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Heart of Midlothian 2 - 1 Aberdeen

HT Score: Heart of Midlothian 1 - 1 Aberdeen

Scottish Premiership
Heart of Midlothian scorers: Ginnelly 42, Shankland 56
Aberdeen scorers: Pollock 31.

20/05/2023 | KO: 12:30

Dons Narrowly Lose Out In Capital

Despite taking the lead at Tynecastle, the Dons were defeated by Hearts, narrowing their lead over their fourth placed opponents to two points in the table with two games to play.
Barry Robson made three changes to his team after the 0-0 draw with Hibs at Pittodrie last weekend. In came Connor Barron, Jayden Richardson and Marley Watkins to replace Ryan Duncan, who started from the bench, and the injured Duk and Hayden Coulson. Patrik Myslovic was added to the eight man bench. Jonny Hayes captained the side on his 300th start for the Dons.
There were two changes to the Hearts team that drew 2-2 at St Mirren last Saturday with Alex Cochrane and Nathaniel Atkinson replacing James Hill and Andy Halliday, who dropped to the bench.

The Dons made a bright start, the first half chance coming on six minutes as Watkins played Bojan Miovski into the box. He got away from a couple of challenges before finally being crowded out in the Hearts area. Hayes was in the book on 11 minutes after a sliding tackle on Oda was a fraction late.
Shankland had the first pop at goal for Hearts on 14 minutes, good feet taking him past a couple of tackles before his low 20 yarder was parried away by Kelle Roos. Oda was in two minutes later, picking Hayes' pocket on the edge of the box and surging into the area, Roos making a sharp save with his feet at the near post.
Watkins was away on the chase for Aberdeen after 18 minutes, cutting inside from the right before sending in a low left foot shot that stung Clark's palms. Shankland responded by firing over the bar from 10 yards after a Hearts corner routine. The game continued to go from end to end, Ylber Ramadani pulling a shot wide from the edge of the area.
Watkins was bundled to the ground in the box in a challenge with Haring on 22 minutes. There was a pause for a VAR check but no penalty. Moments later, Devlin hauled Watkins over, the two players exchanging words in the aftermath. Referee Clancy wasn't keen on their turn of phrase and booked both.
Just past the half hour, Mattie Pollock put the Dons ahead. From Leighton Clarkson's left wing corner, the ball sailed over Clark, who misjudged the flight, and Pollock was following in at the back post to guide his header into the net.
Hearts almost responded immediately but a great block by Liam Scales from Cochrane and then by Roos from a follow up header were enough to protect the Aberdeen goal. Shankland then swiped another effort over the bar as the Dons defended doggedly. Hearts were pouring forward by now but Roos and the white shirted rear-guard were utterly committed to their task.
It should have been two for Aberdeen and two for Pollock on 40 minutes, Hayes' free-kick eluding everyone until Pollock came diving in at the back post, his header at full stretch going wide. Miovski was in behind a minute later, collecting a clever ball through from Clarkson, but after a good first touch eight yards out, with just Clark to beat he couldn't quite keep the ball under control and the chance was gone.
There was no stopping Ginnelly's effort on 43 minutes though. On the right edge of the D, fully 25 yards out, he fired off a ferocious effort across the face of goal and into the top corner beyond Roos' grasping left hand. It was a terrific strike, though he was given too much time to hit it from an Aberdeen perspective.


Miovski was booked on 49 minutes, a pretty harsh looking decision as he nudged Cochrane, who hit the deck as if he'd run into a brick wall. Ramadani followed him in three minutes for pulling back Oda. From the free-kick, Hearts worked the ball to Oda and his shot from distance was deflected just wide. Hearts were building good early second half pressure and pushing the Dons into retreat.
It paid off on 56 minutes when Shankland gave his side the lead. Cochrane slung in a cross from the left and Shankland got in front of Scales at the near post to side foot past Roos at close range. It might have got worse yet two minutes later, McKay bending a shot across goal and wide as Aberdeen suddenly looked exposed at the back.
The hosts were in rampant mood now, Barry Robson responding on the hour by making three changes, Duncan, Jack MacKenzie and Shayden Morris replacing Hayes, Barron and Angus MacDonald as Aberdeen went to a back four. Hearts were forced into a change of their own five minutes later as Ginnelly was replaced after lengthy treatment to an ankle injury.
Morris was straight into the game, winning the ball by the corner flag and playing it back to Duncan and then Clarkson. The Liverpool loanee clipped the ball back into Morris' run but he could get enough on his cross to trouble Clark.
The Dons were slowly turning the tide, Miovski getting in a low shot on 70 minutes, meat and drink for Clark, but Aberdeen were at least asking questions again. Hearts brought on Smith and Forrest for McKay and Oda to counter that improvement in the 77th minute.
Almost immediately a ball over the top had Miovski in on goal. He tangled with Sibbick, the Hearts defender just able to manoeuvre him away from the ball as they tangled in the penalty area. Dilan Markanday replaced Watkins after 79 minutes, a fourth Aberdeen change.
Forrest should have put the game beyond reach on 84 minutes, receiving a pass from Devlin virtually on the penalty spot but he poked his shot wide of the goal, a real let off. Hearts made their final change, bringing on Kio for Haring after 86 minutes. Aberdeen made their final substitution, bringing on Alfie Bavidge for Ramadani a minute later, this happening while Rowles needed lengthy treatment after colliding with Roos.
Aberdeen were throwing men forward but they were struggling to carve out a meaningful chance as they pursued the equaliser. Morris made two darting runs into the box from the left without producing that vital opening.
Pollock was flat out in the centre circle seven minutes into added time after a clash of heads with Atkinson, who was similarly poleaxed. After prolonged work from both sets of physios, the pair were pronounced fit to continue. The Dons tried to get the ball forward to find the equaliser but Hearts stood firm.
2 minutes added at end 1st half
8+3 minutes added at end 2nd half
Heart of Midlothian Teamsheet
Clark, Cochrane, Rowles, Sibbick, Atkinson, Haring (Kiomourtzoglou 86), Devlin, McKay (Forrest 76), Shankland, Oda (Smith 76), Ginnelly (Grant 65)

Unused Substitutes: Kuol, Tait, Halliday, Hill, Stewart

Bookings:  Devlin 25
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Roos, Scales, Barron (Morris 60), Miovski, Watkins (Markanday 79), Ramadani (Bavidge 87), Hayes (Duncan 60), Pollock, Clarkson, Richardson, MacDonald (MacKenzie 60).

Unused Subs: Lewis, Myslovič, Kennedy.

Bookings:  Hayes (11),  Watkins (25),  Miovski (49),  Ramadani (51),   (75).
Attendance: 18,661
Venue: Tynecastle, Edinburgh
Referee: Kevin Clancy
Next Match
East Kilbride
20 Jul 2024 / 15:00 / K-Park Training Academy, East Kilbride