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Aberdeen 2 - 0 Livingston

HT Score: Aberdeen 1 - 0 Livingston

SPL
Aberdeen scorers: McNaughton 45, Whelan 59.

19/02/2005 | KO: 15:00

Dons back to winning ways

Aberdeen ran out easy winners today without ever looking impressive in a turgid affair at Pittodrie. After a poor first half McNaughton grabbed a vital goal on the stroke of half time. Whelan added a second after the interval and apart from a Horvath effort that crashed off the bar the Dons were never in any danger from a Livingston side that looks increasingly doomed to first division football next season. With Hearts slipping up at Fir Park both Aberdeen and Motherwell closed on the Edinburgh side and keep in touch with Hibs who had a comfortable home win.

Aberdeen started the match positively and settled into a decent passing game without threatening the visitor's goal. McNaughton produced the first shot on goal when he fired in a low drive in the 7th minute but Meldrum comfortably held the 20-yard effort. Stewart won the first corner of the match in the 11th minute and as the ball was half cleared Morrison hit a vicious drive that was cleared off the goal line by Burton O'Brien. Seconds later Mackie had the ball in the net but was clearly offside.

A Scott Morrison free kick in the 16th minute deceived everyone and Meldrum had to get down quickly to smother the ball as Whelan threatened. Livingston were forced into a change in the 21st minute when Brittain was stretchered off and replaced by Adam. Mackie was unlucky in the 25th minute when he latched on to a long ball and controlled it with one touch. Unfortunately he was outnumbered and the ball was scrambled clear. This was not proving to be the most entertaining 45 minutes ever witnessed at Pittodrie with goal scoring opportunities as sparse as the grass on the ground.

A quickly taken corner by McNaughton in the 35th minute was easily cleared and seconds later Horvath tried to take advantage of Esson being well off his line but he steered the ball well wide of the target. Mackie tried to set up Stewart in the 40th minute but the ball tamely floated over his head and out of play. Two minutes later Stewart set up Whelan but the ball was trapped in a sea of legs six yards from goal and Meldrum was able to collect the ball from the ruck. The Dons finally broke the deadlock in the final minute when Kevin McNaughton went scampering down the right, cut inside and curled a shot beyond Meldrum to give the Dons a precious lead.

The second half followed a similar pattern to the opening 45 minutes before John Stewart won a corner in the 53rd minute but an infringement brought that attack to an end. Livingston were more adventurous but the patchy surface did little to assist either side. Aberdeen doubled their advantage in the 59th minute when Mackie hit the bye line on the right and found Whelan in the centre. The Englishmen rose above the defence to head past Meldrum for his second goal for the club. A minute later Livi won a free kick on the edge of the Dons box but Wilson hit the ball well over the bar. Calderwood introduced Byrne and Clark for Morrison and Winter in the 70th minute.

Stewart should have made it three in the 73rd minute but headed a Whelan cross over the bar from 8 yards and a minute later McMenamin hit a shot wide as Livi tried to find a life line. They almost did in the 81st minute when a break on the right produced an overhead kick from Horvath. Esson could do little but watch as the effort came crashing off the crossbar and bounced to safety. A minute later Stewart hit a good effort wide before Foster replaced Whelan. In the final minute Zander Diamond converted a well worked move but his celebrations were brought to a premature end by the assistant referee's flag.

Aberdeen Teamsheet
Esson, Hart, Morrison (Byrne 70), Heikkinen, Diamond, Anderson, Stewart, Winter (Clark 70), Mackie, Whelan (Foster 83), McNaughton.

Unused Subs: Craig, Adams, Blanchard.
Livingston Teamsheet
Meldrum, Bahoken (Stanic 36), Strong, McNamee, Deloumeaux, O'Brien, Horvath, Lilley, Brittain (Adam 21), Hand (McMenamin 70), Wilson Unused Subs:
Attendance: 9,214
Visitors:131
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: John Robotham, Kirkcaldy
Today's Match Programme.
1/14
Noel Whelan in the thick of the action at Pittodrie.
2/14
Russell Anderson keeps an eye on the ball today.
3/14
John Stewart makes a challenge in the match against Livi.
4/14
Kevin McNaughton opens the scoring at Pittodrie.
5/14
McNaughton then celebrates with Heikkinen and Winter.
6/14
Scott Morrison gets set to make a challenge.
7/14
Jimmy Calderwood and Richard Gough look on in the sunshine.
8/14
Zander Diamond makes a challenge as Heikkinen looks on.
9/14
Noel Whelan turns away after netting the second goal.
10/14
Winter congratulates Whelan.
11/14
Noel gives the crowd the thumbs up after making it 2-0
12/14
John Stewart is held off the ball at Pittodrie today.
13/14
Michael Hart in action at Pittodrie today.
14/14