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Aberdeen 3 - 1 Kilmarnock

HT Score: Aberdeen 2 - 1 Kilmarnock

Scottish Cup Quarter Final
Aberdeen scorers: McGrath 12, Shinnie 33, Goals 66.
Kilmarnock scorers: Armstrong 41

09/03/2024 | KO: 12:30

Dons heading back to Hampden

Aberdeen produced an excellent all-round display to book a third Hampden visit of the season, Kilmarnock looking a well beaten side long before the final whistle as the Dons continued the season’s strong cup form.

There were two changes to Neil Warnock’s side after the late defeat at St Mirren last Saturday with fit again Jack MacKenzie returning to the side alongside Jamie McGrath, with Richard Jensen and Duk starting on the bench. Shayden Morris retuned to the matchday squad, with Ryan Duncan and James McGarry missing out.

Kilmarnock also made two changes following their 2-2 draw at Dens Park last Saturday. Stuart Findlay and David Watson returned to the side in place of Robbie Deas and Matty Kennedy.

Understandably enough, given all that was at stake, the game started in fairly cagey fashion, the sides feeling each other out in the opening exchanges. The game finally erupted into life on 11 minutes when the Dons hit the front. An accurate long pass forward by Stefan Gartenmann struck Bojan Miovski on the back as he ran goalwards. As the ball dropped, he was able to manufacture a backheel into the path of Junior Hoilett and his left foot shot was only parried by Dennis, McGrath following in to poke the ball home from seven yards out.

Killie had a corner on 16 but it was cleared and, from the edge of his own box, MacKenzie carried the ball all the way into the opposition area in a lung busting run before he was finally dispossessed. Four minutes later, Vassell juggled a cross into the box on his thigh before turning to hook a volley well wide of goal, Kilmarnock responding well to going behind.

They had a golden chance to level it up after 21 minutes, a short corner played into Donnelly who got away from everyone, but from eight yards out, he missed the target, to the audible relief of Pittodrie. Up the other end, a long ball into the Kilmarnock box caused consternation, Graeme Shinnie looping a header forward, just in front of the stretching Killian Phillips.

It was 2-0 to the Dons on 33 minutes, a screamer from the skipper. After a corner was cleared, Aberdeen got the ball back into the box from a left wing throw. Hoilett’s cross was cushioned down by McGrath and, running onto it 15 yards out, Shinnie lashed his right footed drive into the top corner via a slight deflection off a defender.

A low cross from Nicky Devlin almost created another opportunity three minutes later, Dennis doing well to hold the ball low down as Miovski came in on the ball. Kilmarnock responded with Armstrong drifting inside to bend a left foot shot through the box but wide of the far post.

The Dons were punished from some slack play as they tried to build up from just outside their own box on 41. It allowed Vassell to get in behind, pulling the ball back through the area, Armstrong coming onto it to flash his shot into the bottom corner.

HALF-TIME: ABERDEEN 2 KILMARNOCK 1

Murray came on for the visitors at the break, replacing Watson. MacKenzie was booked in the opening seconds of the half for a foul on Armstrong. MacKenzie went powering to the by-line on 54 minutes, his cross cut out by Kilmarnock.

Armstrong needed treatment on the hour after colliding with Shinnie, Armstrong getting a yellow card while he was on the floor, presumably for dissent. Donnelly followed him straight into the book for heading the back of Phillips.

The Dons restored the two goal advantage on 66 minutes. Persistence from Phillips won the ball deep in the Killie half, Hoilett then feeding MacKenzie to pull the ball back into the box. McGrath stabbed at it, his shot probably going wide, but it clipped Findlay and looped into the net, the sort of good fortune that has eluded the Dons since the turn of the year.

Hoilett caused chaos down the left again, skipping past Armstrong on 68, his cross deflected onto the roof of the net. From the corner, Phillips looped a header wide. McGrath was booked two minutes later for a foul on Murray.

A triple change came from Kilmarnock after 76 minutes, Stewart, Mackay-Steven and Balagizi replacing Polworth, Vassell and Armstrong. A strong run from Connor Barron created a half chance for Miovski on 78, but his shot on the turn was blocked by the opposition defence.

Dennis had to produce an outstanding save to deny Miovski with 10 minutes to go, Nicky Devlin produced a fine cross on the overlap, McGrath’s effort at goal blocked, Miovski picking up the loose ball and forcing Dennis to go smartly down to his left to save.

Ester Sokler replaced Miovski two minutes later, Hoilett making way for Duk. Kilmarnock’s final change came with Watkins being replaced by Cameron after 84 minutes, seconds after Shinnie had blazed a shot over the bar from 20 yards. Jack Milne came on for Devlin with two minutes to go. Shinnie was then booked, presumably for dissent, after being hacked down by a late challenge and not getting a free-kick for his pains.

As we headed into four minutes of added time, Leighton Clarkson replaced Barron, just after Cameron had lashed a 20 yarder over the bar, a shot taken more in hope than expectation as Kilmarnock’s Scottish Cup hopes ebbed away in the face of a spirited Aberdeen display.

2 minutes added at end 1st half.
4 minutes added at end 2nd half.
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Roos, Devlin (Milne 88), MacKenzie, Shinnie, Gartenmann, McGrath, Barron (Clarkson 91), Miovski, Phillips (Sokler), MacDonald, Hoilett (Lopes 82).

Unused Subs: Doohan, Jensen, Hayes, Morris, Polvara.

Bookings:  MacKenzie (46),  Shinnie (90).
Kilmarnock Teamsheet
Dennis, Wright, Mayo, Findlay, Ndaba, Armstrong (Mackay-Steven 75), Watson (Murray 46), Polworth (Balagizi 75), Donnelly, Watkins (Cameron 84), Vassell (Stewart 75) Unused Subs: O'Hara, Deas, McKenzie, Van Veen

Bookings:  Armstrong 62,   Wright 62
Attendance: 10,879
Visitors:1,493
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: John Beaton
Next Match
East Kilbride
A
20 Jul 2024 / 15:00 / K-Park Training Academy, East Kilbride