Dons crash out of League Cup with defeat to Motherwell

Aberdeen were knocked out of the League Cup by a rampant Motherwell who won 3-0 at Fir Park.

A Joe Lewis own goal and strikes from Peter Hartley and Louis Moult sent the the Reds out of the cup at the quarter final stage and send the Steelmen to Hampden for the semi final.

The Dons made four changes from Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock at Pittodrie.

Nicky Maynard, Scott Wright, Kari Arnason and Greg Stewart dropped to the bench with Ryan Christie, Dominic Ball, Gary Mackay-Steven and Mark Reynolds coming into the starting line-up.

Manager Derek McInnes started with Anthony O’Connor, Reynolds and Andy Considine in a back three with Shay Logan and Mackay-Steven operating as wing-backs.

After a frantic opening the Reds had the first clear chance on nine minutes. Christie drove from the halfway line to the edge of the Motherwell box, his low left foot effort was saved by keeper Trevor Carson but the rebound fell for Mackay-Steven but his shot was deflected behind by Chris Cadden.

But the Steelmen were ahead just four minutes later and Moult, who Aberdeen tried to sign during the transfer window, played a large part in it.

Ryan Bowman beat Reynolds to the ball on the right flank and poked it into the area for Moult, the striker with his back to goal hooked a shot over his shoulder which was going wide of the far post but goalie Lewis attempted to catch the ball and it squirmed through his hands and into the net.

It was an uncharacteristic error from Lewis who has been so reliable for the Dons since joining last summer.

But things got worse for the Reds and Lewis on 19 minutes.

Motherwell won a free-kick wide on the right hand side, Steven Hammell curled it in left-footed and Hartley rose highest at the back post to head home from six yards, Lewis will feel he should have kept the header out but it still found the net.

The hosts continued to put Aberdeen under pressure and McInnes made a change after only 36 minutes with Adam Rooney replacing Mackay-Steven and captain Graeme Shinnie moving to left wing-back.

The change made a difference with the Dons enjoying more possession and trying to take the game to Motherwell, but at half-time they still trailed 2-0.

In the second period  the Steelmen started strongly and but for a Considine block a Moult shot may have found the top corner and made it 3-0.

On 49 minutes Lewis made a smart save to keep it at two. He pushed Moult’s strike from 18 yards clear after the striker picked up from Richard Tait’s throw in.

Four minutes later and home goalie Carson was tested as Rooney turned and shot from 15 yards but the keeper held on.

Motherwell threatened again on 64 minutes.

Chris Cadden’s corner on the right broke to Hartley, the defender almost had his second goal of the night with a 12 yard shot but skipper Shinne blocked it on the line.

Soon after the Dons almost had a goal back when they broke quickly and Christie surged deep into Motherwell territory, he got into the box and shot from 16 yards but Carson made a fine stop to tip the ball over.

The Steelmen kept attacking and were inches away from a third on 73 minutes when Allan Campbell controlled the ball on his chest on the right hand side of the area, his drilled volley beat Lewis and hit the far post before flashing across goal and hitting the other upright with Lewis gathering the loose ball.

With five minutes to play the tie was well and truly over when a long ball caught out Considine, Moult chased it down and cut in from the right and hammered it high past Lewis at his near post and with that the Dons’ League Cup dreams were over.

Motherwell: Trevor Carson, Richard Tait, Steven Hammell, Peter Hartley, Chris Cadden, Carl McHugh, Louis Moult (Craig Tanner 92), Ryan Bowman (Alex Fisher 87), Andy Rose (Liam Grimshaw 70), Cedric Kipre, Allan Campbell.

Subs not used: Russell Griffiths, Gael Bigirimana, Elliot Frear, Ellis Plummer, Craig Tanner.

Aberdeen: Joe Lewis, Shay Logan, Anthony O’Connor, Mark Reynolds (Kari Arnason 52), Andy Considine, Dominic Ball (Greg Tansey 66), Graeme Shinnie, Ryan Christie, Kenny McLean, Gary Mackay-Steven (Adam Rooney 36), Stevie May.

Subs not used: Danny Rogers, Greg Stewart, Nicky Maynard, Scott Wright.