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Aberdeen 3 - 2 Dunfermline Athletic

HT Score: Aberdeen 3 - 0 Dunfermline Athletic

Aberdeen scorers: Winters 20 (Pen), Solberg 22, Winters 39.
Dunfermline Athletic scorers: Crawford 69, De Gier 79

20/10/2001 | KO: 15:00

Dons hang in for win

Aberdeen almost managed to throw away a three goal advantage, but did enough to hold on in a nervy second half. Leading 3-0 at half time, it looked like the Dons were in total control. They should have added to their tally before Dunfermline clawed their way back into the match setting up an interesting finish.

There was little action in the opening five minutes, but Winters went close for the Dons a minute later. Dadi won a free kick 20 yards out and Thomson had to scurry across his goal to turn the ball round the post. From the resultant corner, Mackie was close to connecting with Winter's delivery, but the referee had spotted an infringement in the area. The Dons came close to breaking the deadlock in the 17th minute. A strong McNaughton run down the left ended with a neat back heel to Thornley. His cross was bulleted off the upright courtesy of a strong Dadi header.

The Dons did make the breakthrough in the 20th minute. They won a free kick 30 yards out on the far right. Winters stepped up to take the kick and his shot was deflected past keeper Thomson. A minute later Thornley had a free shot at goal, but his finish was weak. The Dons doubled their lead in the 22nd minute when a Winters corner was flicked on by Dadi. Solberg was there at the far post to drive the ball into the net.

In the 34th minute the Dons won another free kick on the edge of the box, but Winters effort was deflected for a corner kick. The resultant corner produced a goalmouth melee before Winters fired in another cross which Dadi headed inches wide of the far post. Dunfermline then had their best chance of the first half in the 38th minute when a Nicholson cross found De Gier in plenty of space. The Pars forward could only screw his effort wide of Esson?s post and Dunfermline were to regret this miss seconds later.

Thornley broke down the left and delivered a cross, which Mackie flicked in to the path of Dadi. As Dadi went to score Rossi pushed him off the ball. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Winters fired in the third and Rossi was booked for his troubles. Ian Ferguson picked up the second yellow card of the match in the 42nd minute of the match after introducing his studs to Eugene Dadi. The Dons could have made it four on the stroke of half time, but Thomson easily held Thornley?s free kick.

Dunfermline came out in the second half determined to try and take something from the game and Dair had a good shot on goal in the 52nd minute, which went inches over Esson?s crossbar. A minute later the Dons were forced to scramble a Dunfermline free kick clear. Aberdeen turned up the heat on the hour mark and should have extended their lead. Mackie?s pace took him clear of the Pars defence and his cross was scrambled clear for a corner. From the set play Winters found Thornley in acres of space and the midfielder curled the ball towards the top corner of the net. Thomson did well to parry the ball for a second corner. From the set play Solberg hit the far post and Dadi hit the roof of the net with the rebound as the visitors struggled to stay in the match.

The Dons should have done better in the 65th minute when Mackie headed a Winters cross wide of the target. A couple of minutes later De Gier looped a header over Esson's bar and in the 68th minute Darren Young hit a spectacular volley wide of Thomson?s left hand post. Dunfermline were thrown a life line a minute later when Crawford hit a low swerving shot beyond Esson. The Pars then went close three minutes later as Nish closed in on Esson. Skovdahl then introduced Derek Young for Dadi, but Dunfermline continued to increase the pressure.

Poor defending in the 79th minute allowed Dunfermline back into the match when De Gier rose unchallenged to head home a Crawford cross. The Dons now had to show what they were made of. Mackie should have sealed the win in the 87th minute when he hit the ball wide from 12 yards in a scene reminiscent of last week at Livingston. The Dons held out though to record their fourth home win in a row.

Aberdeen Teamsheet
Esson, Solberg, McNaughton, Whyte, McGuire, Thornley (Anderson 83), Bisconti (Tiernan 78), Young, Dadi (Young 72), Winters, Mackie.

Unused Subs: Peat, Clark.

Bookings:  McGuire (82).
Dunfermline Athletic Teamsheet
Thomson, Skinner, Skerla, Nicholson (Nish 64), Ferguson (Potter 54), Crawford, De Gier, Petrie, Hampshire, Rossi (Dair 45), Mason Unused Subs: Ruitenbeek, MLeish

Bookings:  Rossi 39,   Ferguson 42,   Petrie 55
Attendance: 11,195
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: Douglas McDonald