Scottish Premiership
Aberdeen1Motherwell0

James Wilson goal gives Aberdeen 1-0 win over Motherwell

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Highlights: Aberdeen 1-0 Motherwell

James Wilson broke his duck as Aberdeen secured their first home league win of the season and consigned Motherwell to a fourth Premiership defeat.

The on-loan Manchester United forward showed class and composure to mark his first Dons start with an early goal.

His replacement Bruce Anderson passed up a great chance to seal victory, shooting too high.

It was a frustrating day for Well, Carl McHugh hitting the bar and Chris Cadden denied by Joe Lewis late on.

Aberdeen are now two points behind second-placed Hibernian while Motherwell slip to third bottom after a fourth defeat in six league matches.

Both sides face tricky midweek League Cup quarter-finals in Edinburgh with Aberdeen away to Hibs and Well visiting Premiership leaders Hearts.

Dons much more like themselves

After one win and three draws from five league games, Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes said beforehand the Dons needed to offer more of an attacking threat and, with that in mind, Wilson was installed up front with Sam Cosgrove and Stevie May left on the bench.

Wilson made a perfect run to latch on to Niall McGinn's reverse pass and fire across Trevor Carson to get off the mark in the sixth minute.

But it was a largely quiet performance thereafter from the 22-year-old who still looks short of match sharpness and was replaced by Anderson after the hour.

McGinn threatened with efforts from outside the box, Cosgrove headed wide and Gary Mackay-Steven's shot was spilled wide by Carson before Anderson fired over after going clean through, while at the other end Aberdeen looked solid enough with Michael Devlin back from suspension.

The visitors did come close to an equaliser once in each half. McHugh took aim from distance and watched in anguish as the ball cannoned off the top of the bar on its way out, while substitute Cadden tested Lewis from outside the box in stoppage time.

Stephen Robinson's side also gave the Dons cause cause for concern in the first half when Elliott Frear threatened to get away from Andy Considine and went down following the defender's challenge. A corner was awarded but Frear's reaction indicated he felt he had been fouled.

Mackay-Steven is Aberdeen's star man - analysis

BBC Scotland's Brian McLauchlin at Pittodrie

There was a sense of relief around Pittodrie when referee Nick Walsh blew the full-time whistle to ensure the home side all three points - not that Aberdeen were in any real threat of losing the game, especially after they took the lead so early on.

But this was their first league win since beating bottom side Dundee at Dens Park on the second Saturday in August and the confidence this may give the players should now begin to show in their performances.

Wilson was given a standing ovation when he was replaced on the hour mark by Anderson, but the man of the match was undoubtedly Mackay-Steven.

At times the winger toyed with the Motherwell rearguard and he looks as if he is returning to the type of form that could get him back in the Scotland squad.

Robinson will be incensed that no penalty was awarded when Frear tumbled inside the box after what looked like a rash challenge by Considine.

But Aberdeen just about deserved the victory despite a spirited second-half performance by Motherwell.

'Things are not going for Well' - reaction

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes: "When you look back at the game it will maybe feel a lot more comfortable than it seemed at the time. We all know the competitive nature of Motherwell and they are never going to give it up and at 1-0 the game is not dead.

"There is no doubt we deserved to go in front. We scored a very good goal from James Wilson and I thought we were in charge in that first half. I enjoyed watching us.

"Today we had to try to get the balance right of having enough attacking flair but also enough robust players to deal with set-plays. We lost a goal last week at McDiarmid Park from a set-play and I thought today we were very comfortable. That pleases me in getting a clean sheet."

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson: "I didn't think there was a whole lot in the game. We started poorly. We let a runner go in the box and we had the ball. It was under Elliott Frear's foot and they score from it and it's an uphill task.

"We were very much in the game and dominated large parts of it but we just lacked a little bit of belief in that final third.

"We did create half-chances. Tom Aldred at the end had a header that has blatantly hit someone's hand and it's going in the net. Things aren't going for us and perhaps a penalty in the first half. We are just not getting the rub of the green in the final third."

Line-ups

Aberdeen

  • 1Lewis
  • 2Logan
  • 18Devlin
  • 5McKennaBooked at 76mins
  • 4ConsidineBooked at 89mins
  • 11Mackay-Steven
  • 21BallBooked at 90mins
  • 3Shinnie
  • 10McGinnSubstituted forCampbellat 81'minutes
  • 16CosgroveSubstituted forLoweat 90+2'minutes
  • 9WilsonSubstituted forAndersonat 62'minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Forrester
  • 8Gleeson
  • 17May
  • 20Cerny
  • 24Campbell
  • 25Anderson
  • 29Lowe

Motherwell

  • 1Carson
  • 5AldredBooked at 44mins
  • 4McHugh
  • 6HartleySubstituted forTurnbullat 57'minutes
  • 11FrearBooked at 86mins
  • 8Campbell
  • 22DonnellySubstituted forCaddenat 45'minutes
  • 17BigirimanaBooked at 77mins
  • 2Tait
  • 19SammonSubstituted forBowmanat 54'minutes
  • 24Johnson

Substitutes

  • 3Taylor-Sinclair
  • 7Cadden
  • 12Bowman
  • 14Grimshaw
  • 20Gillespie
  • 28Turnbull
  • 30Maguire
Referee:
Nick Walsh
Attendance:
14,027

Match Stats

Home TeamAberdeenAway TeamMotherwell
Possession
Home45%
Away55%
Shots
Home8
Away6
Shots on Target
Home4
Away3
Corners
Home6
Away6
Fouls
Home14
Away18

Live Text

Match ends, Aberdeen 1, Motherwell 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Aberdeen 1, Motherwell 0.

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Carl McHugh.

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by David Turnbull.

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Richard Tait.

Booking

Dominic Ball (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Substitution

Substitution, Aberdeen. Max Lowe replaces Sam Cosgrove.

Booking

Andrew Considine (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Scott McKenna.

Booking

Elliott Frear (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card.

Elliott Frear (Motherwell) has gone down, but that's a dive.

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Shaleum Logan.

Substitution

Substitution, Aberdeen. Dean Campbell replaces Niall McGinn.

Scott McKenna (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by David Turnbull (Motherwell).

Booking

Gael Bigirimana (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card.

Attempt missed. Bruce Anderson (Aberdeen) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

Booking

Scott McKenna (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Scott McKenna (Aberdeen).

David Turnbull (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Chris Cadden (Motherwell).

Foul by Scott McKenna (Aberdeen).

Ryan Bowman (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Andrew Considine (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by David Turnbull (Motherwell).

Michael Devlin (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Danny Johnson (Motherwell).

Michael Devlin (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Ryan Bowman (Motherwell).

Tom Aldred (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Andrew Considine (Aberdeen).

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Trevor Carson.

Attempt saved. Gary Mackay-Steven (Aberdeen) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Substitution

Substitution, Aberdeen. Bruce Anderson replaces James Wilson.

Attempt missed. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right.

Foul by Richard Tait (Motherwell).

Gary Mackay-Steven (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Shaleum Logan.

Substitution

Substitution, Motherwell. David Turnbull replaces Peter Hartley because of an injury.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Hearts6510112916
2Hibernian6321126611
3Livingston632164211
4Celtic531152310
5Aberdeen62315509
6Rangers522110558
7St Johnstone52215508
8Kilmarnock52126427
9Hamilton620468-26
10Motherwell6114610-44
11St Mirren6114312-94
12Dundee6006214-120
View full Scottish Premiership table

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