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Aberdeen 5 - 1 Kilmarnock

HT Score: Aberdeen 3 - 0 Kilmarnock

Scottish Premiership
Aberdeen scorers: Pawlett 20, O'Connor 30, Hayes 37, McGinn 69, Hayes 85.
Kilmarnock scorers: R McKenzie 77.

06/12/2016 | KO: 19:45

Irish Eyes Are Smiling as Dons Hit Salvo

With The Dons looking to bounce back from double disappointment in Glasgow, Derek McInnes made four changes to the starting line-up. Kilmarnock visited Pittodrie off the back of a commanding 2-0 victory over Dundee at Rugby Park which had sent them into the top six.

Ryan Jack missed the match through suspension with Reynolds, Taylor and Stockley dropping to the bench. Rooney, Pawlett, McGinn and O'Connor replaced them.

Joe Lewis retained his place in goal with a back four of Logan, O'Connor, Considine and Hayes. Shinnie started in front of the defence with Maddison and McLean in front of him. McGinn and Pawlett operated closest to Rooney up front.

The first chance of the match fell to the away side when Frizzell floated the ball across for Coulibaly to attack but Hayes in the left-back position tucked in well to do enough to put the striker off.

It was a miserable night at Pittodrie with relentless rain but from the start, the Dons tried to use the slick surface to their advantage with some quick passing interchanges. Hayes also looked a threat when collecting the ball from deep and driving into the Kilmarnock half.

Kilmarnock were combative and looked to disrupt play when they had the opportunity but had another chance to go on the front foot in the 10th minute. The ball fell for Frizzell 25 yards from goal and he unleashed a powerful drive just over the bar. A few minutes later. Rory McKenzie found space 20 yards out and hit a low shot wide of the post.

In the 16th minute, Pawlett picked the ball up inside the Aberdeen half before spinning away and taking out two Kilmarnock players as he moved into the Kilmarnock half. Unfortunately the ref spotted a foul and failed to play advantage, much to the frustration of most in the stadium.

After 20 minutes, the Dons were in front. Maddison slipped the ball inside to Graeme Shinnie 30 yards from goal and he wound up a strike on his right foot. The shot was heading wide but Pawlett was in the right position 12 yards from goal to slide and divert the ball away from MacDonald and into the bottom corner of the net. It was slightly against the run of play but Pawlett was having a real impact on the match.

Moments later, he picked the ball up in a good area again before feeding the ball to Rooney. The striker pushed it wide for McGinn who skipped past his man before drilling the ball low into the area before it was cleared.

In the 27th minute, a cross was partially cleared, falling to Maddison 25 yards out. The youngster shifted the ball to the left and went down before being booked by Stephen Finnie who deemed there to be no contact, or certainly not enough to merit a free-kick for the Dons.

The Dons soon made it 2-0 though when Maddison rifled a cross into the area for Shinnie to attack. He couldn't get a great connection on it but a kind deflection put the ball towards Pawlett. He managed to get a shot away from six yards which MacDonald saved well, palming the ball up into the air, but unfortunately for the Killie stopper, it fell into the path of O'Connor and he tapped in.

It was not long before Aberdeen made it 3-0 when Hayes drove down the left and into the area before holding off a challenge and slotting the ball past MacDonald at the near post. Hayes had looked a threat all game and it was a fine goal after a trademark run.

The 3-0 scoreline perhaps flattered Aberdeen but they had been clinical and exploited the many gaps that were to be found between the visiting defence and midfield. And there was plenty of space to be found, with Hayes, Pawlett and Maddison finding the ball frequently in dangerous areas. In the 41st minute, it should have been 4-0 when Hayes set-up Maddison one-on-one with MacDonald. He looked for the bottom corner but the keeper was equal to it with a fantastic save to turn the ball behind.

Moments before the half-time whistle, Considine picked up a yellow card after pulling back a blue shirt to stop a Killie counter on the halfway line. 3-0 at half-time and the Pittodrie crowd could only be happy with what they had seen, with the exception of the 111 away supporters who had made the long midweek trip up from Ayrshire.

In the 51st minute, Maddison picked the ball up on the edge of the area and won a free-kick in a central area. The on-loan midfielder took the strike on himself but it was deflected behind for a corner-kick. It was almost his last action of the match before he was replaced by Reynolds.

By this stage, Kilmarnock had made changes of their own as they looked to find a way back into the match but Aberdeen were comfortable enough with sporadic attacks from the away side failing to trouble Lewis. The Dons were looking to add to their lead but couldn't really trouble MacDonald in a quiet start to the half for both keepers.

On 69 minutes, it was 4-0. McGinn cut inside past two men and saw his initial shot deflected into the path of Rooney. The ball then rebounded to McGinn inside the area and he made no mistake to slot the ball into the bottom corner.

After the goal Aberdeen made their second change as Pawlett was replaced by Burns. There was a standing ovation for Pawlett, well deserved on the strength of his first half performance.

Burns almost had an immediate impact too when he drove away from the Kilmarnock midfield with a pacy run before sliding the ball through to McGinn, but unfortunately the winger could not keep the shot down and it went way off target.

The visiting supporters did have something to cheer when Tyson got in behind before squaring the ball for McKenzie who then slotted the ball past Lewis into the empty net in the 77th minute. It was an avoidable goal from an Aberdeen perspective but it was an effective Killie counter-attack which was taken well. After that goal Aberdeen made their final change as Stockley replaced Rooney.

The Kilmarnock goal was a momentary lapse in the Aberdeen procession to victory as they soon restored the four goal advantage in the 86th minute. Hayes raced onto a flick on from Stockley before rounding the keeper and tapping the ball into the net. His second goal earned him the sponsor's man of the match award, well deserved and rounding off a comprehensive victory for Aberdeen.

Next up St Johnstone on Saturday at Pittodrie. A repeat performance would do nicely.
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Lewis, Logan, Shinnie, Considine, O'Connor, McLean, McGinn, Pawlett (Burns 69), Maddison (Reynolds 54), Rooney (Stockley 78), Hayes.

Unused Subs: Taylor, Storie, Storey, Alexander.

Bookings:  Maddison (25),  Considine (44).
Kilmarnock Teamsheet
01.Jamie MacDonald, 05.William Boyle, 16.Scott Boyd, 24.Greg Taylor, 27.Luke Hendrie, 03.Steven Smith, 07.Rory McKenzie, 08.Gary Dicker, 11.Jordan Jones (36.Iain Wilson 46), 19.Souleymane Coulibaly (18.Charlee Adams 73), 21.Adam Frizzell (12.Nathan Tyson 46). Unused Subs: 14.Callum McFadzean, 20.Florent Bojaj, 31.Devlin Mackay, 44.Innes Cameron.

Bookings:  16.Scott Boyd (76)
Attendance: 8,195
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: Stephen Finnie
Next Match
St. Johnstone
28 Feb 2024 / 19:45 / Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen