Ten-man Aberdeen B bowed out of the SPFL Trust Trophy in the last 16 despite a spirited and battling performance against a hugely experienced Hamilton Accies side.
Barry Robson’s side, after a first round victory at Brora Rangers and a penalty shootout win at Pittodrie against Championship Arbroath, went to Lanarkshire to face an Accies outfit, who enjoyed a respite from the league.
But the Accies proved too strong for the Dons as they eased to a 2-0 win with Dean Campbell sent off in the first half for the Reds.
Robson said: “The big turning point of the game was the sending off. I’ve not seen it back but it looks as if it was the right decision.
“I thought we got our press right and looked energetic considering we had only thrown these guys together the day before.
“We looked like we were going to be dangerous and I believed we were going to do well in the game. It was a huge mountain to climb when it was young boys against experienced players and down to ten men.
“I thought we stuck at it and tried to hang in the game until the last 15 or 20 minutes. They scored a great second just before we going to change to a 4-3-2 and have a real go.
“I thought Tom Ritchie was great in goal, but at no point in the first 30 minutes did I feel we were under pressure.
“The biggest thing I am frustrated about was we weren’t able to test them eleven versus eleven. The game got ruined with the sending off, but what I saw in the first 30 minutes was really pleasing and how we participated in the game and how we passed the ball.”
Accies, currently third bottom of the Championship after their relegation last term from the Premiership, made nine changes from the side which defeated Caley Thistle on Saturday, with the only survivors being ex-Don Miko Virtanen, who joined Accies on a free in August, and teenage midfielder Reegan Mimnaugh.
Accies, who came from behind in the last round at home to beat Hearts B with two goals in the last 19 minutes, almost took the lead after just three minutes when Virtanen found the eye-catching Adam McGowan racing in from the right, but his 15-yard low angled drive was well held by goalkeeper Tom Ritchie.
— Hamilton Accies FC (@acciesfc) October 6, 2021
Robson’s youngsters finally settled and almost went ahead in 12 minutes when Jack Gurr slipped the ball to the left for Kevin Hanratty, but his first time angled effort from the edge of the area was pushed wide by goalkeeper Joe Hilton.
The Dons continued to grow into the game and came close to a spectacular opener in 25 minutes when Gurr cut in superbly from the right, but his crisp low 18-yard shot spun just wide of the far post.
Aberdeen B were dealt a severe blow when they were reduced to 10 men in 31 minutes.
A long kick-out by Accies”keeper Hilton was knocked on by David Moyo for strike partner Ronan Hughes to run clear through on goal, but he was hauled to the ground by Dean Campbell, who saw a straight red from referee Steven Kirkland.
Accies made full use of the numerical advantage and in 37 minutes McGowan was given far too much time and space to burst forward and drill the ball low into the net from 18-yards for his first goal for the club.
One minute after the restart Accies were denied a second when Ritchie touched a shot from substitute Lewis Smith onto a post and seconds later fellow substitute Andy Ryan burst clear. Ritchie blocked at his feet, but the ball fell for Kyle Munro, but his shot was cleared of the line by Mason Hancock.
We are out of the @SPFLTrust Trophy after losing to Hamilton Accies.
Dean Campbell was sent off in the first half but The Dons battled hard despite being down to 10 men.
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) October 6, 2021
The Dons still showed some fight and in 56 minutes Gurr was just off the mark with a 25-yard dipping shot.
The Aberdeen youngsters’ fate was sealed in 66 minutes when Munro curled a fabulous 20 yard left foot shot high into the net to double Accies lead.