Craig Brown makes three changes to the side which drew with Queen of the South last week. Clark Robertson came in for Chris Clark and went into the left back spot. Mitch Megginson came in for his first start of the season after impressing in a bounce game at Tannadice in midweek. He replaced Kari Arnason who was suspended and finally Josh Magennis came in for Rory Fallon. The back four were Robertson, Reynolds, Considine and McArdle, who was at right back. In front of them it was Megginson, Fyvie, Hughes and Jack with Josh up front with Scott Vernon.
There was a slow start to the game but despite that both teams had early chances. On 3 minutes Scott Vernon held off his man before making for the byline and putting in a good low cross. Mitch Megginson had read the situation and made a good run into the box and very nearly put it in at the near post. The defender and goalkeeper just did enough to make sure young Mitch could not make proper contact.
Then at the other end O'Connor played in his full back Claros who made a good overlapping run. He crossed first time but the move was well read by Mark Reynolds who put the ball behind for the first corner of the game. From the set piece there was a free header for O'Hanlon and the Dons were lucky his effort went over the bar.
Then a few minutes later a major let off for the Dons when Wotherspoon beat Robertson to the ball on the edge of the box. There was no one covering young Clark and the Hibs right midfielder had time to pick his spot but thankfully Jason Brown palmed the ball into the side netting.. A very good save. From the corner Brown missed it but thankfully Hughes was on the line to clear.
Aberdeen started to enjoy some possession and Fyvie was pulling the strings in midfield. Megginson was also adding some width and pace down the left, something which has been missing in recent weeks since the departure of Foster. The Dons were also looking the sharper in the middle of the park although little of note was created apart from a couple of Vernon headers from distance which Stack saved comfortably.
The Dons were playing a 4-4-2 formation although sometime it resembled a 4-3-3 as Megginson had licence to support Josh and Scott up front. The only problem with this was the impressive David Wotherspoon was enjoyed a lot of free space and was able to pick the ball up in dangerous areas.
On 20 minutes McArdle gave away a free kick midway inside he Dons half. The ball broke off Reynolds in the box and thankfully went behind. The Dons defence was looking a bit raged at this stage, the first time that had happened in a while. Wotherspoon then very nearly created the first goal when he ran across the box and played in Osbourne. Isaac's brother took a touch then shot but his effort was well saved by Brown with his legs. The keeper narrowed the angle very quickly and gave Isaiah very little to aim at. Wotherspoon again though was given too much room.
On 27 minutes Jack's brilliant first time ball dissected the Hibs defence. Vernon ran onto it and played the ball back to Megginson. Mitch did really well to beat his man and get to the byline . His cross was cut out by O'Hanlon and the ball went inches past the post. Very nearly an own goal as the defender could not possibly have had time to react properly.
From the corner a great ball was played in by Fyvie. Considine came in unmarked at the back post and should have scored. Any kind of decent contact with the ball and it was 1-0. Two minutes later Mitch did really well again to put a really good cross right across the face of goal. Vernon threw himself at it and again any contact would have led the ball to go into the net. A really really good chance that you would expect Vernon to take.
Hibs then came back into the game and put the Dons under pressure thanks to some questionable decisions. First a soft free kick then a throw in that went the wrong way. But it was Aberdeen who created another chance when Hughes and Fyvie linked up well to set up Megginsonwho put in another good cross from the left but no takers this time. Josh then did well to win corner. Fyvie looped a long floating ball in which McArdle headed back into the danger area. The ball broke to Hughes who cleverly picked out Megginson and his low shot just about beat Stack who would have been unsighted but the keeper was able to save after diving full length. All the Dons chances had been coming down the left but then after a good move Hughes crossed from the right. Fyvie dummied the ball to leave it for Vernon. The move very nearly caught the defenders out but the Dons top scorer could not get his shot away. Another good chance.
Half an hour gone and at this stage it was a very open and enjoyable game. The Dons young guns of Megginson, Jack, Robertson and Fyvie were linking well together.
On 37 minutes Doyle won the ball in the box inside Reynolds who had misjudged the cross but Considine helped out his central defensive partner. Considine was probably the Dons best player again this afternoon. A strong contender for the player of the season award. On 39 minutes another lovely run by Megginson was picked out by Fyvie but he was unable to control a difficult ball over his shoulder. After 41 minutes another very soft free kick was awarded to the home side when Osbourne went down after a tackle by Clark. Thankfully O'Connor's effort was deflected to safety by the wall. Then in the closing stages of the half it was Megginson again who created an opening and his pin point cross picked out Magennis but he could not get enough power on his header.
At the start of the second half it was again a very open game. You felt it was only a matter of time before there was a goal.
On 47 minutes corner number five to Aberdeen. The ball was cleared to Fyvie on the edge of the area but his shot was deflected and the ball landed at the feet of a Hibs player in the box. On 50 minutes a through ball by Fyvie forced O'Hanlon to track back and the defender and Stack seemed to leave the ball to each other. Neither dealing with the situation. Magennis put pressure on the two of them and very nearly got his foot in before the keeper finally claimed it. An encouraging sign to see the lack of communication. The Dons were then awarded a soft free kick when Magennis fell over. It was taken quickly and Jack was able to get a cross in at the second time of asking but Considine's header went well wide.
On 52 minutes the home supporters starting to get on the players backs. More encouraging signs for the Dons . Then on the hour mark Doherty was booked for foul on Magennis. It seemed a very harsh decision. It was maybe a foul but not a booking in what was a very good spirited game. The decision worked against the Dons though as the Hibs fans stopped having a go at their players and started getting on the referee's back. They were right behind their team again and the atmosphere lifted.
It lifted the home side so much they then very nearly opened the scoring. A corner was not dealt with by the Dons and somehow the ball was kept out by Brown at the back post and then by McArdle who cleared the ball off the line. There were strong protests from the HIbs players and fans for a hand ball against McArdle. It was hard to see what they were on about. Minutes later they were appealing for another penalty when the ball struck Jack. The home fans were certainly not happy with the performance of Crawford Allan. The Dons though were under real pressure at t his stage. Jason Brown came out to claim a good cross to help ease things for a bit. On 65 minutes both managers decided it was time for a change. For the Dons Mo Chalali replaced Josh Magennis in what was a straight swap.
Aberdeen were not creating anything of note and Mitch Megginson was not get the ball. Although on 72 minutes another corner for the Dons. McArdle and Considine could do nothing with the hanging ball in the air and in the end Robertson did well to clear at the other end after a Hibs break.
On 75 minutes another let off for the Dons when a Wotherspoon free kick was missed by everyone and went harmlessly behind. A minute later Darren Mackie replaced Megginson who had taken a knock. The youngster had a very fine game and although left midfield is not his natural position he put in some very good crosses which deserved to be put in the net.
Mackie's first touch was excellent and set Fyvie free. He played the ball back to Clark Robertson who looped in a deep cross. Ryan Jack played the ball back across goal and O'Hanlon was very lucky at the second attempt to clear. There were three red jerseys round about him but the ball agonisingly would not fall for any of them. It was one of those afternoons for both teams. Demonstrated minutes later when at the other end Reynolds deflected the ball over from a dangerous free kick. The ball could have gone anywhere. From the corner the ball went across the face of goal and about four Hibs players missed it.
The Dons had a couple more chances before the end. Fyvie played in Vernon who crossed from the left but the ball went behind everyone. Then a minute later from a corner (the Dons seventh) Chalali had a free header which went wide. A reasonable chance but the striker would have seen the ball late.
That was the Dons last chance and they had to defend in the final ten minutes. That task got harder when Clark Robertson went down after making a great blocking tackle. It looked like he had injured his knee. After a small delay Youl Mawene came on and went into the middle with Reynolds. Considine went to left back. Not easy for anyone coming into a key position at that stage of the game.
The home side threw everything at the Dons in the final minutes but the Dons defended well as a team and did not give them any clear cut openings. Just time for some more baffling decisions from the ref for both teams. An example, when Mackie was given offside even though there was a Hibs defender behind him.
When the final whistle went both teams looked happy with the point, even though both sides missed some great opportunities.