Evening Express

Forrester scores on debut as Dons beat Cobh Ramblers in Cork

Pictured are manager Derek McInnes and Chris Forrester.

ABERDEEN kicked-off their pre-season build up for the Battle of Britain with a 1-0 defeat of Cobh Ramblers in Cork.

New signing Chris Forrester grabbed the goal in the 62nd minute to mark his Dons debut in style and cap off an impressive first shift as the Reds step up their preparations to face Burnley in the Europa League.

Fellow new signings Stephen Gleeson and Lewis Ferguson also pitched in with solid debuts.

Centre-back Mikey Devlin coasted through his Dons debut in his first game action in 406 days after being sidelined for a full year with cruciate ligament damage.

It was the first in a number of friendlies building up to the Europa League second qualifying round first leg clash with English top flight Burnley at Pittodrie on July 26.

Close to six weeks since the end of the Premiership campaign there was obviously some ring rust from the Reds against a team that is deep into their own domestic season.

This friendly played in searing temperatures amidst Ireland’s most intense heat wave for four decades.

There were positives from this match with strong debuts of four players and the burgeoning  central defensive partnership of Devlin and Scott McKenna.

Devlin made his long awaited debut having signed for the Reds in the January transfer window.

Devlin had been sidelined with a cruciate ligament injury sustained whilst playing for Hamilton in May 2017.

New signing Lewis Ferguson, 18, was handed a start in midfield although fellow new signings  Forrester and Gleeson were both on the bench.

Strikers Stevie May and Sam Cosgrove were  both left out of the team having picked up minor knocks during training.

Both are expected to be fit to face Falkirk in a friendly on Wednesday.

Around 100 die hard Dons fans were at the Fota Island Resort for the friendly about 20 minutes outside Cork city.

Aberdeen created the opening chance in the second minute when Frank Ross found Graeme Shinnie with a cross but the skipper’s drive was blocked by keeper Adam Mylod’s legs.

In the 17th minute Devlin headed across the face of goal and inches wide after connecting with a cross from Ross on the right.

Moments later midfielder Ferguson had a 15 yard powerful low drive blocked at the near post by a defender.

Such was the heat, it was close to 30 degrees here in Cork, the game was broken up into three 30 minute periods.

Aberdeen were denied a strong penalty claim in the 32nd minute when Rooney was upended in the box.

Moments later Rooney rattled the keeper’s left hand post from eight yards out.

In the 46th minute Mackay-Steven flighted a cross along the face of goal to find Niall McGinn but the winger’s header was inches wide.

In the 50th minute McGinn fired a 25 yard free kick high over the bar.

The Dons grabbed the lead in the 62nd minute when Mackay Steven burst down the wing and found Shinnie.

Aberdeen skipper Shinnie rolled a pass to FORRESTER who calmly slotted an impressive finish beyond the keeper from the edge of the penalty area.

ABERDEEN (first period): Lewis, Logan, Shinnie, Considine, McKenna, Rooney, Wright, Devlin, Ferguson, Ross, Campbell.

Aberdeen (second period): Lewis, Logan, Shinnie, Considine, McKenna, Rooney, Forrester, Devlin (Reynolds 45), Mackay-Steven, McGinn, Gleeson.

Aberdeen (third period): Rogers,  Logan (Harrington 76),  Shinnie, Reynolds, Considine, McKenna, Anderson, Forrester, Mackay-Steven, McGinn, Gleeson.

COBH RAMBLERS: (first period):  Mylod, Fleming,  O’Connor, Walker, McSureeny, D. Murphy, Broderer, Christopher, E. Murphy, Cronin, Fernandos.