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Hibernian 2 - 1 Aberdeen

HT Score: Hibernian 1 - 1 Aberdeen

SPL
Hibernian scorers: Riordan 24, Glass 64
Aberdeen scorers: Mackie 37.

11/12/2004 | KO: 15:00

A tale of two cards as Dons slip up in the capital

Hibernian completed the double over Aberdeen today but this doesn't start to tell the story of this controversial match. The game turned on a couple of incidents before the break. With the score at 1-1 Preece was adjudged to have denied a goal scoring chance and was red carded by John Rowbotham. A minute later O'Connor took a deliberate kick at Chris Clark and only saw yellow. The ten men played well after the interval but a Stephen Glass strike gave the home side the win as Aberdeen finished on top leaving Hibs hanging on at the end. The failed to get a break however and can feel unlucky not to get a share of the points.

Following an impeccably observed minute's silence in memory of Hicham Zerouali the Dons almost made a sensational start when Pasquinelli pounced on a Hibs error before the home defence recovered quickly. The Dons then broke with pace in the 2nd minute as Darren Mackie streaked into the Hibs box and fired the ball into the side netting. Two minutes later Anderson had to make a timely tackle to deny O'Connor as the game raged from end to end in the opening minutes. Severin then hit a wild effort following a free kick in a dangerous position before Mackie had another chance in the 10th minute when he was released by Severin and chipped the ball over Brown but missed the target.

Hibs then went close in the 13th minute when O'Connor headed a Murphy cross over the bar and were somehow awarded the first corner kick of the match. The set play saw Caldwell screw the ball over the bar as the home side finally started to settle and take some control. The Dons had to rely on Anderson again in the 19th minute as he made another important challenge before Stephen Glass flicked the ball over the bar. The Dons were on the back foot now and Preece had to deal with a speculative effort from Beuzelin in the 21st minute and the home side went ahead three minutes later. Beuzelin fed ex Don Stephen Glass and the ball eventually found Riordan who fired the ball into the roof of the net.

The Dons tried to hit back immediately but Severin hit a poor effort wide of the target and four minutes later Clark missed the target from the left hand side of the box. Hibs then carved out an opening on the half hour mark when Rocastle hit an effort over the bar. Anderson then had to leave the field after picking up a nasty knock but fortunately he returned after treatment. Hibs almost added a second in the 35th minute when Hart made a goal line clearance from a Riordan volley as the Dons back three threatened to get over run. Two minutes later Anderson made a rare mistake allowing Riordan in on goal. Fortunately Preece turned the ball round the post. The referee awarded a goal kick and Aberdeen were to take advantage of the decision.

They broke quickly and Mackie showed great persistence to retain the ball before turning and firing past Brown to equalise against the run of play. Heikkinen then had a glimpse of goal in the 44th minute but he got no power behind the shot and Brown saved easily. Then in the final minute Hibs broke and Preece came out of his box to block the ball and after using his hand he was red carded. Despite the arguments that it was ball to arm Preece walked and Pasquinelli was sacrificed to allow Esson on to the park. Hibs failed to capitalise with the free kick then the game exploded again a minute later as O'Connor aimed a kick at Clark and earned only a yellow card for what could only be described as violent conduct.

Ten-man Aberdeen won their first corner of the match in the opening minute of the second half, but the ball failed to beat the first half man and the danger was easily cleared. A minute later Diamond should have put the Dons ahead when he headed a Severin free kick wide of the target when it looked easier to score. The young defender then had to block a Riordan effort at the other end as Hibs looked to capitalise on their number advantage. Hibs had regained control as Mackie was forced to run a lone furrow up front. Chris Clark's direct play won the Dons a corner and some relief in the 57th minute but the Hibs defence were resolute.

Riordan set up another chance on the hour mark as Beuzelin drilled a low shot inches wide of Esson's goal. Aberdeen then went close again a minute later following great work from Mackie. The striker then found Heikkinen inside the box and his effort was blocked by Murray. Aberdeen then fell behind in the 64th minute when O'Connor flicked on a Riordan cross and Glass hammered the ball past Esson. Five minutes later Foster replaced the injured McGuire as Calderwood made sure his team would make every effort to get back into the match. Seconds later Esson pulled off a great save from Caldwell to keep the Dons in the match.

The Ten man Dons were now playing with three up front and two at the back and they almost levelled in the 72nd minute when McNaughton steered a Clark cut back wide of the target. McNaughton broke forward again four minutes later but was halted inside the box allowing the home side to break quickly and win a corner. Seconds later O'Connor was substituted having played 30 minutes more than he should have. With ten minutes remaining Stewart replaced McNaughton in the final roll of the dice. Three minutes later Foster won a free kick on the edge of the box but Brown was able to gather a Clark effort then seconds later Mackie broke but he failed to show composure and hit a poor shot wide.

Diamond was forced to concede a free kick and earn a yellow card in the 84th minute and a minute later Clark won another corner as they tried to force an equaliser. Hibs were looking nervous as the Dons went for broke but huge gaps were opening up at the back as the Dons went for broke. With three minutes remaining Mackie drove forward and forced another corner that was punched clear by Brown. Then in the 90th minute Foster made a lung bursting run and won another corner, which produced a tame penalty claim. The Dons had the bit between their teeth now and were looking to level in the three minutes of injury time. They failed to breakthrough however and can feel unlucky not to get a share of the points.

Hibernian Teamsheet
Brown, Beuzelin, Murray, Caldwell, Glass (Fletcher 89), Murphy, Rocastle, Shiels (Orman 81), Whittaker, O'Connor (Morrow 76), Riordan

Bookings:  O'Connor 45,   Rocastle 61
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Preece, McGuire (Foster 70), Hart, McNaughton (Stewart 80), Anderson, Diamond, Severin, Heikkinen, Mackie, Pasquinelli (Esson 45), Clark.

Unused Subs: Muirhead, Craig, Morrison, Buckley.

Bookings:  Diamond (84),  Preece (45).
Attendance: 13,461
Venue: Easter Road, Edinburgh
Referee: John Rowbotham, Kirkcaldy
The Red Army remember Zerouali at Easter Road today.
1/10
Players and fans pay their respect to the Moroccan player.
2/10
Preece is down quickly to deny O'Connor. The two players were to have a big say on the outcome of this match.
3/10
Anderson denies Riordan on this occasion although the youngster would open the scoring.
4/10
David Preece can't believe he has been sent packing.
5/10
Ex Don Stephen Glass fires in the winner.
6/10
He then celebrates closing the gap on the Dons.
7/10
Both managers shout instructions from the sidelines.
8/10
Phil McGuire limps off the park after picking up a knock.
9/10
Everyone goes for the ball in a frantic end to the match.
10/10