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Aberdeen claim CAS Scottish Cup after close game against Hearts

Aberdeen FC 1

Booth 32

Heart of Midlothian 0

A first half winner from Lyall Booth was enough to settle a close contest between Aberdeen and Hearts, as the young Dons lifted the first trophy of the new youth academy competition.

Cove Rangers’ Balmoral Stadium played host to the showpiece event, in front of a healthy crowd of expectant supporters for both teams.

Aberdeen made the best of the early running. Midfielder Kevin Hanratty, who was influential throughout, had a couple of long-range shots at goal, looking to test the Jambo’s nerve. Both were easily smothered. At the other end, neat link up play through Hearts’ Jai Charleston-King almost put Ryan Schiavone in the clear, but goalkeeper Tom Ritchie was alert to the danger.

On eight minutes, the first real chance. An Aberdeen freekick from the left by Ramsay was driven low, evading the gloves of Harris Spratt. The outstretched leg of Chris Aikamenze was not enough to force the ball home though, as the striker saw his effort cleared by the Hearts defence.

The Edinburgh side were having chances of their own, and were particularly threatening down the wings. On 21, right-back Sean Docherty won a freekick on the edge of the box. Charleston-King delivered a good curling ball, but skipper Arron Darge could not make a clean connection on his header. On the half-hour, some clever interchange on the left would put Leon Watson free. His shot blocked.

Then on 32, the breakthrough. Aberdeen’s Simone Zanda got the ball on their right. His first cross was deflected away to Hanratty on the edge, who fed him again. On the second attempt, the bouncing ball reached a gambling Lyall Booth, who pounced between defenders to turn the ball in for 1-0.

Late in the half, Hearts had a penalty claim waved away when Schiavone went down, whilst the Don’s Aikamenze flashed a header wide off a Calvin Ramsay cross. The players sought half-time warmth: the game simmering nicely at the interval.

Hearts began the second half with clear intent. Charleston-King had a sighter from distance moments after the restart, and on 51 minutes Kieran Mitchell was inches from making contact with an Aidan Denholm cross.

The Jambos were pressing further up the field and moving the ball well at this point, again Leon Watson and Sean Docherty were contributing to that effort from the fullback positions, engaging Aberdeen on higher ground. On 62, Mitchell found room round the back of the Dons defence, but fired Docherty’s centre over the bar.

The Reds replaced goal-scorer Lyall Booth on 66. The left winger had stayed down injured following an earlier collision. Michael Dangana was introduced. A tough end to an impressive display for the Scotland youth cap.

Then on 72 minutes, the first of the two major flashpoints in the period. Referee Duncan Nicolson stopped play before a Hearts corner. There appeared to be an altercation in the centre of the box with Ritchie, and Hearts’ Arron Darge was dismissed instantaneously.

A man light, the game was stretching.

Into the final 10 minutes and Aikamenze went close for the Dons following good work by Dangana. His header glanced wide.

From end-to-end it swung now, and Hearts substitute MacKenzie Ramos picked out Schiavone in the area. His blocked effort was one of his final contributions.

With five minutes remaining, positive dribbling by Schiavone won a freekick, but before it could be taken, the striker was ordered off. Possible dissent at play here. Hearts would end with nine men.

Both teams had chances in the final seconds. Ramos turned a cross wide for Hearts. Aberdeen’s Livingstone was thwarted on the break, as Michael Aitken was booked.

Ultimately though, the Cup belonged to the Dons, seeing the match out to claim victory. Congratulations to Aberdeen. Commiserations to Heart of Midlothian.

Lineups

Aberdeen FC
Heart of Midlothian
1. Tom Ritchie
2. Calvin Ramsay
3. Lyall Booth
4. Andrew Paterson
5. Ben Dalglish
6. Theo Leslie
8. Jack Milne
9. Reis Webster
10. Kevin Hanratty
11. Simone Zanda
12. Michael Dangana
14. Ryan Duncan
15. Jack McIvor
16. Chris Aikamenze
17. Evan Towler
18. Gary Livingstone
21. Kyle Leiper
1. Harris Spratt
2. Sean Docherty
3. Leon Watson
4. Arron Darge
5. Michael Aitken
6. Tyler Mackenzie
7. Aidan Denholm
8. Kyle Somers
9. Ryan Schiavone
10. Jai Charleston-King
11. Kieran Mitchell
12. Reece Hope
14. Mackenzie Ramos
15. Cameron Falconer
16. Callum Rae
21. Brandyn Bain
Lennon Watson
Harry Gordon
Star Player
Aberdeen FC
Heart of Midlothian
Kevin Hanratty always looked to go forward from midfield and carried the ball well for the young Dons through the centre of the park.
Jai Charleston-King caught the eye. Was positive every time on the ball, and posed problems for defenders.
Magic Moment
Aberdeen FC
Heart of Midlothian
Lyall Booth’s Cup clinching goal. Great anticipation from the youngster to get himself in the centre of the box.
Jai Charleston-King’s freekick was close to a late leveller.

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