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Aberdeen 5 - 1 Falkirk

HT Score: Aberdeen 1 - 1 Falkirk

SPFL Development League
Aberdeen scorers: Shankland 24, Shankland 63, Campanile 70, Shankland 81, Jones 87.
Falkirk scorers: Grant (30)

18/11/2014 | KO: 14:00

In an extremely competitive and high quality game the young Dons opened the scoring on 24 minutes when Langfield and Monakana set up Shankland who produced a brilliant lob from 25 yards out. However the visitors, coached by ex Don Alan Maybury, deservedly equalised on the half hour mark when Thomas Grant, son of ex Don Brian, set up Scott Shepherd and although his shot was parried by Langfield, Grant followed up to score.
Falkirk finished the first half strongly and started the second period well. They had the ball in the net when Shepherd scored but he was flagged offside. The Dons though weathered that particular storm with some good defending and just after the hour mark the pace of Scott Wright won the Dons a penalty and Shankland converted to put Aberdeen ahead. Lawrence a few minutes later could have had his hat-trick but he missed the target. However on 70 minutes Marcus Campanile headed home a Monakana corner and then on 81 minutes Shankland did get a deserved hat-trick with a great finish. The striker put in another excellent performance this afternoon and his hold up play allowed Monakana, Wright and Smith to put on impressive attacking display. He has also now scored 15 goals for the season.
Substitute Michael Jones then scored with his first touch of the ball just before the end to complete a very good win against a strong Falkirk side.
The Dons lined up today with Langfield in goal, Rose at right back, Harvie at left back with Gibbons and McKenna in central defence. Ross and Campanile were the central midfielders with Wright on the right, Monakana on the left and Smith playing off Shankland. Falkirk had a strong looking line up with a number of players who have first team experience. Aberdeen worked a good chance in the first minute but Smith could not find Shankland in the box. The opening stages were very competitive and Ross received a sore one after a collision with Durojaiye. Even at this stage you could tell this was a real test for the league leaders and they would have to play well to get a result.
After 10 minutes Monakana beat his man down the left and his cross found Wright at the back post but he could not get enough power on his header. A minute later Monakana swung in a dangerous free kick and McKenna's header just went over the bar. After 18 minutes a deep cross was not dealt with by the Dons defence and the ball very nearly landed at the feet of Ryan Blair, in the end Aberdeen were happy to scramble the ball behind at the expense of a corner, the first of the game. From which Ryan McGeever headed wide. On 20 minutes Thomas Grant was allowed to turn. He played in Botti Bia-Bi who worked it wide to Scott Sheperd who was free. The strikers shot was on target and forced Langfield into a good block.
Then out of absolutely nothing Paul Sheerin's side took the lead on 24 minutes, and what a good goal it was. Jamie Langfield very deliberately looked for Jeffrey Monakana with a goal kick and he found him with a great pass. Jeffrey showed great skill to firstly control the ball and then vision to see Shankland's run. He played a long ball over the top which picked out Lawrence between the two central defenders. The striker still had a lot to do but had the awareness to see keeper Bowman coming out to meet him and just guided the ball on, over the keeper, lobbing it high into the air and the ball eventually came down and fell in the net. A really top class finish. A few minutes later a long ball again caused problems but this time McGeever did well to hold Shankland off.
Then on the half hour mark the visitors were level. The impressive Thomas Grant picked the ball up inside the Aberdeen half. He burst forward and played it wide to Shepherd. He fired in a really strong shot from the edge of the area which moved about all over the place. Langfield was able to parry it but Grant, who had started the move, kept his forward run going and was on hand to hammer home the rebound.
A few minutes after that Aberdeen had a similar chance when Smith found space in the box but Bowman's parry was pushed towards a Falkirk defender and they were able to clear. Then on 35 minutes the Dons should have been ahead again, Monakana did well down the left, he had time to get his head up and cut the ball back to Ross but he lifted his shot over the bar. The visitors then had a good spell of pressure before the interval and won a number of corners which proved problematic for the Dons defence. Ryan Blair had a half chance from one of the corners fell when the ball fell to him but his snap shot went over. Also on 40 minutes Scott Wright picked up a booking as the Dons players were showing signs of frustration.

Falkirk started the second half strongly and within minutes Shepherd had the ball in the net but flagged offside. It looked a tight call. After 52 minutes the Dons were given a good chance after a harsh hand ball decision on the edge of the area. Monakana though could not get the ball up over the wall and back down again in time. Just before the hour mark Falkirk had a free kick of their own in a good position after McKenna was booked for foul on Shepherd. The defence did its job though and Aberdeen were having to do a lot of defending as the Bairns were still on top.
On 61 minutes Sam Robertson came on for Ross. Robertson went to right back with Rose moving into central defence and Gibbons pushing Gibbons forward into midfield. On 63 Aberdeen regained the lead, slightly against the run of play. Falkirk had a throw in deep inside the Aberdeen half, however the Dons broke at pace with Wright flying into the box. As Ryan McGeever came across to meet him the referee saw an infringement and awarded a penalty when Wright went down. Shankland took the spot kick and made no mistake. Two minutes later Lawrence should have had his hat-trick. Langfield took a quick throw to release Monakana who raced the length of the park before teeing up Shankland but he blazed the ball over.
However on 70 minutes Aberdeen scored a vital third. Monakana, Wright and Smith combined well again to win a corner. The ball was swung over by Monakana and Campanile's late run was not matched and he headed home from about 12 yards out. A couple of minutes later another corner almost produced another goal, Rose's run to the near post again was not tracked and his glancing effort just went across the face of goal. On 84 minutes right back Kieran Duffie said too much to the referee Wayne Cusiter after he had awarded a free kick. The official produced a straight red. With a couple of minutes to go Aberdeen grabbed a fifth when they broke at pace again. Wright played in substitute Michael Jones and he finished well with a first time low shot.
The scoreline certainly does not reflect the game as this was a real test for the young Dons but they defended very well, attacked at pace and played some of their best football of the season to claim another three points.

Aberdeen Teamsheet
Langfield, Rose, Harvie, Campanile, McKenna, Gibbons, Monakana, Ross (Robertson 61), Shankland (Jones 85), Smith (Henry 85), Wright.

Unused Subs: Billington, Felek, Petrie, Orsi.

Bookings:  Wright (40),  McKenna (58).
Falkirk Teamsheet
Bowman, Duffie, Rowan, Durojaiye, McGeever, Grant, Blair, McNab (O'Hara 77), Shepherd, Bia-Bi (Small 77), Grant Subs: Fairbanks, Hogg, Martin, Hamilton, Johnson

Bookings:  McGeever (63); Shepherd (69)  Duffie (84)
Venue: Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead
Next Match
St. Johnstone
H
28 Feb 2024 / 19:45 / Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen