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Aberdeen 2 - 1 Heart of Midlothian

HT Score: Aberdeen 1 - 0 Heart of Midlothian

SPL Youth 18
Aberdeen scorers: Harvey 27 (Pen), Emslie 53.
Heart of Midlothian scorers: Watson 56 (o.g.)

04/02/2022 | KO: 16:30

U18s battle hard to beat Hearts

Goals from Liam Harvey and Adam Emslie gave the young Dons a battling victory at a bitterly cold Cormack Park.

The Aberdeen youngsters returned to League action as they welcomed Hearts after two tight games between the sides already this season have seen a 2-2 draw at home and a narrow 3-2 loss at Oriam for Barry Robson's team, so another competitive clash was on the cards.

And so it proved in a closely fought first half which the away side dominated in terms of possession. Despite having plenty of the ball, Hearts couldn't fashion any openings although a couple of crosses from McLuckie on the left were just begging for a final touch.

Blessing Oluyemi was alert to the danger on 25 minutes when a poor clearance was seized on by Pollock, but the Hearts man's shot was comfortably dealt with by the keeper.

Two minutes later the Dons broke the deadlock. Skipper Finn Yeats played a nice ball into the area for Alfie Bavidge who turned neatly before being pulled back by Flatman.

A penalty to the Dons, Liam Harvey taking the responsibility to shoot past McFarlane although the keeper got a good hand on the ball. That's an eighth goal in league games for the striker this season.

Cammy Wilson fired over after a fine pass from Finlay Marshall before Tait fired just past from Hearts who really were not taking full advantage of the conditions in the first half being in their favour.

Trialist fired over after a good run from McLuckie as the half time whistle beckoned, the young Dons holding on to their narrow lead at the break.

Half time - Aberdeen 1 Hearts 0

Kai Watson replaced Timi Fatona at the break, the full back having taken a knock late in the opening period.

Six minutes after the interval, it was 2-0 to the Dons as Dylan Lobban pinched the ball in midfield before sending Adam Emslie clear and the winger showed commendable coolness to draw the keeper out before planting the ball into the back of the net to register his third league goal of the campaign.

Hearts were never going to lie down and they got themselves on the scoresheet in rather fortuitous fashion when a cross from Sandilands deflected off the luckless Watson to reduce the deficit to a single goal.

Emslie fired over after creating a shooting chance for himself after cutting in off the right then Yeats fed the ball in for Marshall whose shot was blocked by the Hearts defence.

Despite pushing forward as much as they could, Hearts found the Dons defence in determined mood and chances were kept to a minimum. Indeed Aberdeen came closest to adding to the goals tally on 81 minutes when substitute Taylor Mason broke forward well to create a chance for Bavidge whose shot was well saved by McFarlane.

Although there were a total of seven yellow cards in the game, it was competitive and hard fought rather than an ugly spectacle.

Work rate rather than scintillating football was the order of the night in increasingly difficult conditions and the Dons showed their spirit as they have done all season but ultimately, on this occasion, reaped the rewards as they saw the game out to its successful conclusion.

Next up is a long trip south to face Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Tuesday, kick off at 6pm.

Full time - Aberdeen 2 Hearts 1

Reaction

Barry Robson: "I think we have played some really good stuff this year and lost games. Conditions tonight ruined the match, it was really hard for both teams. It was not a great spectacle with the snow and wind.

"The most pleasing thing for us was that we got the win by working hard.

"Our young players need to know that you are going to have to play games like this in Scotland when the weather is bad. You have to be able to grind out results.

"Towards the end of the first half we came into the game a bit more, and in that first half we were up against the strong wind. It made it difficult. Second half we started strongly and get our second goal. Hearts then take some more chances and get players forward and get a goal back. After that I thought we did well to keep possession and had a few openings on the break.

"It was an even game, but I thought we had the better chances."

Aberdeen Teamsheet
Oluyemi, Bavidge, Yeats, Fatona (Watson 46), McKenzie, Murray, Emslie, Lobban, Harvey, Marshall, Wilson (Mason 69).

Unused Subs: Shingler, Ochmanski, Stewart.

Bookings:  Yeats (41),  Watson (60),  Harvey (64),  McKenzie (83),  Bavidge (87),  Marshall (88).
Heart of Midlothian Teamsheet
McFarlane, Trialist, Aitken, Flatman (C), Tait, Pollock, Thomas (Spence 80), Sandilands, Anderson, Ross (Rathie 56), McLuckie

Unused substitutes: Paris, Chisholm, Forrester, Nair

Bookings:  Flatman 30
Venue: Cormack Park, Aberdeen
Referee: Owen Lawrence