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Aberdeen 0 - 1 Hibernian

HT Score: Aberdeen 0 - 0 Hibernian

Hibernian scorers: O'Connor (90)

08/05/2004 | KO: 15:00

Late strike sinks Dons

Three Dons youngsters made their senior debut today as Aberdeen lost out to a last minute goal. After a low key first half the home side created plenty of chances after the break only to be denied by some great saves from Andersson. The keeper denied Stewart and O'Leary with a couple of magnificent strikes before the Dons were caught with a sucker punch in the final minute when Hibs broke from an Aberdeen corner and O'Connor netted an undeserved winner.

Hibernian made a positive start and O'Connor won a corner for the visitors in the opening minute. The Dons defence cleared the danger and then eased themselves into the match. A Morrison free kick in the 5th minute caused problems for the Hibs defence before Hibs came close to opening the scoring six minutes later. Reid benefited from the break of the ball and went one-on-one with Esson only to be denied by a fine block by the keeper.

An interception by Heikkinen in the 15th minute released Stewart and his return to the Fin saw the Dons win a corner. Once again Hibs coped with another wicked delivery from Morrison but a minute later both Heikkinen and Muirhead went close with shots from the edge of the box. Muirhead tested Andersson again in the 18th minute with a low shot and the keeper had to hold on to the effort with Prunty and Stewart waiting for any spill. The game had settled well without too much being created and long range efforts from Sheerin and Heikkinen was the closest to breaking the deadlock in this period.

A good move on the half hour mark almost gave Stewart his first senior goal for the club. A clever back heel by Sheerin found the young striker and he strode forward only to be denied by a fine block from Andersson. The youngster was prominent again a minute later when he was unlucky not to release Prunty after some good play. A great run by Sheerin in the 39th minute was unceremoniously ended when he was dumped on his pants on the edge of the penalty area. The visitors again cleared another decent delivery from Morrison.

Aberdeen made a very positive start to the second period and O'Leary almost grabbed a sensational debut goal in the 49th minute. He latched on to the end of a Morrison free kick and was only denied when Andersson stretched high to turn his powerful header away. Morrison should have done better in the 52nd minute when he relieved Doumbe of the ball and cut in towards goal. With plenty of options available in the middle the full back fired in a shot, which was easily turned away for a corner. Andersson was the hero a minute later with a double save from Prunty and Heikkinen denying the Dons a deserved lead.

There were loud claims for a penalty kick in the 61st minute when Muirhead found Prunty in the penalty are and his shot was blocked by what looked like a hand. Kenny Clark was not interested despite the protest, but a minute later Andersson kept Hibs in the game again when he denied Foster his first goal after the youngster had stepped inside and hit a fierce shot, which the keeper blocked. The Dons kept the pressure on, but Andersson was in great form as he managed to get his hand to every ball. After creating all the second half chances the Dons almost went behind in the 73rd minute when they failed to clear their lines. Fortunately Brown hit his effort well over the bar.

In the 77th minute Steve Paterson handed Michele Lombardi his debut when he replaced Ricky Foster and four minutes later Murray McCulloch made his debut when he replaced Markus Heikkinen. It was the visitors however who almost grabbed the winner in the 88th minute. An almighty goalmouth scramble ended with O'Connor heading wide. A minute later Muirhead hit a low shot from 20 yards, but once again Andersson made the save to keep the match level. Then in the closing minute another Muirhead shot was deflected wide of the target. From the subsequent corner Hibs broke in numbers and O'Connor fired home the winner from 18 yards for a rather fortunate three points.

Hibernian Teamsheet
Anderson, Zambernardi, Murdock, Brebner, O'Connor, Nicol, Doumbe, Whittaker (McManus 68), Brown, Reid, Caldwell. Unused Subs:

Bookings:  Reid,   Whittaker 61
Attendance: 6,781
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: Kenny Clark, Paisley