Aberdeen vs Motherwell match report: Adam Rooney strike seals fightback as Dons close gap on Celtic

Aberdeen 2 Motherwell 1

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The Independent Football

A second half fightback – helped by two George Long errors – saw Aberdeen defeat relegation threatened Motherwell and cut Celtic’s lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership to three points.

Scott McDonald diverted in a Lee Erwin shot to give the visitors an interval lead but Ash Taylor and Adam Rooney scored in quick succession early in the second half to hand the Dons victory.

It was a crucial three points for Derek McInnes’ team, particularly with Celtic not in league action again until next weekend due to tomorrow’s League Cup final against Dundee United. This was Motherwell’s third defeat against Aberdeen this season and left them a place and a point above bottom side St Mirren, who have a game in hand.

The hosts struggled to get into a rhythm in the early stages but they did carve out an opening for Kenny McLean in the 21st minute. Motherwell gave as good as they got and, after Erwin sliced wide, they should have gone in front in the 29th minute through Conor Grant.

However, Aberdeen failed to heed the warning and trailed after 37 minutes. Erwin’s shot from just outside the box took a huge deflection off McDonald and the ball found the bottom corner.

The Steelmen’s lead would have been short-lived but for Long’s save, a dive to his right to keep out Kenny McLean’s downward header.

Aberdeen drew level as Niall McGinn’s deep delivery found the unmarked Taylor, whose header from eight yards was well saved by Long – but the ball squirmed from his grasp and into the net.

Rooney then profited on a Long blunder as the on-loan Sheffield United goalkeeper charged out of his box to try to clear the danger but got into a mix-up with Louis Laing and Rooney nipped in to tap into an empty net.

Aberdeen: Langfield; Taylor, Daniels (Pawlett, 35 mins; Robertson, 90), Reynolds, McGinn, Logan, Jack, McLean, Considine, Rooney, Goodwillie (Robson, 78). Substitutes not used: Smith, Clark, Brown, Shankland, Driver.

Motherwell: G Long; Law, Laing, McManus, Straker, Grant (Ainsworth, 65 mins), Lasley, Pearson, Johnson (Sutton, 77), McDonald, Erwin (Thomas, 86). Substitutes not used: Ramsden, Twardzik, O’Brien, Moore.

Referee: C Allan (Scotland)