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Crisis-hit Aberdeen crash out of the Scottish Cup with 2-1 loss at Motherwell

Aberdeen's Christian Ramirez scores to make it 1-0 against Motherwell in the Scottish Cup.
Aberdeen's Christian Ramirez scores to make it 1-0 against Motherwell in the Scottish Cup.

Aberdeen crashed out of the Scottish Cup with a dismal 2-1 defeat to Motherwell at Fir Park.

The fifth round exit will pile even more pressure on manager Stephen Glass.

United States-based chairman Dave Cormack was at Fir Park for the cup defeat.

The 2,022 strong travelling support made their anger and frustration at another  costly defeat clear at full-time.

Aberdeen’s woeful away form continued and the Reds have now won just twice in 15 games away from home in all competitions this season.

Exiting the cup so meekly is a hammer blow to add to an already miserable season.

Aberdeen have crashed to ninth in the Premiership and are showing little signs of being able to rise up the league.

It all began so positively as Christian Ramirez headed home for Aberdeen after just three minutes.

However, the Dons deservedly fell behind to late second half goals from Kevin Van Veen and Connor Shields.

Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass during the Scottish Cup loss at Motherwell.

Samson surprise before kick-off

This tie was played in terrible conditions with driving hail and powerful winds.

Veteran keeper Craig Samson answered an Aberdeen SOS to be named on the bench against Motherwell – four years after retiring.

Samson, 37, joined the Aberdeen coaching staff just three days before the tie.

First choice keeper Joe Lewis was ruled out for a third successive game due to illness.

However, Gary Woods retained his slot, having started against both Celtic (3-2 loss) and Livingston (2-1 loss).

Aberdeen goalkeeper coach Craig Samson was named on the bench for Aberderen.

Samson was taken in this week to support goalkeeping training as keeper coach Gordon Marshall is recovering from  a knee injury.

With teenage keeper Tom Ritchie also suffering a knee injury, Samson came to the rescue by registering as emergency back-up.

Dons almost go two up – but Motherwell duo flip game on its head

Teenage sensation Calvin Ramsay was dropped to the bench just weeks after the Dons rejected a £4.8m bid from Italian top-flight side Bologna.

Ross McCrorie, so impressive in the second half in the defeat to Celtic, took up Ramsay’s right-back berth.

It paid off immediately as McCrorie was pivotal in Aberdeen grabbing an early lead after just three minutes.

McCrorie supplied a sublime curling cross from the right flank that found Ramirez 10 yards out.

The US international striker got himself in behind the two centre-backs and clinically headed home.

Aberdeen’s Christian Ramirez celebrates making it 1-0 against Motherwell.

Moments later, Ramirez burst in on goal and lifted the ball beyond keeper Liam Kelly only to see the shot flash inches wide of the far post.

So close to 2-0, but the home side would respond.

In the 16th minute, Van Veen fired in a 25-yard free-kick that took a deflection off the four-man defensive wall to go behind for a corner.

From the resultant corner Shields headed just wide of the near post from eight yards out.

Conditions made it difficult for either side to build any rhythm or play attractive football, and it was looking more and more like becoming a war of attrition – against each other and against the elements.

Motherwell hit back in the 34th minute when Van Veen picked up the ball and curled a shot from 20 yards.

The effort took a deflection that moved it away from keeper Gary Woods into the far top corner.  It was Van Veen’s fourth goal of the season against Aberdeen.

Aberdeen just cannot keep clean sheets. In 34 games in all competitions this season, they have registered just five shut-outs.

Aberdeen then suffered a blow in the 38th minute when McCrorie was forced off having suffered an injury.

Aberdeen’s Ross McCrorie looks dejected as he goes off injured against Motherwell in the Scottish Cup

Ramsay was introduced as replacement.

Motherwell were in the ascendency and, in the 40th minute, Sean Goss fired a low 20-yard drive that flashed just wide of Woods’ near post.

The Steelmen came within inches of taking the lead in the 45th minute from a well-worked free-kick when Sondre Solholm Johansen headed across goal.

He found Liam Donnelly, who slid in with a low shot that also trundled wide.

Aberdeen were in survival mode until the half-time whistle.

They didn’t make it.

Motherwell deservedly went ahead when Goss’ corner caused panic in the defence.

Under pressure from Bevis Mugabi, keeper Woods’ was indecisive, failing to get the ball.

It fell to Connor Shields ,who fired home from six yards three minutes into injury time.

It was a defensive horror show for Aberdeen that was punished.

Motherwell’s Kevin Van Veen scores to make it 1-1 against Aberdeen.
Motherwell’s Connor Shields scores to make it 2-1

Half-time: Motherwell 2 Aberdeen 1

Motherwell began the second half as they finished the first – looking the more likely to score.

In the 50th minute, Joe Effort powered down the left flank and then crossed to Van Veen in the penalty area.

Van Veen had clear sight at goal and drilled in a vicious 15-yard drive that Woods charged down. It was a vital save that kept the tie alive.

Aberdeen’s Vicente Besuijen and Motherwell’s Sean Goss battle during the Scottish Cup tie.

In the 61st minute, a through ball from Funso Ojo found Ramirez springing the offside trap, but his heavy touch sent the ball spinning to Kelly in goal.

Moments later, Joe Efford fired in a 20-yard shot that flashed just over as Well looked to stretch their lead.

Aberdeen threatened an equaliser in the 63rd minute when Ramirez was unmarked 15 yards out, but he fired wide of the near post.

The woodwork then denied Motherwell soon after when Mark O’Hara was given the time and space to shoot from 22 yards.

His shot took a slight deflection off Lewis Ferguson and the deflected shot clipped the bar.

The resultant corner came to nothing.

It should have been 3-1 in the 77th minute when a bad slip from David Bates saw him send an atrocious headed clearance straight to  Van Veen.

The striker stepped inside Declan Gallagher and tried to curl another shot in from 20 yards. It flashed inches wide.

It was a real let-off for Aberdeen.

The Dons pushed forward looking to force extra-time and had a corner deep into injury time.

The ball fell to Ramirez 12 yards out, but his curled effort was saved brilliantly by Kelly.

Within seconds the referee blew for full-time, and Aberdeen left the field to deserved boos.

Full-time: Motherwell 2 Aberdeen 1

ABERDEEN (4-2-3-1): Woods 5; Hayes 4 (MacKenzie 46), Bates 5, Gallagher 5, McCrorie 5 (Ramsay 38), Ojo 5 (Emmanuel-Thomas 78), Brown 5, Montgomery 3 (Kennedy 52), Ferguson 6, Besuijen  5 (Barron 78),  Ramirez 6

Subs: Samson, Shingler,  McGeouch, Jenks.

MOTHERWELL (4-3-3): Kelly 6; Carroll 6, Mugabi 6, Solholm Johansen 7, Ojala 6, Goss 6 (Shaw 78), O’Hara 6, Donnelly 6, Van Veen 7, Shields 6 (Lamie 78), Efford 7.

Subs: Fox, O’Donnell,  Woolery, Slattery, Amaluzor, Cornelius, Grimshaw, Tierney, Roberts.

Referee: Greg Aitken

Man-of-the-match: Joe Efford (Motherwell)

Attendance: 5,892