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Hibernian 3 - 1 Aberdeen

HT Score: Hibernian 1 - 0 Aberdeen

Hibernian scorers: Jack 41, Riordan 62, Riordan 72
Aberdeen scorers: Tiernan 88.

03/05/2003 | KO: 15:00

No case for the Dons Defence

The Aberdeen defence was found wanting at Easter Road as shoddy play gifted Hibs a three goal lead. The home side lost both strikers early on, but the young replacements carved out the home side's win with Riordan grabbing a brace. Efforts from Hinds and Mackie were well saved by Colgan as the Dons tried to rally late on, before Tiernan grabbed a well taken late consolation.

Aberdeen made a positive start and pressed forward without carving out a real scoring opportunity. Hibs were not sitting back either and they were creating problems for the Dons down the left. The game came alive in the 12th minute when Kjaer released McNaughton on the right. The full back raced forward and delivered the ball on to the head of Leigh Hinds but Colgan tipped his powerful effort over the bar. Two minutes later Michie tried to curl the ball beyond the keeper, but it went inches wide.

Tosh reacted quickly a minute later when Fenwick headed a Brebner free kick into the danger area. The midfielder was first to react as he unceremoniously booted the ball to safety. Hibs went close again in the 19th minute when McManus went on a probing run down the right leaving Russell Anderson grounded. He then delivered a telling cross, which was turned wide by Murray. There were loud appeals for a penalty in the 27th minute as Hinds was bundled down in the box. In fairness the decision would have been harsh and the free kick went Hibs way as Hinds handled the ball while grounded.

On the half-hour mark Deloumeaux showed considerable skill before releasing Clark wide on the left, but the winger failed to get his cross beyond the first defender. Leigh Hinds should have put the Dons ahead three minutes later when a quick thinking Paul Sheerin fired in a cross which fond Hinds in glorious isolation. The ex-Clyde man looked to be caught unawares and let the ball bounce off his shin and past the post. He didn't let this affect his confidence however as a minute later he used his body strength to hold off two defenders and fired in a dangerous cross which Michie failed to connect with.

The Dons paid the price for slack defending in the 41st minute following a cheaply conceded free kick by McGuire. Riordan fired the ball across the face of the goal and Brown headed the ball off the crossbar. The luck of last week didn't hold out as Jack reacted quickest and fired home from close range. A minute later Aberdeen were awarded a free kick from a similar position, but Colgan was quick to take command of the situation.

Hibs carved out the first chance of the second half when Riordan beat Deloumeaux and fired in a low shot which Kjaer held. A minute later Sheerin attempted a free kick from 20 yards, which sailed well wide. Aberdeen put the Hibs defence under pressure in the 52nd minute, but they lacked the required composure in front of goal. They were almost punished a minute later when Matyus grazed the post with a powerful header. The second Hibs goal arrived in the 62nd minute and once more the Dons defence was exposed as Riordan ghosted in at the back post to fire past Kjaer.

Sheerin tried to hit back in the 65th minute, but his shot was fired straight at Colgan and the keeper had an easy catch. Paterson tried to change the pattern of the game by introducing Darren Mackie for Michie in the 67th minute. This made little difference as the Dons defence was now having a very bad day at the office and conceded number three in the 72nd minute. A complete mix-up and inability to clear their lines resulted in Riordan having a simple tap in to make it 3-0. Only a goal line clearance by Sheerin three minutes later prevented Hibs from adding a fourth goal.

Colgan was called into action in the 78th minute when Mackie released Hinds and as the keeper blocked his shot Tosh was screaming for the cutback at the back post. Seconds later the Hibs wall stood firm as Clark tried to fire in a free kick from the edge of the box. Aberdeen grabbed a consolation in the 88th minute when Sheerin released Tiernan and the youngster showed great composure to flick the ball over Colgan. This was followed by Colgan being forced into a desperate save from Hinds and Mackie being denied as he stumbled into an injured Tosh. It was too little too late however and Hibs deservedly collected the points.

Hibernian Teamsheet
Colgan, Matyus, Smith, Zambernardi (Townsley 71), Fenwick, Murray, McManus (Riordan 20), Brebner, O'Connor (Brown 30), Jack, Doumbe. Unused Subs: Anderson, Reid

Bookings:  Murray 43,   Doumbe 47
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Kjaer, Deloumeaux, Anderson, McGuire, McNaughton (Payne 75), Tiernan, Tosh, Clark, Sheerin, Hinds, Michie (Mackie 67).

Unused Subs: Preece, Young, D'Jaffo.

Bookings:  McGuire (53).
Attendance: 7,904
Venue: Easter Road, Edinburgh
Referee: Charlie Richmond, Auchinleck