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Aberdeen 5 - 1 Kilmarnock

HT Score: Aberdeen 3 - 1 Kilmarnock

Aberdeen scorers: Zerouali 11, Rowson 28, Jess 44, Solberg 74, Winters 89.
Kilmarnock scorers: Lauchlin 25

14/05/2000 | KO: 18:05

Five alive as Dons punish Killie

Aberdeen hit five past Kilmarnock this evening to record their biggest win of the season and to boost confidence ahead of next week's Cup Final. Ebbe Skovdahl made six changes from the side that started against Celtic last week. The biggest surprise was the introduction of young Ryan Esson for his senior debut as Jim Leighton was rested ahead of the final. Arild Stavrum was also rested and Eoin Jess returned after his injury. Aberdeen also started the game with both Moroccans in the team as Ebbe discarded the much-maligned 4-3-3 for a 4-4-2 system.

The Dons made the perfect start when Zerouali netted after five minutes. Derek Young did well to nod the ball into the path of the Moroccan who chipped his perfect strike over Marshall and into the top corner of the net. Zerouali was in the mood and three minutes later he evaded a couple of lunging tackles on the left to cut the ball back for Belabed. Unfortunately his young countryman was unable to control and the ball was cleared. Controversy followed in the 14th minute when Paul Bernard was assaulted as Lauchlin took his studs down the midfielders' head. Bernard did put his head down but the Killie player's feet were high and his studs were showing. Referee Rowbotham decided the challenge was unworthy of his attention.

Rowson replaced Bernard who required 14 stitches in the head wound and as Aberdeen looked to reorganise Kilmarnock equalised after a short corner was finally delivered into the box. Esson was left in no mans land as Lauchlin out jumped Dow to head home. The Dons were back in the driving seat five minutes later when a speculative shot by Rowson slithered through the legs of Marshall and into the net. The keeper will not want to watch that one again. In the 40th minute Hessey took the legs from Belabed and this time Rowbotham spoke to the player but again no card was forthcoming, yet four minutes later Andy Smith was booked for dissent. The Dons punished Kilmarnock further in the 44th minute when Zerouali beat Marshall to the ball just outside the box. His shot was blocked but Jess followed up to tap home. Had he missed a penalty would have surely been awarded as he was brought down in the act of scoring.

The second half started with Kilmarnock enjoying a lot of possession and Aberdeen causing problems on the break as chances were created at both ends, but neither team could find the net. Winters replaced Dow in the 66th minute and the game boiled over in the 74th minute. Winters used his pace on the right wing and swung in a good cross. Belabed failed to get on the end of the cross and him and Hessey ended tangled on the ground. This was all in full view of referee and nobody seemed too bothered and the game appeared to continue. The stand side linesman had spotted something that no one else appears to have seen and flagged the official. After a lengthy discussion Rowbotham red carded Hessey and awarded a penalty to Aberdeen. T.V. evidence was of little help in determining the reason for the penalty award but Solberg was unconcerned as he beat Marshall from the spot. The icing on the cake came in the 89th minute when a brilliant bit of skill by Zerouali took him past the last defender. He then delivered an inch perfect cross for an easy tap in for Winters.

Aberdeen certainly got the rub of the green at certain stages, but there were some fine performances. They must keep this going next week in the final league match against Dundee and then focus on the season?s finale.

Aberdeen Teamsheet
Esson, Lilley, McAllister, Whyte, Solberg, Bernard (Rowson 15), Belabed, Dow (Winters 66), Jess, Zerouali, Young.

Unused Subs: Preece, Perry, Stavrum.

Bookings:  Rowson.
Kilmarnock Teamsheet
Marshall, Canero, Lauchlan, Hessey, McKinlay, Holt, Beesley (Fowler 61), Reilly (Mitchell 6), Mahood, Wright, Smith (MCoist 64) Unused Subs: Meldrum, Burke

Bookings:  Smith  Hessey 75
Attendance: 9,375
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: J. Rowbotham, Kirkcaldy
Next Match
10 Jul 2024 / 19:00 / Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead