Analysis: No goals… but new Reds get the chance to shine

Summer signing Jon Gallagher playing for Aberdeen against Connah's Quay Nomads in Cork
Summer signing Jon Gallagher playing for Aberdeen against Connah's Quay Nomads in Cork

No fresh injuries, five new signings making debuts but ultimately no goals against Welsh semi-professional minnows Connah’s Quay Nomads.

Aberdeen will have to find their cutting edge in attack before the Europa League clash with RoPS Rovaniemi in just 10 days’ time.

RoPS will be 16 games deep into their league campaign before the first leg on July 11.

The Dons must be ruthless in attack in the first leg at Pittodrie to make home advantage count before the return in the Arctic Circle.

That they failed to find the net against the Welsh Premier league outfit was down to a combination of Aberdeen’s dearth of cutting edge and Connah’s Quay Nomads’ tactics during the 0-0 draw.

The Welsh side sat deep and put the onus on the Dons to break them down – and they couldn’t.

Connah’s Quay Nomads met up at 4am in Wales on the day of the game to jet out to Cork for the friendly.

They parked the plane in front of their goal to frustrate the Dons and it worked.

Although a goalless stalemate it was a worthwhile exercise for both teams.

Connah’s Quay utilised the tactics they will turn to in their Europa League clash with Kilmarnock.

Likewise the Dons are likely to face an RoPS side coming to Pittodrie on July 11 to sit deep.

With friendlies still to come against Peterhead and Inverness Caley Thistle manager Derek McInnes is confident that attacking sharpness will come in time for Europe.

While this was Aberdeen’s first friendly of pre-season this was Nomads’ third game.

They have yet to concede a goal this summer. One thing was evident, Kilmarnock will find it tough to break them down.

Pre-season friendlies are all about working towards match fitness and sharpness with the result of minor importance.

Five of McInnes’ six summer signings featured in the friendly. Craig Bryson was sidelined with an ankle injury sustained at former club Derby County.

The 32-year-old is battling to be fit for the Europa League clash against RoPS of Finland.

Summer signings Ryan Hedges, Jon Gallagher and Greg Leigh all started with Ash Taylor and Curtis Main also coming off the bench.

Striker Stevie May was left out as he is suffering from a virus.

The stand-outs of the new signings were left back Leigh and Gallagher who have both arrived on loan deals.

On loan from NAC Breda, Leigh was dominant in the air, solid defensively and went on rampaging runs up the flank.

The versatility of Atlanta United’s Gallagher was evident as he starred at right-wing, left-wing and full-back.

Aberdeen began with a 4-2-3-1 with Hedges operating in a floating role behind striker Sam Cosgrove.

Hedges was lively and fired in crosses but the tactics of Connah’s Quay Nomads limited the space for him to operate in.

Striker Curtis Main came on after half an hour and held his own against a robust defence.

Ash Taylor, on his return to Aberdeen having left in 2017, operated at right centre-back and was dominant in the air.

Teenagers Lewis Ferguson and Dean Campbell started as the defensive central midfield duo and that partnership will operate in the upcoming friendlies against Peterhead and Inverness.

With Bryson battling to be fit for Europe and Stephen Gleeson set to undergo knee surgery today McInnes aims to bring in a midfielder before the July 5 Uefa deadline to register players for the Europa League first qualifying round.

Sunderland midfielder Dylan McGeough is his main target.

Aberdeen created the first opportunity in the fifth minute when Lewis Ferguson fired a 25-yard low drive just inches wide of the near post.

In the 16th minute the Dons again threatened when Shaleum Logan fired over from 20 yards.

Chances were limited but Aberdeen were denied the opener in the 55th minute when Cosgrove fired in a powerful drive from the edge of the penalty area.

Keeper Lewis Brass did well to dive at his near post and push the shot wide.

After 60 minutes Aberdeen switched from a 4-2-3-1 to a 3-5-2.

Connah’s Quay Nomads threatened in the 64th minute when Michael Wide headed just past the far post from 15 yards.

The next opportunity fell to Aberdeen in the 80th minute when Seb Ross flashed a 12 yard header across goal and wide.

ABERDEEN: Joe Lewis, Shaleum Logan, Greg Leigh, Mikey Devlin, Scott McKenna, Lewis Ferguson, Dean Campbell, Jon Gallagher, Scott Wright, Ryan Hedges, Sam Cosgrove.

Subs: Curtis Main (for Wright 30), Andy Considine (for Scott McKenna 30), Ash Taylor (for Devlin 45), Miko Virtanen (for Campbell 60), Seb Ross (for Logan 60), Ethan Ross (for Leigh 60), Bruce Anderson (for Cosgrove 60).

Subs not used: Frank Ross, Tomas Cerny.

CONNAH’S QUAY NOMADS: Brass, Roberts, Farqharson, Horam, Harrison, Bakare, Morris, Insall, Poole, Holmes, Owen.