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Heart of Midlothian 1 - 2 Aberdeen

HT Score: Heart of Midlothian 0 - 1 Aberdeen

Scottish Premiership
Heart of Midlothian scorers: E Tavares Cruz da Silva (61)
Aberdeen scorers: Rooney 21, O'Connor 64.

07/05/2017 | KO: 15:00

Rooney Hits 20 as Dons Dampen Main Stand Send-off

The Dons travelled to the last ever match in front of the Min Stand at Tynecastle without skipper Ryan Jack who had picked up an injury. That meant a couple of changes for The Dons as Jack dropped out of the squad completely with Christie dropping to the bench. Their places in the starting line-up were taken by Reynolds and Pawlett.

Around 1,400 members of The Red Army made the trip to the capital as Derek McInnes looked to tighten the grip on second place after Rangers late comeback at Firhill earlier in the day.

It only took three minutes for The Dons to have their first sight of goal. Aberdeen won a free-kick when Pawlett nipped past Hughes before being brought down 40 yards out. From the free-kick the ball found its way to Considine but unfortunately he could not add to his impressive scoring tally as he headed the ball wide of the post.

In the opening stages it was Aberdeen who were looking to make the play without really creating much more. Joe Lewis had to be off his line quickly in the 14th minute to clear up a Hearts counter-attack but generally most of the match at this point was about crunching tackles and the battle for the middle of the park.

In the 17th minute Niall McGinn had his first action of the game as he drove down the left and into the box, he skipped past his man before seeing a shot to the near post palmed away for a corner. Hearts dealt with the first delivery before Aberdeen were given a second opportunity to deliver from the corner. This time Hayes had too much on the cross and Considine had to re-build, the ball worked its way across the park and Hayes was brought down for a free-kick but his delivery was low this time and ricocheted off Rooney for a goal-kick.

The Dons were on top and got a break in the 21st minute when a speculative drive from Pawlett was palmed into the path of Rooney and the striker made no mistake from 9 yards out to send Aberdeen in front. Jack Hamilton should have done better but full marks must go to Rooney for following Pawlett's effort in and being in a position to take advantage.

A couple of minutes later Hearts were on the front foot and won a throw-in deep in the Aberdeen half, Joe Lewis was there to prevent the throw being taken early and picked up a yellow card for his efforts.

Moments later Hearts had their first effort of the match when Walker was on the end of a free-kick from Tziolis but his header flew wide of the post.

Pawlett was making the most of his start defending from the front at every opportunity, he stole the ball in the middle of the park before striding past Buaben, the stand-in centre half picked up a yellow card for his efforts to stop him after he managed to get a cross away but it was away from Rooney.

The MK Dons bound midfielder was once again on the front foot to win a corner which was delivered in the direction of Taylor, the defender got a good connection on the ball but it trickled well wide after a deflection.

Hearts had their first corner of the match in the 35th minute after Shinnie blocked a through ball. Nowak was up for the challenge but his header wound up comfortably over the bar. The defender took a knock from the incident but was able to get back on his feet and resume play.

The home side were starting to work their way into the match with a sustained period of possession in the Aberdeen half but they didn't get a chance to trouble Lewis thanks to some dogged defending. Hayes managed to relieve the pressure skipping by Walker who chose to stop the counter-attack early with a challenge that earned him a yellow card.

In the final minute of the first half McGinn had time to pick out Rooney in the box and this time Hamilton was in position to tip the header over the bar, it was a good save but ultimately didn't mean anything as Rooney was offside. There was still time for Hearts to win their second corner of the match and the eventual cross was in a good area but there were no marron jersey's in a position to attack it.

HALF-TIME Hearts 0-1 Aberdeen

At half-time Derek McInnes made one change as Pawlett, who may have taken a knock, was replaced by O'Connor. O'Connor took up a position in front of the defence with Shinnie pushing forward into Pawlett's place.
Hamilton was called into action once again 5 minutes into the half when McGinn hit a half volley from a wide area towards goal, the keeper palmed the ball out to a central area but Shinnie was unable to strike the ball cleanly as his right footed effort trickled wide of the post.

The Dons were back on the counter-attack after Lewis claimed a cross and sent McGinn away down the left, the ball eventually made its way across to Hayes who cut inside on his left foot before dragging a shot wide of the near post.

It was an open start to the second half and Hearts soon had a chance of their own when Sowah fired the ball across the six yard area, Djoum found himself less than six yards from goal but could not direct the ball goalwards, it was a great opportunity and a let off for Aberdeen.

Lewis was called into action with the next attack when he had to collect a cross at the second attempt after close attention from Goncalves. It was time for The Dons to take a breather.

Unfortunately the lead would only last for another few minutes as Hearts equalised in the 61st minute. The home side worked the ball down the right and Smith curled a ball into the six yard box which was met by Goncalves, his header may have taken a deflection before going past Lewis and into the net. The home side were in the ascendancy and with 30 minutes of the match remaining it was all to play for.

What sort of response would we see from The Dons? We didn't have to wait too long for the answer.

Aberdeen earned a free-kick on the left which was floated high into the area by Hayes and it was the substitute O'Connor who rose highest to head the ball into the top corner of the net from 12 yards. What a response from The Dons!

Some aggressive forward play from Rooney made something of a nothing ball when he dispossessed Buaben before finding McGinn, he burst into the area but couldn't produce with the strike which is over the bar. Moments later Cowie was replaced by Ian Cathro and it didn't go down well with the home support who jeered the substitution, the mood had changed back in Aberdeen's favour in a matter of minutes with the travelling support now in fine voice.

As the match moved into the last 20 minutes McGinn was released down the left once again after a long ball from Taylor. He took his time before a measured cross found Shinnie in the area but his header frustratingly ended up the wrong side of the post.

With one goal in the game Hearts were still in it and soon one of their substitutes, Johnsen, found space in the area after good midfield play from Tziolis. Johnsen's strike was powerful and goal bound before deflecting off Reynolds and going wide of the post. In the 78th minute Considine won a free-kick in a good area on the left after being fouled by Walker. This time it was McGinn who delivered the cross which was too close to Hamilton.

With less than ten minutes of normal time remaining Aberdeen had a chance to put the game beyond doubt when McLean set McGinn racing over the halfway line, he clipped the ball wide for Hayes and his delivery found Rooney who did well to bring the ball under control with his back to goal. His strike went across the face of the goal and just the wrong side of the post, there was still work to be done.

With five minutes remaining Rooney was replaced with Stockley and could be pleased with his work after scoring the opening goal and posing a constant threat to the Hearts defence.

In the 88th minute Reynolds picked up a yellow card after getting the better of Smith in a 50/50 challenge, it was a strong tackle but a harsh booking. It looked as if an aerial bombardment would follow for The Dons but with a few minutes remaining Walker was late in a challenge on Shinnie and picked up his second yellow card to reduce the home side to ten men.

Perhaps surprisingly only two minutes of injury time were given and The Dons defended them well to restore their nine point lead over Rangers with just three matches remaining. It was a spirited performance from the Aberdeen side who showed real spirit once again to bounce straight back and spoil the party for the hosts. It was the second victory over Hearts at Tynecastle this season and ensured that The Dons would remain unbeaten against The Jambos over the course of the campaign.
Heart of Midlothian Teamsheet
01.Jack Hamilton, 05.Aaron Hughes, 08.Prince Buaben Abankwah, 19.Krystian Nowak, 04.Alexandros Tziolis, 10.Arnaud Sutchuin-Djoum, 15.Don Cowie (20.Bjorn Johnsen 68), 27.Andraz Struna (24.Liam Smith 46), 46.Lennard Sowah (16.Mohamed El Ouriachi 57), 07.Jamie Walker, 77.Esmaƫl Ruti Tavares Cruz da Silva. Unused Subs: 06.Perry Kitchen, 13.Viktor Noring, 30.Rory Currie, 88.Malaury Martin.

Bookings:  08.Prince Buaben Abankwah (27),   07.Jamie Walker (44).   07.Jamie Walker (90).
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Lewis, Logan, Shinnie, Considine, Taylor, Reynolds, McLean, Rooney (Stockley 85), McGinn, Hayes, Pawlett (O'Connor 46).

Unused Subs: Christie, Wright, Ross, Storey, Alexander.

Bookings:  Lewis (23),  Reynolds (88).
Attendance: 16,522
Venue: Tynecastle, Edinburgh
Referee: Willie Collum
Next Match
10 Jul 2024 / 19:00 / Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead