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Heart of Midlothian 0 - 0 Aberdeen

HT Score: Heart of Midlothian 0 - 0 Aberdeen


09/11/2002 | KO: 15:00

They shall not pass

A decent second half display by Aberdeen probably merited a win, but at the end of the day few could argue with the share of the spoils. Aberdeen worked hard in the middle of the park with Tiernan and Bisconti playing well. Michie and Thornley also caused problems on the flanks, but the final ball was never good enough. At the end of the day they were solid at the back and this sets up an intriguing cup tie in midweek.

The game was delayed for several minutes while streamers were cleared from the pitch after the Dons received a ticker tape welcome from the fans. It didn't take long for the game to burst into life and it was Hearts who showed first. McKenna, playing up front looped a header over the bar after only 2 minutes. At the back, Deloumeaux moved to right back with Rutkiewicz moving into the centre. Aberdeen had their first shot on goal in the 4th minute as Tiernan tested McKenzie from 20 yards after good play on the left by Fabiano. A minute later Michie had a fierce shot blocked.

Aberdeen were attacking well down the flanks through Michie and Fabiano with Mike playing through the middle. Fabiano obviously had a problem with what looked like a groin injury and Ben Thornley eventually replaced him in the 16th minute. The match was even at this stage with little goal mouth action. Thornley had a chance in the 21st minute when he collected the ball on the left before cutting inside and hitting a powerful shot wide of the post.

Fergus Tiernan was having a tremendous match in the middle of the park and most of the Dons moves were coming through him. The home side looked nervous and their play was littered with mistakes. You felt at this stage that Aberdeen should be taking advantage. As something of a warning McKenna went close again in the 28th minute, heading a Pressley free kick goalwards. A minute later we were given an action replay, but once more Kjaer saved.

Aberdeen were still attacking on the flanks, but the final ball was failing to find a Dons player to finish. Bisconti tried to force his way through in the 31st minute, but was outnumbered and a minute later Twaddle should have done better from a McKenna knock down, but fortunately his shot ended up in the stand. The Dons were trying to keep the pace up, but at times they were too quick and almost paid for that in the 37th minute when a quick free kick was intercepted and only a tight offside decision prevented a goal. The home side had now regained their composure and Kjaer was forced into a stop from Severin in the 38th minute.

A good move in the 40th minute, orchestrated once more by Tiernan, saw Thornley released wide, but McKenzie cut out the cross as Mike looked set to pounce. Thornley looked to have been put clear by Mike in the 44th minute, but the linesman's flag halted play and kept the match level.

Mike released Michie on the right in the 47th minute and the youngster did well to beat his marker, but once again the cross failed to get past the first defender. Two minutes later, Kjaer was almost caught out as a clearance found a Hearts player and he tried to hit the ball into the empty net from 40 yards. Fortunately the effort went tamely wide. A very tight offside decision denied Tiernan a run at goal and a minute later Severin went close with a free kick, which had cost Phil McGuire a yellow card.

Deloumeaux and Mike quickly followed McGuire into the referee's book. The home side now had a grip on the game as the Dons had to defend a lot more in this half. Thornley managed a weak effort in the 63rd minute, but it didn't test McKenzie. Two minutes later some neat passing play set up Darren Young, but once more he failed to get any power in the shot. A minute later Deloumeaux fired in a free kick which Rutkiewicz headed back into the centre. McKenzie was off his line quickly to punch cleat as Michie threatened.

Aberdeen should have taken the lead in the 70th minute following good play from Thornley. His cross fell inches behind Michie and Mike was then unable to collect with the Hearts defence stretched. Seconds later Darren Young went close with a powerful drive. Deloumeaux attempted a strike at goal in the 76th minute. Unfortunately it was from a 40 yard free kick and a ball into the area might have been the better option. McAllister became the fourth Dons booking in the 79th minute and a minute later the Dons should have had free kick on the edge of the box when Mike was clearly impeded.

Aberdeen were now running the show and a great one two between Thornley and Mike almost supplied the breakthrough in the 81st minute. They had to settle for a corner and McGuire headed over from the resultant kick. Hearts went close in the 87th minute when McAllister was caught out, but fortunately the Dons scrambled the ball clear. A minute later McKenzie did well to cut out a dangerous Mike cross. With three minutes of injury time announced both teams went for the win, but neither could grab that elusive goal.

Heart of Midlothian Teamsheet
McKenzie, Maybury, McKenna, Pressley, Severin, Twaddle (Sloan 53), Valois, Webster, Simmons (Janczyk  46), McMullan, Weir (Wales 83) Unused Subs: Gordon, McFarlane
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Kjaer, Deloumeaux, Rutkiewicz, McGuire, McAllister, Bisconti, Tiernan, Young, Fabiano (Thornley 16), Michie, Mike.

Unused Subs: Preece, Payne, Hedderman, Billio.

Bookings:  McGuire (52),  Deloumeaux (55),  Mike (57),  McAllister (79).
Attendance: 11,920
Venue: Tynecastle, Edinburgh
Referee: Dougie McDonald, Edinburgh