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AFC - Match Report
match report 2005-06 fixture list
Heart of Midlothian 1 - 0 Aberdeen
Kick Off:  7:45 PM   Hartley (54)        
Attendance: 17,327
Venue: Tynecastle, Edinburgh
Dons Euro dream ends with Hartley spot kick
Aberdeen's European dream died at Tynecastle this evening as a Paul Hartley spot kick gave Hearts the win. Despite initial thoughts that Zander Diamond had handled on the line our picture reveals (see news item)that it was actually Russell Anderson. Aberdeen never looked like getting level and when Severin was shown a straight red card ten minutes from time the dream was over. It had been a great run to get into this position, but at the end of the day it wasn't to be enough. The Dons now finish the season with a home match against Celtic and they will still be looking to claim fourth spot even if it does not bring a UEFA cup place.

The matched kicked off in a cauldron of noise and in the second minute McNaughton released Lovell but Gordon was out quickly to clear and Hearts immediately broke up field with only a poor finish by Jankauskas denying the home side. As that particular attack began Jamie Smith picked up a knock after a heavy challenge from Paul Hartley. The midfielder returned after some lengthy treatment and three minutes later Anderson was penalised for a similar solid challenge. Aberdeen were matching the home side in all departments and pushing forward whenever possible but they were finding the Hearts defence Solid.

Hearts then won a free kick in the 9th minute after some theatrics from Fyssas but Langfield was quick to claim Hartley's delivery. A minute later Foster broke on the wing at pace but Gordon beat Lovell to the cross. Hearts then broke in the 11th minute but once again it was a poor effort from Cesnauskis that failed to test Langfield. Lovell had the ball in the net after 14 minutes but he was well offside. The Dons were getting little from Mr Dougal as high feet from Jankauskas failed to attract a free kick allowing Hearts to win a long throw that was once again dealt with comfortably by Langfield.

Hearts then won the first corner of the match in the 22nd minute but Anderson was first to the ball and Crawford completed the clearance. Lovell was then denied by a tight offside call a minute later before the home side broke again and won a dangerous free kick 30 yards from goal. Hartley delivered a decent ball, but Severin defended Pressley well and the ball floated out for a goal kick. A mistake from Diamond almost allowed Hearts in after 27 minutes but Anderson was quick to help his colleague out of trouble. After a blood and thunder start the game had become ragged with little good passing football on display.

Aberdeen suffered a blow in the 34th minute when Lovell had to be replaced by Mackie after he had picked up a knock. A minute later a dangerous ball was headed clear for Hearts second corner but once again the Dons defence dealt comfortably with the threat. The home side then went very close in the 37th minute when Hartley escaped McNaughton for the first time and delivered a cross that Skacel failed to steer into an empty net. A minute later Crawford latched on to an Anderson flick before firing into the side netting and picking up a knock in the process.

At the other end Skacel drilled a shot wide of the post as Aberdeen looked to deny the home side a first half goal. A feat not many sides have achieved at Tynecastle this season. Jamie Smith won the Dons first corner of the match in the 42nd minute and a good delivery from the same player produced a quick second. Byrne reached Nicholson's attempt but couldn't get over the ball to steer it on target. Hearts turned up the heat in the closing minutes but Langfield calmed things as he comfortably handled a Bednar effort.

After the break Hearts threatened early on as they peppered the Dons penalty area with a couple of long throws before Byrne burst out before losing control as he stormed towards the Hearts goal. Aberdeen were certainly on the back foot in the opening minutes but stood firm under the onslaught. Foster then broke in the 49th minute before losing out to Neilson, who in turn released Skacel and set up Cesnauskis for another chance. A massive goalmouth scramble in the 52nd minute almost produced an opener then seconds later Hearts won a penalty when Anderson handled the ball as another long throw was flicked goalward.

Once the dust had settled Hartley bulleted the ball past Langfield for what would prove to be the winning goal. Hearts were lifted by the goal and continued to surge forward. Then in the 56th minute Diamond picked up a nasty looking injury after a challenge with Skacel. Fortunately he recovered then Langfield almost let Bednar in after slipping but again no damage was done. Aberdeen then forced their way forward and won a free kick, but failed to threaten Gordon. Cesnauskis threatened again in the 63rd minute before the ball was scrambled clear as the Dons struggled to get forward.

Diamond had never really recovered from the earlier injury and was replaced by Dempsey in the 66th minute. However it was the home side who continued to dictate the play but a free kick in the 70th minute produce the Dons first corner of the second half and as Aberdeen appealed for a soft hand ball Hearts broke up field only to be denied by some superb play from Kevin McNaughton. Gordon gathered another Severin throw in the 73rd minute at the second attempt as Aberdeen looked for a way back into the match. Hearts then broke quickly and brought out the best in Langfield as his save kept Aberdeen in the match.

Three minutes later Mikoliunas went close as his shot was deflected wide of the target with Hearts looking to seal the win. Controversy raged in the 80th minute when Scott Severin was handed a straight red card for a challenge on Aguiar. The decision appeared harsh and effectively ended the Dons chances of levelling the match. Hearts appeared happy with their lot and were happy to hold on to their one goal advantage despite the extra man. In the final seconds Nicholson had half a chance before an offside flag halted play.

Match Stats:

Hearts Dons
Goal Attempts 7 3
On Target 3 1
Corners 4 3
Possession 55% 45%

Heart of Midlothian Teamsheet:  Gordon, Neilson, Pressley, Tall, Fyssas, Cesnauskis, Hartley, Aguiar, Skacel, Bednar, Jankauskas.

Unused Subs: Mikoliunas for Skacel (66), Pospisil for Bednar (88), Brellier for Aguiar (90)


Aberdeen Teamsheet:  Langfield, Byrne, Diamond (Dempsey 66), Nicholson, Anderson, Severin, Smith, Foster, Lovell (Mackie 34), Crawford, McNaughton.

Unused Subs:

Bookings:  Anderson (53),  Mackie (89),  Severin (80).

Referee: Stuart Dougal

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