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AFC - Match Report
match report 2005-06 fixture list
Aberdeen 3 - 2 Rangers
Kick Off:  2:00 PM   Anderson 30, Lovell 37, Smith 88.       Prso (39), Lovenkrands (49)  
Attendance: 18,182 (Visitors: 3,725)
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Dons back on track as Smith sinks champions

Look out for the highlights on RedTV on Monday.

Aberdeen got their season back on track this afternoon with a hard fought victory over champions Rangers. Having raced into a two-goal lead through goals from Anderson and Lovell the Dons conceded to Prso before the break and allowed Lovenkrands to equalise with a spectacular overhead kick minutes into the second half. The game was then turned around when Ricksen was red carded for a second bookable offence in the 55th minute. Aberdeen then put the visitor's on the rack and were rewarded with a late strike from Jamie Smith.

Aberdeen kicked off and put the visitors under some early pressure with Diamond flicking a Severin throw across the face of the goal in the 2nd minute, but there was no one at the back post to take advantage. Rangers then settled and carved out a similar chance a minute lat the other end, but once again there was no one at the back post. Rangers threatened again in the 5th minute when Fanfan headed a Ferguson free kick well wide of the target. Barry Nicholson collected the first yellow card of the game when a Muirhead error allowed Novo to break. McNaughton blocked the forward but referee Underhill booked Nicholas for the offence.

From the resultant free kick Rangers threatened again and a Ricksen effort was headed off the line before Novo went close with a snapshot seconds later. Some good defending from Rangers was thwarting Aberdeen's attempts and in the 10th minute Lovell was adjudged offside as he looked to threaten while a minute later Ricksen wasted a good free kick opportunity. Diamond made a telling challenge on the edge of the Dons box to deny Novo and a minute later Lovell was once again flagged offside as he rifled a low shot against the upright.

Lovell finally beat the offside trap in the 18th minute when he latched on to an excellent through ball from Dempsey, but the ex Dundee man couldn't bring the ball down and rolled out of play. Rangers won the first corner of the match in the 21st minute but Aberdeen mopped up easily as the game moved from end to end with neither team testing the keeper's at this stage. In the 26th minute Lovenkrands collected a yellow card for a late challenge on Diamond and the young defender was also harshly booked for his reaction. Three minutes later Malcolm collected a booking for a quite shocking challenge on Kevin McNaughton.

As the midfielder left the field for treatment Dempsey swung the ball into the Rangers box. Lovell's effort was blocked before Russell Anderson bravely stuck his head into the danger area and steered the ball into the net. The goal came at a cost as the captain collapsed behind the goal with a head knock but was able to return, to a huge ovation, after some lengthy treatment. The Dons then doubled their lead in the 37th minute when Steve Lovell showed the Dons fans exactly why Jimmy Calderwood chased the Dundee man. He showed great control, turned Malcolm then fired the ball past Waterreus in the Rangers goal.

Unfortunately the Dons failed to hold on to that two-goal advantage as Rangers pulled one back two minutes later. A Ricksen corner found Dado Prso in the middle as he rose unchallenged to head past Esson. Ricksen then collected the fifth yellow of the match for a late challenge on Severin as the match headed to the interval with everything to play for.

Alex McLeish made an immediate change as Steven Thompson replaced Bob Malcolm at the interval. It was the visitor's who made the better start to the second half and Lovenkrands went close in the 47th minute when he fired inches wide of the target. He wasn't to be denied two minutes later when a spectacular overhead kick beat Esson as the Dons defence appeared to stop, believing the ball had gone out of play. The ball hadn't and they were suitably punished. The Dons finally threatened in the 53rd minute when Lovell had an effort blocked before the ball was scrambled clear.

The game then erupted again in the 55th minute when Ricksen was ordered off as he collected his second yellow card for blocking McNaughton in a late challenge. Aberdeen then turned up the heat and Lovell had the ball in the net in the 58th minute but was denied by the assistant referee's flag. Rangers almost went ahead in the 61st minute when Murray steered the ball over the bar. There was a big shout for a penalty in the 66th minute when McNaughton was impeded, but to be fair most of the noise came from the terraces.

Another bad high challenge on Jamie Smith a minute later also went unpenalised as Aberdeen went hunting for a third goal. Anderson slipped a great pass through to Smith in the 71st minute. He beat Rodriguez but failed to get his cross past the keeper. Seconds later McNaughton attacked on the other wing, beat Murray but again Waterreus cut out the threat. Two minutes later Craig replaced Lovell and Ross replaced Lovenkrands and within seconds Aberdeen won a corner as the keeper beat Severin's cross round the post. Ten men Rangers were defending well however as it was one-way traffic towards the Rangers goal.

Foster then replaced Muirhead in the 79th minute and Stewart replaced Dempsey two minutes later as Calderwood looked for the key to unlock the Rangers defence. In the 83rd minute Craig appeared to take an elbow in the face from Fanfan, but once again the referee took no action. Two minutes later Rangers won a corner but it was comfortably cleared from the danger area. Aberdeen were soon back in the attack, but as a great pass was threaded through to Foster he stood on the ball and the opportunity was gone. The goal finally came in the 88th minute and it came from nothing as Jamie Smith collected the ball on the edge of the box, accepted the space he was given and rifled the ball low past Waterreus to earn a deserved winner and end seven years of hurt for the Dons fans.

Match Stats:

Dons Gers
Goal Attempts 3 7
On Target 3 2
Corners 4 3
Possession 45% 55%

Aberdeen Teamsheet:  Esson, McNaughton, Muirhead (Foster 79), Severin, Anderson, Diamond, Smith, Dempsey (Stewart 81), Lovell (Craig 73), Nicholson, Clark.

Unused Subs:

Bookings:  Nicholson (6),  Anderson (26).

Rangers Teamsheet:  Waterreus, Ricksen, Ball, Ferguson, Prso, Novo, Malcolm, Rodriguez, Pierre-Fanfan, Murray, Lovenkrands.

Unused Subs: Thompson for Malcolm (46), Rae for Novo (60), Ross for Lovenkrands (74)

Bookings:  Lovenkrands (26),   Malcolm (29),   Ricksen (42),   Ricksen 55,  Thompson (81)   Ricksen (55)

Referee: John Underhill, Fife

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