United bowed out of the Scottish Cup at the hands of Aberdeen today despite an improved showing after the break.
By Ally Stewart
The hosts, as expected, enjoyed much of the early possession but just as United appeared to be feeling their way into the game they fell behind in the 20th minute. A deep cross from Kenny McLean found Mackay-Steven alone at the far post and his downward volley looped up perfectly for Adam Rooney to nod home on the goal line. Seven minutes later Aberdeen doubled their lead when Slater lost possession to McGinn who played in Mackay-Steven and with time and space to pick his spot, completed the easy task of firing beyond Lewis from 8 yards out. In the 34th minute and almost nowhere the Terrors were thrown a lifeline as they reduced the deficit back to one goal. Emil Lyng flicked the ball inside to Sam Stanton who drove through the heart of the home defence before slotting calmly beyond Woodman. With barely any time to regroup another simple goal a minute later saw Aberdeen’s two goal lead restored. Ryan Christie swung the ball in from the left for Kenny McLean to head past Lewis amongst three defenders. It was a huge disappointment for the Tangerines who would’ve hoped to see their counter create nervousness amongst the home ranks. Lewis produced a fine save to prevent Mackay-Steven increasing the lead further before half time, leaping to his right to tip the ball over for a corner.
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Laszlo sent on Paul McMullan in place of Slater for the second half in a bid to provide some support to Lyng that had previously been lacking. With the visitors becoming more of a threat good pressing from Stanton nearly produced an own goal as Anthony O’Connor’s pass back to Woodman was just diverted away from goal by the keepers outstretched leg. Again, what little hope was starting to build evaporated when Christie played in Mackay-Steven to double his tally with a right foot shot which Lewis should have dealt better with. With 20 minutes left United clawed another goal back and what a fine goal it was too. King cut inside from the left and held the ball up well before passing to McMullan who cut onto his right foot and curled a pin point shot into the top corner leaving Woodman with no chance. Having sent on McDonald just after the goal Mikkelsen then replaced Smith with 15 minutes left and at this stage it was the away team enjoying the majority of the play. Despite being seen less as an attacking threat in the second half the hosts had a good chance to score again when sub Dominic Ball squared to Christie who cleared the bar from a good position in the heart of the penalty box. With four minutes left a dangerous low ball from Gillespie was almost turned into his own net by O’Connor who needed Woodman to come to the rescue before the Aberdeen defender cleared Stanton’s shot on the follow up, in what turned out to be United’s last chance to put the end result in any doubt.
Full Time Summary – In the end the outcome was as many had expected prior to the game, and despite question marks over the defending for Aberdeen’s goals, the clinical way they took own chances and greatly improved display after the break did provide some comfort.
Man of the Match – The main bright light on a disappointing afternoon was again the energy shown by Sam Stanton who aside from his well taken goal proved to be a nuisance to the home team throughout.
Aberdeen – Woodman, Logan, O’Connor, McKenna, Considine, Shinnie, McLean, Christie, McGinn, Mackay-Steven (Ball 82), Rooney (Maynard 90). Subs not used – Rogers, Arnason, Reynolds, Nwakali, Stewart.
United – Lewis, Murdoch, Durnan, Smith (Mikkelsen 76) Lyng (McDonald 70, Slater (McMullan 46), Gillespie, King, Stanton, Robson, Flood. Subs not used – Deniz, Allardice, Martin, Mason.
Referee – Willie Collum
Attendance - 11611
Aberdeen – 4 (Rooney 20, Mackay-Steven 27 & 55, McLean 35)
United – 2 (Stanton 34, McMullan 70)