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Aberdeen drop back into the Premiership bottom six with 2-0 home loss to Motherwell

Motherwell's Kevin van Veen makes it 2-0 against Aberdeen.

Aberdeen’s recent resurgence in form ended with a disappointing 2-0 loss to Motherwell at Pittodrie.

It dropped the Dons back into the Premiership bottom six.

The Reds were punished for a disastrous spell early in the second half where they switched off defensively to concede two goals from Kevin van Veen.

After taking seven points from a triple header against Hearts, Rangers and Hibs the Reds came crashing back down to earth with a painful defeat.

Aberdeen dominated the first half with 64% of possession and 12 shots at goal – four on target, four off and four blocked. Yet they could not make that count.

Motherwell’s Kevin van veen makes it 2-0 against Aberdeen.

In that opening 45 minutes Motherwell barely mustered a shot at goal.

However it was all change at the break and the Dons’ defensive frailty which had dogged them in a 10 game winless run returned with a vengeance.

Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass retained faith in the same starting line-up that defeated Hearts 2-1 at Pittodrie last weekend.

The inclusion of Dean Campbell, 20, continued Aberdeen’s record of having a product of the club’s Youth system in every starting line-up for the last 74 years – a run spanning a remarkable 3,482 games.

With the ongoing injury absence of Calvin Ramsay, Jack MacKenzie, Declan Gallagher, Andy Considine and Mikey Devlin captain Scott Brown yet again started in the heart of a back-line of three centre-backs.

Motherwell made their presence felt early on with fouls against Christian Ramirez, Lewis Ferguon and Funso-King Ojo in the opening three minutes.

In the fourth minute the Reds came close when Ryan Hedges clipped a cross to the back post towards Ramirez at the back but his half volley on the turn from six yards was just wide.

Motherwell’s Sean Goss (left) battles with Aberdeen’s Ryan Hedges in the clash at Pittodrie.

Moments later Ferguson’s looping header from 15 yards was punched wide by keeper Liam Kelly.

Aberdeen were tidy and confident in possession in the opening stages, patiently passing and using the width of the pitch in an attempt to orchestrate a breakthrough.

In the 16th minute Hedges raced onto a poor pass-back and keeper Kelly powered out of his goal to meet the ball.

Kelly edged the race but his clearance clattered off the onrushing Hedges with the ball spinning high up into the air.

It fell for Marley Watkins but he couldn’t get it under control and shot wide.

Aberdeen’s Ryan Hedges (right) holds off Motherwell’s Barry Maguire at Pittodrie.

In the 18th minute Ferguson, who will meet up with the Scotland squad tomorrow for the World Cup qualifiers, cut into the box and shot with his left foot but put it over the bar.

Moments later Campbell fired in a low drive from 20 yards but it was straight at keeper Kelly who was standing central.

Motherwell threatened in the 21st minute when Kevin van Veen met a free kick from Tony Watt but his flicked header from 12 yard was easily collected by keeper Joe Lewis.

Motherwell’s Liam Kelly (left) is challenged by Aberdeen’s Marley Watkins in the first-half at Pittodrie.

Aberdeen were looking the more likely to break the deadlock and Watkins collected possession at the edge of the Dons 18 yard box in the 27th minute.

Welsh international Watkins went on a marauding run down the right flank, beating three players and leaving them in his wake, before delivering a searching cross to the back post.

Campbell raced into the box and met it with a first time volley from 12 yards that Kelly had to push behind at his near post.

<br />Aberdeen’s Dean Campbell holds off Motherwell’s Mark O’Hara (right) at Pittodrie.

In the 44th minute Aberdeen again threatened when  Watkins powered onto a through ball from Ferguson.

Watkins broke into the penalty box and shot low across the face of goal but Kelly blocked with his outstretched leg.

From a Dylan McGeouch corner whipped into the box there was a stramash with players trying to get the ball from a scrum near the penalty spot.

Keeper Kelly dived into the ruck to collect the ball from the chaos.

Aberdeen had 64% of possession in the opening 45 minutes to Motherwell’s 36%.

The Reds created four clear opportunities in the first half.

However they failed to make that possession and opportunities count.

They would pay the price.

Motherwell’s Mark O’Hara (left) holds off Aberdeen’s Ross McCrorie in a goalless first half in the Granite City.

Half-time: Aberdeen 0 Motherwell 0

Motherwell took the lead in the 49th minute when van Veen met a cross from Sean Goss in the penalty area.

He unleashed a superb right footed shot that went beyond Lewis from 12 yards.

The Aberdeen defence had lost its shape and was punished.

Motherwell’s Kevin van Veen celebrates making it 1-0 against Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

It was 2-0 in the 57th minute as van Veen netted his second.

A free kick from the left deep to the right sided back post was headed back along the face of goal by substitute Rickie Lamie to van Veen who was completely unmarked.

The striker punished slack defending yet again by unleashing a right footed drive beyond Lewis who was left completely exposed by the back-line.

After the recent resurgence in form the defensive frailty that had been so costly in a 10 game winless run returned in a painful start to the second period for the Reds.

Motherwell’s Kevin van Veen celebrates making it 2-0 against Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

Striker Ramirez had a shot blocked in the 68th minute as Aberdeen fought to engineer a way back into a game they had let slip.

In the 75th minute Campbell delivered a superb cross from the left to the back post that just missed the onrushing David Bates just yards out.

Aberdeen came close in the 77th  minute when a dangerous free-kick delivery from Campbell picked out Ferguson but keeper Kelly denied with a fantastic block.

Motherwell’s Kevin van Veen celebrates making it 2-0 against Aberdeen.

Full-time: Aberdeen 0 Motherwell 2

ABERDEEN (3-4-1-2): Lewis 6; Bates 5, Brown 6, McCrorie 5, Ojo 6, McGeouch 5 (McGinn 60), Ferguson 6, Campbell 7 (Hayes 79), Hedges 6, Watkins 6, Ramirez 6.

Subs: Woods, Emmanuel-Thomas,  Gurr, Samuels, Longstaff

MOTHERWELL (4-3-3): Kelly 6; Maguire 7, Solholm Johansen 6, Mugabi 6, McGinlay 6, O’Hara 6, Ojala 4 (Lamie 50), Goss 6, Roberts 6, van Veen 7 (Woolery 80), Watt 6 (Carroll 69).

Subs:  Fox, Slattery, Grimshaw, Shields.

REFEREE: Don Robertson

ATTENDANCE: 9,666

MAN OF THE MATCH: Dean Campbell (Aberdeen)

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