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Aberdeen 2 - 0 Heart of Midlothian

HT Score: Aberdeen 1 - 0 Heart of Midlothian

Aberdeen scorers: Byrne 45, Adams 49.

22/05/2005 | KO: 14:00

Dons bow out with win but miss Europe spot

It was mentioned that Hearts might lie down to Aberdeen but they certainly couldn't be accused of that as Gordon pulled off two world class saves to deny Aberdeen and went out of their way to waste time throughout. By all accounts Rangers and Hibs virtually stopped playing after the visitors scored and neither attempted to add to the scoring. The goals came before and after the break from Byrne and Adams but the woodwork, excellent goalkeeping and some unlucky finishing denied the Dons any more and they miss out on Europe.

Hearts kicked off but Aberdeen showed their cavalier approach straight from the first whistle as they attempted to surge forward in numbers. However it was Hearts that won the first corner in the 3rd minute and it was scrambled clear by the Dons allowing Mackie to break. Unfortunately he was well marshalled and the attack ended. Seconds later Muirhead broke on the left but once again the Hearts defence were strong. Aberdeen were leaving big gaps at the back and Lee Miller was causing problems as he took advantage of the space. McNaughton broke on the right in the 8th minute but after beating the full back he couldn't pull the ball back into the danger area.

A long throw from Severin a minute later was won by Diamond but Gordon was out quick to claim the ball. Despite the positive play there was little goalmouth action and a long-range effort from Byrne in the 13th minute was the first attempt on goal. A minute later Mackie collected a yellow for a late challenge on Neilson. Aberdeen won their first corner in the 19th minute and quickly won a second. Diamond and Byrne appeared to put each other off as Muirhead's effort was steered wide of the target. A minute later Severin headed a Clark corner wide as Aberdeen looked for the elusive opener.

Aberdeen survived a scare in the 23rd minute as they were slow to clear their lines then a minute later Wyness steered a deflected shot wide of the goal. Play then raged to the other end as Aberdeen forced another corner that came to nothing. Efforts from Severin and Diamond failed to make the breakthrough as Hearts comfortably contained anything Aberdeen could throw at them. Hammill then went close on the half hour mark with a clever chip that landed on the top of the net. Aberdeen should have opened the scoring two minutes later when a McNaughton cross was headed towards McGuire and he crashed the ball against the upright. Seconds later Esson flapped at the ball and it was headed off the line.

Jimmy Calderwood had an altercation with the referee in the 34th minute and two minutes later Clark had a dig at goal. Seconds later Sives made a telling challenge as Mackie almost latched on to a McNaughton cross. Then in the 38th minute Aberdeen broke quickly through Muirhead and Mackie turned the ball wide as he stormed into the penalty area with both Gordon and Sives closing him down. A 30-yard effort from Severin was then beaten away by Gordon in the 40th minute as the Dons tried to keep the pace up and the visitors looked to waste time at every opportunity. Two minutes from the break McGuire headed over as Muirhead delivered another telling corner.

The Dons pressure eventually paid off a minute into injury time when Aberdeen won a free kick 25 yards out. Severin deftly delivered the ball into the danger area and Richie Byrne rose between two Hearts defenders to head the ball past Craig Gordon in the Hearts goal and hand the Dons a deserved lead.

Aberdeen introduced Blaha at half time in place of Phil McGuire but it was Hearts who carved out the first chance when Aberdeen target Lee Miller fired inches wide in the 47th minute. The Dons went close to adding a second a minute later when a cross was scrambled clear then the second breakthrough followed seconds later. A Chris Clark corner was headed goalwards by Blaha and Adams steered it into the net. In the 52nd minute Clark made a probing run through the middle before screwing the ball wide of the target. A third should have come in the 54th minute when Muirhead broke on the left and the cross was missed by inches by the on rushing Blaha.

The fans were lifted again in the 58th minute when news filtered through that Rangers had taken the lead at Easter Road. At the same time Byrne drove the ball inches wide then on the hour mark Mackie had a chance but the ball wouldn't sit down for him. Seconds later the ball was deflected wide as Aberdeen put the visitors under severe pressure. Hearts surprisingly continued to waste time at 2-0 down and Hartley had to be spoken to by referee Fyfe. In the 65th minute Diamond headed over before the game hit a quiet spell. Dempsey then replaced Heikkinen in the 71st minute with the Fin getting a standing ovation in his last match.

Another chance went begging in the 75th minute before Diamond went on a run into the box but missed his strikers as his delivery went deep. Two minutes later Gordon made a fantastic save from a McNaughton effort as time started to slip away. Stewart replaced Adams in the 78th minute but the momentum appeared to have slowed and in the 85th minute Hartley was incredibly booked for time wasting at 2-0 down. A minute later Gordon pulled off another great save to once again deny McNaughton. Stewart went close in the dying seconds but despite the win there will be no European place for Aberdeen next season.

Aberdeen Teamsheet
Esson, Byrne, McNaughton, Heikkinen (Dempsey 71), Diamond, McGuire (Blaha 46), Muirhead, Severin, Mackie, Adams (Stewart 78), Clark.

Unused Subs: Macaulay, Considine, Winter, Preece.

Bookings:  Mackie (14).
Heart of Midlothian Teamsheet
Gordon, MacFarlane, Neilson, Hammill, Mikoliunas (McGeown 65), Webster, Hartley, Sives Tierney 78), Wyness, Miller (Elliot 65), Wallace Unused Subs: Macdonald, Thomson, Pelosi, Driver

Bookings:  Sives 26,   Hartley 85
Attendance: 16,155
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: Ian Fyfe, Linlithgow
Today's Match Programme.
Fans head down Merkland Road for today's match.
Fans show their appreciation for the efforts this season.
The players come on to the pitch at the start of the game.
Derek Adams is sent tumbling in his last start for the Dons.
Action from this afternoon's match with Hearts.
Diamond goes close with an effort in the first half.
Darren Mackie is forced away from goal this afternoon.
Ryan Esson shows a safe pair of hands in the first half.
Scott Severin discusses his options with Muirhead and mcNaughton.
Severin choses the correct one as Byrne heads home his free kick.
Diamond and Muirhead celebrate with scorer Byrne.
Adams forces the ball over the line to make it 2-0.
Supporters start to look for divine intervention with the news that Rangers have also scored.
Adams takes another tumble this afternoon.
Diamond has another attempt on goal as the Dons go for more goals.
Blaha plays his last game for the Dons and set up the second goal.
The players thank the fans for their support this season.
Markus Heikkinen signs autographs as he says farewell to Aberdeen.
The crowd acknowledge the players at the end of the match.
A final farewell at the end of a good season for players and fans.