Ten-man Motherwell maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a goalless draw against Aberdeen U20s tonight.
Stephen Craigan’s youngsters were limited to few chances in front of goal and had a call for a penalty waved away by the referee on a largely quiet evening at Forthbank Stadium in Stirling.
Youngster Jamie Semple made his second start for the under-20s with George Newell leading the claret and amber attack.
However, the forward cut a lone furrow up top for the majority of the evening after Dylan King was sent for an early shower against the northern opposition.
The Northern Irish centre-back picked up his first booking when he tripped Connor McLellan and was shown a second yellow in the 35th minute when a slack touch allowed Bruce Anderson to rob the youngster before being bundled off the ball.
However, despite their man advantage the Dons struggled to create much going forward and Russell Griffiths was largely untested until three minutes before the interval.
Anderson’s effort from outside the box forced a decent save from the Englishman and the stopper palmed the ball back in to the danger area where, fortunately, Jack McMillan was there to hook the ball clear.
With his side level but down to ten men, Craigan removed Semple from the action at half time and replaced him with Kyle MacDonald.
The second half nearly got off to the ideal start for Motherwell as Davie Turnbull got his head on the end of Dylan Falconer’s corner – but his effort flew narrowly past the post.
Ellis Plummer tested Dons stopper Archie Mair on the hour mark when the defender burst past a number of challenges and struck his effort straight at the young keeper.
On what was a quiet evening, the final five minutes sparked some life in to the game and brought some controversy with it.
A neat ‘Well move down the right flank could have led to the breakthrough and certainly led to the talking point of the game.
Allan Campbell’s one-two with Davie Turnbull saw the midfielder, who had shifted to right back, burst in to the box before being tripped by Danny Harvie, who got nowhere near the ball. The referee decided to wave play on.
A few minutes later, the visitors had a penalty claim of their own but the referee adjudged marauding centre-back Scott McKenna to have dived in the area and booked the defender.
Motherwell nearly snatched all three points when a clever run from substitute Alfie Agyeman and a perfect through ball from Jordan Armstrong led to a corner, but Aberdeen managed to eventually avert the danger and ensure the game ended goalless.