March 9, 2013
Another stalemate for Dons
Aberdeen were held to a goalless draw for the sixth time at Pittodrie this season as Motherwell became the latest team to frustrate the Dons.
The Dons have slipped down the Clydesdale Bank Premier League table during a run that before today had seen them score just three times in their previous eight games, and manager Craig Brown welcomed Scott Vernon back into the team in a bid to address that statistic.
But it was not to be, as the toothless Dons racked up another blank scoresheet.
In the end, they were relieved when Motherwell's appeals for a late penalty, after Zaine Francis-Angol went to ground, were dismissed by referee Kevin Clancy.
Vernon took the place of Rory Fallon in attack, while Joe Shaughnessy was restored to the side in place of Josh Magennis after a recent broken nose.
James McFadden made his third start for Motherwell since his return to Fir Park, but they were without the suspended Shaun Hutchison and injured Chris Humphrey. Simon Ramsden and Stuart Carswell stepped in.
After a low-key start, it was the home side who threatened first. Niall McGinn fizzed a low cross to the back post, where Tom Hateley cleared for a corner as Johnny Hayes looked set to pounce.
Vernon got a run on Hateley from the resultant corner, but sent his header wide of the target.
McGinn, as ever, was the man most likely to provide something for the Dons, and after 20 minutes he slipped in Ryan Jack, only for the Scotland Under-21 man to send a left-footed shot high and wide.
Much of the action was in front of the Motherwell goal, and they had goalkeeper Darren Randolph to thank for keeping the scores level when he spread himself to block another Vernon header shortly before the half-hour.
Motherwell finally had their first sight of goal in the 32nd minute. Mark Reynolds brought down Henrik Ojaama 20 yards out, and Hateley's free-kick drew a diving save from Langfield.
There was a blow for the Dons shortly before the interval when Clark Robertson had to be withdrawn after an innocuous clash with McFadden, with Gary Naysmith taking his place.
Undeterred by that setback, they started the second half brightly, McGinn taking advantage of Adam Cummins' hesitation to angle a powerful drive at goal, but Randolph was equal to the effort.
A minute later, some good footwork from Hayes set up another opportunity but his low strike was wide of the target.
A foul on Keith Lasley gave McFadden a sight of goal from 20 yards, but his free-kick curled away from Langfield's goal.
Hateley picked up the game's first booking for a foul on McGinn after 65 minutes, and five minutes later, Aberdeen made their second change - Magennis replacing Hayes.
The former Cardiff man almost made an immediate impact, turning his man within seconds of coming on, only for Randolph to beat away his shot.
McFadden had been kept quiet for the most part by the Aberdeen defence, and he was withdrawn after 74 minutes with Kallum Higginbotham taking his place.
Despite Aberdeen having far more chances than their visitors, Motherwell should have taken the lead after 79 minutes. A superb pass set Nicky Law free in the penalty area, and he drew Langfield from his line, but could only direct his shot at the relieved goalkeeper.
A second Motherwell change saw Francis-Angol replace Ojaama, and he appealed strongly for a penalty in the 88th minute when he seemed to be caught by Shaughnessy as he shot for goal, but Clancy was not interested.
|1 Jamie Langfield||1 Darren Randolph|
|4 Russell Anderson||3 Steven Hammell|
|22 Mark Reynolds||15 Simon Ramsden|
|2 Ryan Jack||30 Adam Cummins|
|23 Joe Shaughnessy||14 Keith Lasley|
|3 Clark Robertson||6 Tom Hateley|
|5 Gavin Rae||4 Nicky Law|
|18 Stephen Hughes||18 Stewart Carswell|
|11 Jonathan Hayes||20 James McFadden|
|10 Niall McGinn||9 Michael Higdon|
|9 Scott Vernon||8 Henrik Ojamaa|
|30 Daniel Rogers||Lee Hollis 12|
|17 Gary Naysmith||Steven Saunders 2|
|8 Robert Milsom||Zaine Sebastien Francis-Angol 26|
|15 Peter Pawlett||Omar Daley 17|
|14 Rory Fallon||Robert McHugh 16|
|21 Josh Magennis||Kallum Higginbotham 11|
|38 Cameron Smith||Lee Erwin 29|
|Gary Naysmith for Clark Robertson (42)||Kallum Higginbotham for James McFadden (74)|
|Josh Magennis for Jonathan Hayes (70)||Zaine Sebastien Francis-Angol for Henrik Ojamaa (81)|
|Rory Fallon for Ryan Jack (89)||Steven Saunders for Nicky Law (90)|
|Tom Hateley (66)|
|· Squads: Aberdeen | Motherwell|