Aberdeen collected all three points by the narrowest of margins thanks to a penalty kick from Chris Maguire on the half hour mark. The match never lived up to the standard of Saturday and Hamilton put in a fine performance after the break, but the Dons defence remained solid. Aberdeen have played a lot better and lost, but it is good to see a new determination that can produced an ugly win like this when things are not going well. Maguire was the hero, but he missed a trio of chances in a five minute spell in the second half as the Dons tried to seal the win.
Aberdeen kicked off and rather unusually they were playing towards the RDS. Hamilton won an early free kick in the 2nd minute, but Aberdeen comfortably dealt with the threat and quickly broke forward. A minute later Aberdeen won their own free kick when Young was pulled back as he powered forward. The free kick was played short, but Cerny was out well to claim the cross from Smith. A second free kick followed two minutes later from the same area and this time they tried a move from the training ground as Milsom played the ball wide to Vernon who headed back towards Diamond, but the defender was crowded out.
At the other end Paixao beat Diamond and had a sight of goal, but blazed his effort high over the bar. Aberdeen were once again playing some good football and a fine passing move ended with Maguire firing wide. Hamilton won the first corner of the match in the 10th minute, but again Aberdeen coped well. Elebert made a shocking challenge on Milsom, but the referee settled for a long talk to both players after the midfielder reacted to the challenge. The Dons won their first corner in the 12th minute and Aluko should have opened the scoring when the second ball came into the box from McNamee, but the Nigerian volleyed inches over.
In the 20th minute Hamilton were awarded a very soft free kick wide on the left and almost opened the scoring when Antoine-Curier headed over from six yards. Another free kick followed a minute leader as the visitor's played their way back into the game. The game had lost a lot of its early rhythm as it became peppered with free kicks. Hamilton went close again in the 29th minute after McArdle had played a poor pass to Maguire. The youngster was dispossessed and Imrie surged forward, but fired wide.
At the other end the magic of Aluko produced a penalty when he was tripped by McAlister. Maguire stepped up to score his second spot kick in four days with half an hour on the clock. Efforts from McDonald and Imrie then failed to test Langfield as the visitor's looked for a quick path back into the game. McNamee won a corner in the 35th minute after collecting a wonderful pass from Maguire. There were muted claims for handball before a fresh air shot from McArdle ended the threat.
With four minutes of the half remaining good play between Vernon and Aluko produced another corner and a second quickly followed. The second was whipped in with great pace by Aluko and a header from Diamond was bulleted wide. At the other end Imrie had a decent effort that went over and seconds later McAllister also fired over as he was given too much space. Hamilton were pushing for an equaliser before the break, but the Dons held out to hold on to a deserved lead.
In the 48th minute Maguire was released on the right, but failed to find Vernon in the middle. Two minutes later Aluko worked his way down the left and as the ball fell to Maguire he found Milsom on the edge of the box and fired inches wide. A minute later Hamilton almost levelled after Imrie latched on to the ball when Smith slipped. Fortunately Langfield stood tall and blocked the effort. A timely reminder for Aberdeen about just how slender their lead was.
Young earned a yellow card in the 52nd minute for a trip on McAlister as the Hamilton man strode forward. At the other end a Maguire shot was blocked before Hamilton pressed forward again. A dangerous ball into the box found Vernon, but his looped header was claimed by Cerny under pressure from Maguire. On the hour mark Aberdeen came under pressure as they had to defend a free kick on the right of the box quickly followed by a corner. Fortunately they stood firm and almost managed to hit on the counter before the move broke down.
With nothing to lose Hamilton started to bombard the Aberdeen goal and in the 64th minute Hartley replaced Young in the middle of the park and seven minutes later Considine replaced McArdle. Maguire should have made it 2-0 in the 75th minute when he latched on to a defensive blunder, but fired wide with only the keeper to beat. Two minutes later he had a chance to atone and although this was a much better effort the ball went agonisingly wide again. It was déjà vu in the 79th minute when the young striker hit the same shot from the same position and beat the same post.
Three minutes later Vernon forced a fine save from Cerny with a fierce shot. McNamee then collected a caution before Magennis replaced Vernon. After denying Maguire a free kick on the edge of the Hamilton box, the visitors broke upfield and were awarded a soft one on the edge of the Dons box. Fortunately Langfield was down smartly to make the save and maintain the lead. In a frantic finish the nerve edges were jangling, but Aberdeen held on for a vital win that takes them to within a point of Dundee United and St. Johnstone.