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AFC - Match Report
match report 2001-02 fixture list
Aberdeen 3 - 2 Heart of Midlothian
Kick Off:  3:00 PM   Dadi 17, Winters 31 (Pen), Young 68.       Fulton (16), Adam (46)  
Attendance: 13,883 (Visitors: 899)
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Dons make it five in a row at Pittodrie
Aberdeen picked up another three points at Pittodrie to record their fifth home SPL win in a row. The game was full of controversy and ended with three red cards and six yellow cards being shown. Goals from Dadi, Winters and Derek Young earned the win, but it could have been more as the Dons took control in the closing 25 minutes. Hearts in a slump or the Dons on the ascendancy? Probably a bit of both, but there could be no arguing with the fact that the combination of team and home crowd were beginning to make Pittodrie a bit of a fortress again.

Aberdeen kicked off in the autumn sunshine and forced the first corner of the match in the 3rd minute. The Dons tried their "follow the leader" system, but Hearts cleared the danger. Peter Kjaer was given his first test in the 5th minute following a good run by Mahe, Flogel hit a powerful drive from 20 yards, which Kjaer gathered at the second attempt. There were halfhearted claims for a penalty in the 8th minute when Fuller went down under a Solberg challenge, but the referee was not impressed.

The Dons went close in the 15th minute when McNaughton and Thornley combined on the left. Thornley swung in the cross and Mackie headed inches wide. The game sprung to life a minute later when Hearts were awarded a very soft free kick on the right. Fulton swung the ball in and Kjaer appeared to misjudge the ball as it bounced in front of him and into the net. It didn't take the Dons long to get back on level terms however as a minute later Dadi headed home from close range after a Winters shot had crashed off the crossbar.

Kjaer made up for his earlier error with a fine save in the 25th minute when Mahe swung in a free kick from the left and McKenna rose unchallenged to head towards goal. A minute later Solberg did well to break up a promising Hearts attack. At this stage the Dons were getting few breaks from the officials' decisions. This changed in the 31st minute when the referee awarded the Dons a penalty when McKenna was adjudged to have brought down Thornley. Winters made no mistake from the spot.

The game then erupted into controversy in the 33rd minute. The referee awarded the Dons a free kick wide on the left when the linesman then drew his attention to an incident between Thornley and Maybury where Thornley appeared to aim a kick at Maybury after a hefty challenge. After a discussion between the officials, Thornley was red carded and the free kick was given the other way. There then followed a spate of yellow cards in the next five minutes as every physical challenge was adjudged to be illegal. Tiernan had a chance to extend the lead in the 44th minute from a Dadi cut back. The youngster didn't hit the ball firmly enough and Niemi gathered.

Half Time: Aberdeen 2 Hearts 1

The 10 man Dons got off to the worst possible start in the second half when Stephane Adam equalised in the 46th minute after latching on to a Fuller pass. Aberdeen looked to have regained the lead in the 50th minute through a Solberg header, but once more the referee had noticed an infringement. Derek Young replaced Mackie in the 55th minute after the youngster picked up a knock. Hearts were making the extra man count and the Dons had to fight hard for every ball. The sides were evened up in the 58th minute when Flogel followed Thornley to the dressing room when he picked up his second yellow card for a late challenge on McGuire.

The Dons were beginning to come more into the match and there were mild appeals for a penalty when Whyte stumbled inside the box. Solberg swung in a dangerous cross in the 64th minute, which Niemi gathered at the feet of Winters. A minute later Zerouali replaced the impressive Dadi. The Dons regained the lead in the 68th minute and it was a family affair. McNaughton teased the Hearts defence on the left before crossing. Darren Young headed the ball back across the goal and brother Derek was on hand to head home.

Hicham Zerouali showed lovely skill in the 71st minute to control the ball, but unfortunately couldn't get his shot on target. A minute later Darren Young headed over from a Winters corner. Aberdeen were dominating the play now, but were still looking for another goal to create a bit of breathing space. Zerouali almost provided that in the 76th minute when he headed inches wide from a Derek Young cross. The Dons went close again in the 81st minute with a lightning break. The Hearts defence managed to get back in time though to block Zerouali's effort.

In the closing minutes, which included five minutes of injury time, Aberdeen broke time after time. Unfortunately the final ball into the box was not good enough for the Dons to seal the win. Zerouali should have finished it in the dying minutes when he was one on one with Niemi. However, the keeper made a fine save. Weir was shown a straight red card in the dying seconds to leave only nineteen players on the park.

Aberdeen Teamsheet:  Kjaer, Solberg, McNaughton, Whyte, McGuire, Tiernan (Anderson 81), Thornley, Young, Dadi (Zerouali 65), Winters, Mackie (Young 55).

Unused Subs:

Bookings:  Young (35),  Dadi (38),  Thornley.

Heart of Midlothian Teamsheet:  Niemi, Maybury, Mahe, Pressley, McKenna, Flogel, Adam, Fuller, Fulton, Webster, Simmons.

Unused Subs: Boyack for Fulton (72), Wales for Fuller (72), Weir for Adam (85)

Bookings:  Flogel 35,   Fulton 36,   Flogel 58,   Simmons 82,   Mahe 87   Flogel 58,   Weir 94

Referee: Mr. Ian Fyfe

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