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August 14, 2012 7:00 PM BST
Aberdeen
 
Anderson 81′
 

Aberdeen 2-1 Manchester United XI: Fletcher returns after nine-month layoff

The Scottish midfielder made a shock substitute appearance in the friendly game at Pittodrie, appearing for thirty minutes as the hosts capitalised on mistakes to claim a win

By Joe Doyle

Darren Fletcher (Getty Images)
Manchester United were defeated 2-1 by Aberdeen as Darren Fletcher made his comeback from injury for the testimonial of Neil Simpson.

The Dons capitalised on mistakes from the visitors to take a two-goal lead thanks to Jonny Hayes and Joe Shaugnessy, with Anderson grabbing a goal 10 minutes from the end.

The real surprise though, was Fletcher's return from illness, as he played the last half-hour of the low tempo game at Pittodrie.

Sir Alex named a strong starting lineup for the friendly, with the likes of Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs in midfield alongside Anderson and new signing Nick Powell.

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Meanwhile, on the bench were the likes of former players Quinton Fortune, Dwight Yorke and Clayton Blackmore, while Fletcher also claimed a shock place despite his ongoing battle with ulcerative colitis.

The hosts started strongly, putting goalkeeper David de Gea under pressure with some crosses into the box and corners.

But United came closest to opening the scoring in the first 20 minutes, when Giggs curled an effort just wide after good build-up play from Powell and Bebe. Minutes later, Powell came close, making some room for himself on the edge of the box before blasting an effort over.

Powell almost found the opener soon after, when Federico Macheda's effort was palmed away by Langfield in the Aberdeen goal, and the United man flung himself at a diving header from an angle to see it go narrowly over the bar.

But it was the hosts who took the lead after 37 minutes, and it was primarily the fault of veteran Scholes. The midfielder got himself into all sorts of trouble, taking the ball back into his own penalty area, only to be robbed by Hayes eight yards from goal, and the striker duly slotted past De Gea.

The Dons almost added to their lead before the half-time whistle with Michael Paton flicking a header just over the bar, but it stayed at 1-0 until the break.

Sir Alex made a host of changes after the break, with Blackmore and Yorke joining the action, as well as Adnan Januzaj and Sam Johnston, who replaced De Gea.

Blackmore then showed that class is permanent by teeing up Powell with a beautiful cross, but the 18-year-old placed his header wide from six yards when he really should have scored.

In the 59th minute, after almost nine months out, Fletcher finally made his return to the football field, and was fittingly given the captain's armband.
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The home side were on top for stretches of the second half, rather cruelly attacking down the left-wing where the 47-year-old Blackmore was deployed at right-back, and firing in some long-range shots that Johnston dealt well with.

United then brought on another former player as Fortune came on at left-back to replace Tyler Blackett, who had attacked impressively in the first half.

But in the 70th minute, Aberdeen extended their lead. A corner was spilled by keeper Johnston, and after a goalmouth scramble, Shaugnessy poked it home.

United looked to have immediately pegged them back, but Yorke's effort from close range was ruled out for offside after Bebe cut in well and forced a stop.

And with just under 10 minutes to go, Anderson did halve the deficit, taking a pass in his stride before beating two defenders and dinking a shot over the goalkeeper.

With a few minutes to go, United began to press, as Anderson came close from the edge of the box, forcing a block from Langfield, with Fletcher's follow-up blocked for a corner.

And from the corner, Fortune had an effort from the edge of the box that was blasted extremely high and wide, prompting laughter from both fans and players alike, before the full-time whistle was blown.


Aberdeen

1
Jamie Langfield
Goalkeeper
 - 
27
 - 
4
Mark Reynolds
Defender
 - 
-
Gary Naysmith
Defender
 - 
-
Neil Simpson
Defender
 - 
28
Robert Milsom
Midfielder
 - 
16
Isaac Osbourne
Midfielder
 - 
11
Chris Clark
Midfielder
 - 
20
Jonathan Hayes
Midfielder
37′
 - 
20
Josh Magennis
Striker
 - 
19
Michael Paton
Striker
 - 

Man Utd.

 - 
1
David de Gea
Goalkeeper
 - 
-
 - 
42
 - 
-
 - 
5
 - 
18
Paul Scholes
Midfielder
 - 
11
Ryan Giggs
Midfielder
 - 
8
Anderson
Midfielder
81′
 - 
33
Bebe
Striker
 - 
27
 - 
-

Substitutes

32
Jason Brown
Goalkeeper
 - 
-
Danny Rogers
Goalkeeper
 - 
5
 - 
-
Stephen Hughes
Midfielder
 - 
4
Gavin Rae
Midfielder
 - 
9
 - 
37
 - 

Substitutes

 - 
50
Sam Johnstone
Goalkeeper
 - 
24

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