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Aberdeen 5 - 2 Heart of Midlothian

HT Score: Aberdeen 2 - 1 Heart of Midlothian

Scottish Premier Reserve League
Aberdeen scorers: Dangana 4 (Pen), Campbell 14, Dangana 46, Campbell 64, Shanks 91.
Heart of Midlothian scorers: Keena 29, Currie 85

18/02/2019 | KO: 14:00

The Young Dons kicked off back to back clashes with Hearts in a League encounter at Cove, hoping to gain a psychological advantage ahead of next week's Reserve Cup semi-final meeting in Edinburgh. Aberdeen fielded a very young side while the visitors ranks boasted a number of players who have seen first team action in recent weeks.

Aberdeen won a penalty in the 4th minute when Ethan Ross was pulled down by keeper Mason on the edge of the area. David Dangana converted well from the spot to notch his second league goal of the season.

Hearts skipper Petkov was booked for a foul on Ross on 10 minutes as the Tynecastle outfit found it hard to contain their less experienced opponents. It had been a promising start to the game from the Dons.

Smith had Hearts' first effort at goal on 12 minutes, his shot from 18 yards just going too high. The Dons doubled their advantage two minutes later when skipper Dean Campbell fired home from 20 yards, his left-footed strike arrowing into the keeper's bottom left corner. The promising start was getting better by the minute!

The Dons were zipping the ball around nicely with Hearts unable to create anything in the attacking third. Ethan Ross again looked lively and was unfortunate to lift his shot just too high after cutting in from the left.

Midway through the half Dean Campbell took a knock after a challenge in the middle of the park but the healing hands of George Good did the needful and the captain was able to resume.

Fine defending from Lloyd Robertson snuffed out the danger after a burst into the box from Garuccio as Hearts looked to find a way back into the game. A dangerous cross from Wighton caused some consternation in the box but a timely intervention from Miko Virtanen cleared the danger.

The visitors opened their account on 29 minutes when Smith's through ball found Keena who lifted the ball over Craddock to score.

David Craddock produced a fine save to deny Keena's free kick from 25 yards as Hearts pushed for an equaliser. The visitors were now in the ascendancy and a cleverly worked free-kick routine almost saw Keena sneak a shot in at the near post.

Smith picked up a booking on 43 minutes for kicking the ball away at an Aberdeen free-kick. The Dons were nearly in for a third goal when Ross and Dangana combined, but a fine challenge on the edge of the box from Baur saved the young Jambos.

A very entertaining first half which saw the Dons roar into an early two goal lead before Hearts pegged a goal back to ensure a hard fought second period.

Half time - Aberdeen 2 Hearts 1

The Dons made a stunning start to the second half, a flowing move featuring Virtanen, Brown and Antoniazzi ended with David Dangana turning the ball in to the net with the aid of a deflection from Garuccio. A goal which had the watching management team of Derek McInnes and Tony Docherty in raptures.

Hearts made a switch on 56 minutes, Smith coming off to be replaced by Henderson. The visitors were seeing plenty of the ball, but Aberdeen's defensive discipline was excellent.

Garuccio had an opportunity on 62 minutes when Vanacek headed the ball into his path, the Australian snatching at the shot and pulling the ball well wide.

The visitors were made to pay for that miss two minutes later when Dean Campbell rifled a left foot shot past Mason from 18 yards, the ball again taking a deflection off a Hearts defender en route for the back of the net.

Rory Currie was called off the bench for Hearts on 66 minutes, replacing the totally ineffective Vanecek, while the Dons first change saw Lewis Duncan on to replace the impressive Ethan Ross for the final twenty minutes.

Hearts were becoming increasingly desperate in their efforts to claw their way back into the game, a shot from Irving going high and wide when a pass may have been the better option.

Aberdeen were operating superbly as a unit to ensure Hearts were unable to put any serious pressure on David Craddock's goal.reserves

The tireless Connor Barron was withdrawn on 76 minutes, Tyler Mykyta coming on to bolster the home engine room.

The Dons missed a great opportunity to go further ahead when subs Mykyta and Duncan combined, the latter dragging his shot wide. Kieran Shanks came on for Chris Antoniazzi with eight minutes left on the clock.

Currie pulled a goal back for Hearts in the 85th minute when he turned in a Burns cross, the supplier of the goal being booked a minute later for dissent.

Hearts were then reduced to ten men when Baur saw red for an off the ball kick at Shanks. Irving was then booked on 89 minutes after an illegal challenge on Mykyta as the visitors completely lost their discipline.

The Dons rounded off a fantastic showing by grabbing a fifth goal in injury time as Kieran Shanks was played in by Dangana to round Mason and roll the ball in.

A brilliant display from the young Dons, probably their best of the season, sees them notch five against next week's Reserve Cup semi-final opponents.

Aberdeen Teamsheet
Craddock, Virtanen, Robertson, Campbell, Power, Turner, Brown, Barron (Mykyta 76), Dangana, Ross (Duncan 70), Antoniazzi (Shanks 82).

Unused Subs: Ritchie.
Heart of Midlothian Teamsheet
Mason, Garuccio, Burns, Petkov (C), Baur, Irving, Edwards, Smith (Henderson 56), Vanecek (Currie 66), Wighton, Keena

Unused substitutes: Silva (GK), Ritchie, Hickey, Logan, Gajda

Bookings:  Petkov 10,   Smith 43,   Burns 86,   Irving 89  Baur 87
Venue: Balmoral Stadium, Cove
Next Match
Ross County
19 May 2024 / 15:00 / Victoria Park, Dingwall