Aberdeen had Joe Lewis to thank for a quite brilliant save in the opening stages, but after a slow start they began to impose themselves on proceedings and were rewarded on 25 minutes when Sam Cosgrove scored from close range after a really well worked move. That was the big striker?s tenth goal of the season. Just before the interval they wasted a good chance on the break to add a second which would probably have been deserved for their domination of the first half.
They continued to dominate in the second period and made the game safe with two goals around the hour mark. The first was a brilliant solo effort from Cosgrove, picking the ball up near the half way line and then running towards goal before thumping a shot past Fulton. Then from a May corner Cosgrove looked to have grabbed his hat-trick but Lewis Ferguson on the line got the final touch. Hamilton simply could not deal with big Sam.
For the trip to Hamilton, manager Derek McInnes brought Stevie May into the starting XI in place of Niall McGinn who dropped to the bench. There was also a place amongst the subs for Tommie Hoban, his first inclusion since the game at Easter Road in the middle of August.
Accies had new arrivals Tony Andreu and Steve Davies in their line up, offering more of an attacking threat.
The last time Aberdeen won at this venue was back in 2015 ? so that is four league games where they have failed to register a win. Hopefully the new artificial pitch would bring more luck than they had on the last plastic surface.
The game kicked off in dry but very cold conditions. Within the first 15 seconds Sam Cosgrove had a header on target but it was easily held by Ryan Fulton. The opening stages were littered with lots of fouls.
In the 8th minute Accies had a two on two but Miller was caught offside and then Mackay-Steven was forced to give away the first corner of the game after a neat move involving Andreu. The ball saw Matt Kilgallon have a free header and he looked certain to score until Lewis produced a quite outstanding save, tipping the ball onto the bar.
Aberdeen slowly came into the game and on 15 minutes Max Lowe won a free kick after a run from deep. The ball in the area was punched clear by keeper Fulton. They won another free kick in a more central position when Ziggy Gordon took out Stewart. It should have been a yellow card. The ball was squared to Logan and his shot fell into the path of Stevie May, the striker though was unable to do much with it. Mackay-Steven then put a shot over the bar as the visitors started to impose themselves a bit more.
Then on 25 minutes Aberdeen took the lead. Cosgrove got up well on the half way line to chest the ball down to GMS. He played it to Stewart, who showed quick feet to nutmeg his marker and then Shinnie sprayed the ball wide to Lowe who in turn passed it along the line to May. Stevie, playing in a wide position tonight, put over a great cross which picked out Cosgrove. His first header saw him almost knock the ball down for himself as he was able to then swing his left foot at the ball and Sam found the corner of the net with a slightly mishit shot. Not his greatest ever goal but a vital one! The keeper certainly had no chance.
The Dons then had a really good spell but were unable to make the final pass count. Om 33 minutes another cross from the left, this time by GMS who had swapped wings with May, found Cosgrove again in space between the two defenders. The big striker tried to chest the ball down when he might have been better putting a header towards goal.
Aberdeen were by now zipping the ball about nicely and looking in control. GMS won the Dons first corner in the 37th minute but the referee spotted an infringement as the ball came over. On 41 minutes Mickel Miller was replaced by Steven Boyd after picking up a knock.
Then a great chance for the second when on the break Stewart had acres of space to run into. He weighed up his options ? he had Cosgrove inside him ? but decided to miss him out and play in GMS. Gary should have been able to work a shooting chance but after a strong first touch a defender was able to recover the situation.
Aberdeen could not add to their lead but will have gone in at the interval happy with their work in the first forty-five minutes.
Half time: Hamilton Accies 0 Aberdeen 1
At the start of the second half Boyd managed to get a shot away but it was always heading wide. Lewis then did well to cut out a dangerous long cross.
Shay Logan was booked for a late tackle on 51 minutes.
On 52 minutes, after Hamilton had enjoyed a wee spell of pressure Cosgrove grabbed a second, and what a brilliant goal it was. Mackay-Steven won the ball inside his own area and played a long ball forward for Cosgrove. Sam got inside his marker and then powered towards goal before hammering a low shot across Fulton into the net. The keeper knew where it was going but could get nowhere near the shot.
Four minutes later it was game over. Max Lowe won a corner on the left. May?s ball in was met brilliantly by Cosgrove and his header looked to be going in. There was a defender on the line so Lewis Ferguson made sure by getting the final touch. The Hamilton defence had absolutely no answers for Cosgrove.
Shortly after that Steve Davies was replaced by James Keatings. On 73 minutes Cosgrove was replaced by Scott Wright.
The 1071 Aberdeen fans amongst the 2104 crowd were able to enjoy the final 15 minutes as the Dons knocked the ball about. Scott Wright almost added a fourth after a neat run but his curling shot almost found the far corner. On 77 minutes Lewis Ferguson picked up a yellow card for a foul on Andreu.
On 81 minutes Stevie May was replaced by Stephen Gleeson. At the same time Tom Taiwo came off for Scott Martin. Within seconds the Accies sub was booked for pulling down Ferguson as Aberdeen threatened to break. On 88 minutes Lewis was replaced by Dom Ball. Some credit should go to Hamilton as they worked hard to ensure the scoreline did not get any bigger.
The game petered out in the closing stages, and despite a slow start, this was a very comfortable win for the Dons and sets up a really big game on Saturday against Kilmarnock.