Co-Operative Insurance Scottish League Cup - Tuesday 26th October 2010
Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Aberdeen tonight booked their place in the League Cup semi final, after a dramatic 2-1 win over Falkirk. The Dons had to come from behind after Mehdi Khalis had put the visitors a goal up at the interval. A 64th minute looping header from Paul Hartley drew Aberdeen level, before the comeback was completed from the penalty spot in the fifth minute of added time, the skipper slotting home to send his side to the semis.
In a rather drab first half, both teams struggled to create clear-cut chances. Howard did well under pressure to catch a dangerous cross from the right in the 3rd minute. Maguire produced the first shot of the evening in the sixth minute from the edge of the box, but failed to really test Olejnik in the Falkirk goal. Some miscommunication at the other end led to a Falkirk corner in the 10th minute. Diamond put the ball behind when Howard looked to be on his way to collect; luckily though the corner came to nothing.
A snap shot from Maguire flew well over the bar in the 24th minute. Two minutes later, Falkirk threatened again and Diamond was required to scramble the ball clear. In the 33rd minute though, Falkirk did take the lead. The Bairns were awarded a corner as protests that McArdle had been fouled fell on deaf ears. As the corner came in, Khalis rose highest at the back post to head past the helpless Howard. Worryingly, this was the fourth headed goal Aberdeen had conceded in the last three games.
McArdle went into the book on 38 minutes for an untidy challenge. The Dons were really struggling to get going now - as the half drew to a close, Howard was left holding the ball, with no one in red showing any interest. Half time couldn’t come soon enough.
Half Time: Aberdeen 0-1 Falkirk
Aberdeen started the second half with a new found purpose and desire. An Aluko free kick from 25 yards was blocked by the wall in the 48th minute. A minute later, the Nigerian tried his luck again, but Olejnik was equal to the effort from range.
Millar was shown a yellow card for a cynical challenge on Maguire in the 53rd minute as Aberdeen looked to break. The game then died down again for a spell, until a handball just outside the box gave Aberdeen a free kick in the 61st minute. However, Hartley fired his effort straight into the wall.
Three minutes later though, Hartley did score. A great cross from Mackie was met by Hartley, who sent a looping header past the despairing keeper to make it 1-1. In the 69th minute, a good move from Falkirk down the left culminated in Twaddle cutting inside the box and threatening to pull the trigger until Harley stepped in to clear the danger.
A nice bit of skill from Flynn got him past Ifil in the 72nd minute, Howard needing to make a decent stop from the Falkirk man. Mackie tried his luck from distance in the 74th minute, but his shot did not cause the keeper any problems. Flynn was then booked for a foul on Darren Mackie.
With about 10 minutes remaining, this reporter’s pen (and two back-up pens) began to run out, so any slight discrepancies will have to be excused! Aluko was put in on goal in the 82nd minute, but was let down by his first touch, and the chance was gone. At the other end, McArdle dithered on the ball and lost possession, but luckily the Dons managed to scramble it behind for a corner.
With five minutes left, Maguire tried a shot from the edge of the box, but it was straight at the keeper. In the 90th minute, Olejnik fumbled in the box, but Aberdeen could not capitalise and Falkirk managed to get it away.
Both teams, having made no substitutions, were clearly readying themselves for extra time; but with just seconds left of the three minutes of added time, Maguire was taken out in the box and Aberdeen were awarded a penalty. After a lengthy and nerve-wracking delay, the skipper kept his cool to send the keeper the wrong way and send the Dons into the semi finals.
Full Time: Aberdeen 2-1 Falkirk
A fantastic second half performance from Paul Hartley then, dragging his team to victory and bagging a double in the process, which is very encouraging. As is the fact we’ve come from behind to win in the League Cup twice already, showing a great deal of character. It might not have been as pretty as Saturday, but a win’s a win, and all that matters now is that we’re in a semi final. Roll on the draw!
Danny McKay won RedTV's Junior Reporter competition: click here
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