The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)

Young Dons are left with Ham­p­den Park heartache

Youth Cup fi­nal: Hibs hit back af­ter McLen­nan gives Aberdeen first-half lead

- ABERDEEN (4-2-3-1) –

ABERDEEN U20s HIBER­NIAN U20s BY JAMIE DURENT 1 3

Two goals in the last 20 min­utes de­nied Aberdeen Scot­tish Youth Cup glory at Ham­p­den Park last night as Hiber­nian ran out 3-1 vic­tors.

Ryan Por­te­ous and Jamie Gul­lan scored within seven min­utes of each other to drag them clear of a spir­ited young Dons side.

Con­nor McLen­nan gave Aberdeen the lead in the first half with a won­der­ful vir­tu­oso goal but Joseph MacPher­son turned into his own net be­fore the break.

With the game finely poised, Por­te­ous pow­ered home a header and Gul­lan slot­ted in from close-range to hand Hibs the tro­phy.

The Dons handed starts to mid­fielder Frank Ross, who has been on loan at Cham­pi­onship side Mor­ton, in the mid­dle of the park along­side Dean Camp­bell, with broth­ers Ethan and Seb Ross also play­ing.

The Hiber­nian start­ing line-up in­cluded Ryan Por­te­ous and Oli Shaw who have fea­tured reg­u­larly for the first team this sea­son.

Hiber­nian won the re­cent Devel­op­ment League en­counter be­tween the two sides 2-0 and started brighter, with Callum Don­ald­son miss­ing a glo­ri­ous chance af­ter just six min­utes as he met a cross by his fel­low wing-back Sean Mackie at the back post but missed the tar­get.

Two min­utes af­ter Bruce An­der­son had his shot re­pelled by Ma­ciej Dabrowski, McLen­nan de­liv­ered a su­perb opener. He brought down Sam Roscoe’s long ball on his right foot, glided past Mackie and skipped in­side two more green shirts be­fore pok­ing the ball be­yond the Hibs goal­keeper. It stung the Ed­in­burgh club into a re­sponse and Fraser Murray tried to pro­duce his own bit of magic, send­ing a swerv­ing shot to­wards goal from 20 yards but see­ing it smack off the cross­bar.

Murray did play his part in a goal be­fore the half was out, though, with his teas­ing right-wing cross turned into his own net by MacPher­son as he sought to keep out Shaw.

Ethan Ross was en­er­getic and pur­pose­ful, cut­ting in­side reg­u­larly from the left and show­ing a will­ing­ness to drive into threat­en­ing ar­eas.

McLen­nan’s strength and close-con­trol made him prob­lem­atic for Mackie to deal with.

An­der­son saw a great op­por­tu­nity snuffed out on the hour when he swiv­elled and struck Ethan Ross’ cen­tre, only for Por­te­ous to lunge in and block be­fore the ball reached Dabrowski.

Hiber­nian cap­tain Por­te­ous stepped up to the plate when the Ed­in­burgh side needed him, steam­ing on to Ben Stir­ling’s cross and head­ing be­yond Crad­dock with 17 min­utes to go.

The tro­phy was sealed for Grant Murray’s side with 10 min­utes to go as Shaw’s shot was de­flected by Roscoe into the path of Gul­lan, who made no mis­take from close range.

 ??  ?? ON THE SLIDE: Aberdeen’s Sam Roscoe, right, slides in to tackle Hiber­nian’s Oli Shaw at Ham­p­den last night
ON THE SLIDE: Aberdeen’s Sam Roscoe, right, slides in to tackle Hiber­nian’s Oli Shaw at Ham­p­den last night
 ??  ?? The young Dons start­ing line-up against Hiber­nian last night
The young Dons start­ing line-up against Hiber­nian last night
 ??  ?? Con­nor McLen­nan, right, cel­e­brates his goal with Dean Camp­bell
Con­nor McLen­nan, right, cel­e­brates his goal with Dean Camp­bell
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