A late header from Kieran Shanks gave Aberdeen their sixth win out of six. A really good victory for the youngsters in what was a very competitive and high quality 90 minutes.
Aberdeen had to endure the usual nightmare Friday afternoon traffic and they were slow to get started.
In the opening minutes striker Andrew Winter, who has been in good form for Hamilton this season, went close after a good move down the left. He got in behind the defence but fired his shot over. Then a cross from the other side gave Lennon Pirrie a chance at the near post.
Aberdeen were still trying to get a foothold in the game.
On 13 minutes, from their second corner, central defender Josh Grigor did well to find space inside the area and was unmarked when the ball came over. He probably should have scored but could only deflect the ball past the post. A let off for the Dons.
Aberdeen a few minutes later won their first corner and from a pre planned move they managed to isolate Tyler Mykyta on the edge of the area. He then beat his man and should have had a penalty when he was clearly impeded inside the area.
The game then became a real physical battle as both teams tried to get the upper hand.
On 20 minutes Grigor was again a threat from a corner and on the half hour mark Pirrie forced Tom Ritchie into a very smart stop. He cut inside and from 20 yards and hit a powerful shot which the keeper did well to tip over. Then a few minutes later a cross from the right was only inches too high for Pirrie.
Five minutes before half time, the best chance for Aberdeen when Michael Dangana used his strength to win the ball in the final third. His cross was cleverly laid into the path of Lewis Duncan by Max Barry but the wingers first time effort was off target. It was a lovely touch from Barry that opened up the defence.
Then on the stroke of half time Calvin Ramsay on the right produced a superb run but his driven cross could not be turned in by Hanratty at the back post. The talented winger was just not able to react quick enough.
HT. Hamilton Accies 0 Aberdeen 0
At half time Max Barry was replaced by Kieran Shanks who went up top with Dangana. Within a couple of minutes of the restart Ramsay put over another inviting cross but it was just out of the reach of Dangana.
At the other end Jack Garrad managed to get a shot away on the turn but pulled the ball just wide.
Then Aberdeen brilliantly worked a corner for Kyle Dalling to attack. He chested the ball over the head of keeper Jamie Smith who did well to recover and prevent a goal. Aberdeen appealed that the ball had crossed the line, but the linesman was well positioned.
You certainly felt a goal was coming as the game opened up, but at which end?
A real blow for the visitors when on 55 minutes captain Connor Barron limped off. He was replaced by Jack McIver.
The game continued to be very open and moved from end to end. Aberdeen went close after another well worked corner before Liam Harris at the other end was very unlucky when he crashed a shot off the crossbar.
An hour in, Aberdeen were just starting to get on top and would dominate the final thirty minutes.
Lewis Duncan had some great runs down the right. Tyler Mykyta put a free kick just wide as Calvin Ramsay and Kevin Hanratty started to have a big influence on the game. After 70 minutes Hanratty did well to create room for a shot but fired it straight at the keeper. With 15 minutes to go the Dons might have done better on the break but the ball frustratingly fell in between Duncan and Dangana.
Dangana before that also had another strong penalty shout.
Then with just under ten minutes to go Mykyta won a free kick 25 yards out after a storming run forward. Hanratty took it and his effort was well saved by Smith but the ball popped up and Dalling was the first to react. The big defender could not find the target but his effort went wide to Hanratty who picked up the rebound. He played the ball back to Mykyta who then put over a superb cross which was met brilliantly by Shanks who headed into the net.
Aberdeen had the lead.
After that Hamilton pushed forward looking for an equaliser and had a number of set pieces late on. The Dons were well organised and Dalling was a rock at the back. Aberdeen managed the closing stages well and had a couple of dangerous breaks. More importantly they were able to see the game out.
A deserved win in the end, but they were made to work really hard for the three points.