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Aberdeen 1 - 2 Dunfermline Athletic

HT Score: Aberdeen 1 - 1 Dunfermline Athletic

Aberdeen scorers: Zdrilic 23.
Dunfermline Athletic scorers: Brewster 30, Nicholson 56

23/08/2003 | KO: 15:00

Zdrilic strike can't save sorry Dons

For the second successive week David Zdrilic fired Aberdeen ahead only for Aberdeen to lose out through poor defending. The cause was not helped by the loss of both Zdrilic and Booth to injury leaving Aberdeen with a strike force of McGuire and Hinds finishing the match. It had been so different in the 23rd minute when Zdrilic opened the scoring following fine passing movement between himself, Booth and Sheerin. Poor defending conceded the equaliser to Brewster and a comedy of errors allowed Nicholson to grab the winner after the break leaving the Dons rooted at the bottom with no points.

Both keepers could have remained in the dressing room for the opening 8 minutes such was the dearth of goal mouth action in this period. The first shot on goal arrived in the 9th minute and it was worth the wait, Sheerin played a clever one-two with Booth then unleashed a fierce shot that Stillie tipped over the bar. Two minutes later Tosh had the ball in the net, but referee Rowbotham adjudged that the keeper had been fouled as he fumbled the ball.

Aberdeen stepped up the pace after this asking some stern questions of the Pars defence. A Sheerin corner was whipped over in the 13th minute and while only requiring the merest of touches was missed by everyone. Two minutes later a last ditch challenge prevented Sheerin connecting with Hart cross. The only threat Dunfermline had offered at this stage was a weak Darren Young shot.

Stillie was left in no man's land in the 19th minute when he came to the edge of his area to clear. Tosh closed him down to force a panic clearance and as the ball fell to Sheerin he tried to lob the ball into the net, but was wide of the target. Zdrilic then went close in the 21st minute when he headed inches wide from a Tosh cross. The Dons finally took a deserved lead in the 23rd minute and you will struggle to see a better worked goal all season. Following a poor clearance from a free kick Sheerin collected the ball on the edge of the box and in a move involving himself, Booth and Zdrilic they passed their way past the Pars defence. It was the Aussie who had the final say when he drilled the ball past a helpless Stillie.

Dunfermline levelled on the half hour mark when Scotland striker, Stevie Crawford, turned Phil McGuire inside out on the right before delivering the ball into the centre where Brewster rose unmarked to bullet a header past Preece. Aberdeen almost regained their advantage two minutes later when a Booth lob was deflected on to the roof of the net. David Zdrilic had picked up a knock and for four minutes Aberdeen tried to bring on Leigh Hinds. Finally after the fourth attempt Mr. Rowbotham allowed the change to take place.

Aberdeen's cause was not helped any when Scott Booth failed to appear in the second period after being subjected to some heavy challenges in the first half. Scott Muirhead replaced him leaving a unfamiliar looking attack. The second half saw both sides looking to gain the upper hand, but a weak Anderson header from a Sheerin free kick in the 54th minute was the closest the Dons came. A minute later Preece was left flapping at fresh air as he came to collect a corner. Fortunately the ball landed at McGuire's feet and he cleared. The Dons were not so fortunate in the 56th minute when a combination of errors gifted the Pars the lead. A poor clearance by Preece started the move and a slack pass from Sheerin, which allowed Nicholson to nip in and slam the ball past Preece, compounded the error.

Aberdeen had lost their way by this stage and were looking for inspiration from somewhere to pull this game out of the fire. Unfortunately none was forthcoming and Dunfermline simply closed down the Aberdeen players quickly denying them any time on the ball. In a final roll of the dice Kevin McNaughton replaced Tosh with 16 minutes remaining. Aberdeen now had a strike force of McGuire and Hinds with Muirhead and McNaughton playing in a wide role.

It was McNaughton who nearly found that inspiration in the 85th minute when he hit a sweet shot inches over the bar with Stillie looking beaten. Two minutes later Aberdeen had the ball in the net, but the strike was ruled offside. Deloumeaux had hit a screamer that Stillie could only block. Hinds followed up and the flag was up before Heikkinen fired home.

Dunfermline Athletic Teamsheet
Stillie, Bullen, Wilson, Young (Dempsey 56), Skerla, Nicholson, Mason, Crawford, Brewster (Mehmet  74), Grondin, Tod. Unused Subs: Ruitenbeek, Labonte
Attendance: 10,870
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: John Rowbotham, Kirkcaldy
Next Match
Heart of Midlothian
09 Dec 2023 / 15:00 / Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen