Tuesday 15th August
Saints U20s got their campaign underway this evening when they travelled to Brechin City’s Glebe Park for an Irn-Bru cup 1st round match against Aberdeen U20s. This season the competition rules have been amended to allow the inclusion of up to two senior players in second string teams. This meant Saints U20s coach Alec Cleland was able to field Ally Gilchrist in the starting eleven, whilst Aberdeen U20s coach and former Saints player Paul Sheerin was able to call on the services of Scott McKenna as an over age player for The Dons. The match got underway in sunny conditions and Aberdeen, who were the home side for this tie, dominated the early proceedings but couldn’t trouble Ross Sinclair in the Saints goal. Saints first chance of the match came on 12 minutes as Callum Hendry weaved his way into the box before firing wide. Shortly after a great tackle by Saints Captain Ally Gilchrist halted The Dons Bruce Anderson in his tracks after he had broken forward onto a through ball.
Callum Hendry and Euan O'Reilly then combined well to let the striker in for a shot but he again dragged his effort wide. Good work from Frank Ross created an opening for Connor McLennan but the striker’s shot was well blocked by the Saints defence. Danny Harvie had a chance to test Sinclair just before the half hour mark but his 25-yard free kick was too high.
A dangerous cross from O’Reilly was dealt with by Aberdeen keeper David Craddock and then shortly after a Jamie Docherty long range effort was deflected over.
Aberdeen though took the lead on 41 minutes through Frank Ross. The midfielder went on a good run racing half the length of the pitch, evading several challenges, before firing the ball past Sinclair.
The start of the second half was rather scrappy with neither side able to assert any real dominance. A foul by Alistair McCann on Frank Ross saw the Saints midfielder earn a yellow card. Daniel Harvie's header from the resulting free kick was easily saved by Sinclair.
Saints forced four corners in quick succession but The Dons defence stood firm. A dangerous free kick from Kyle McClean on 61 minutes picked out Hendry but Scott McKenna got a touch on to his header to deflect it to safety.
A swift break on 64 minutes from O'Reilly saw him race into the box but his cross was turned behind for a corner by Harvie. From the corner Craddock produced a stunning one handed save to deny Gilchrist.
Then a quick break saw Frank Ross and Anderson combine well but the latter couldn't get his shot on target. Although the retreating Saints defence did well to get back to prevent the striker from getting a clean shot away.
Saints pushed hard for an equaliser but they couldn’t find a way past a well organised Aberdeen defence. Overall, the young Saints put in a good performance against their more experienced opponents.
Aberdeen U20s: Craddock, Harrington, Harvie, Campbell, Mbayo, McKenna, McLennan, S. Ross (Antoniazzi 67), Anderson, F. Ross, Wells (MacPherson 79)
Unused Substitutes: Mair (GK), Dangana, Hutchison, E. Ross, MacKenzie
Booked: Anderson, McLennan
Scorer: F. Ross (41)
St Johnstone U20s: Sinclair, Lumsden (Struthers 79), Thomson, McClean, Wilson, Gilchrist, O'Reilly, McCann, Hendry, Ballantyne, Docherty.
Unused Substitutes: Quigley, Brian, Spurek
Booked: Thomson, McCann, Ballantyne, McClean
Referee: Alex Shepherd
Match Report by Daryl Scott
Picture: Euan O'Reilly and Jamie Docherty in action against The Dons
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