chambers, Killian Brennan (Sam Verdon 79), Conan Byrne, Chris Forrester (Daryl Kavanagh 46), Mark Quigley. Unused Subs: Peter Durrad.
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Langfield, Logan (Murray 76), Shaughnessy (Smith 46), Reynolds, Considine (Masson 88), Flood (McManus 70), Jack (Rose 88), Hayes (Storie 84), Pawlett (Robson 60), Wright (McGinn 46), Rooney (Shankland 70).
Attendance: 500
Venue: Richmond Park, Dublin