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Aberdeen 1 - 1 Heart of Midlothian

HT Score: Aberdeen 1 - 0 Heart of Midlothian

Aberdeen scorers: Smith 13.
Heart of Midlothian scorers: Skacel 64

20/11/2005 | KO: 14:00

Wicked deflection denies Dons

Aberdeen were denied three points this afternoon by a wicked deflection that allowed the ball to sail over the head of Ryan Esson. Aberdeen had taken the lead in the first half through Jamie Smith but the red army were incensed by the performance of referee Craig Thomson who booked five Aberdeen players and failed to caution Skacel for gesturing to the Aberdeen support after scoring and Hartley for pushing the official while trying to take a free kick. At the end of the day it was a much-improved performance by the Dons and something to build on for the future.

Hearts kicked off and they were first to threaten when they won a free kick in the opening minute and had Esson scurrying across his goal line as the effort drifted wide. A minute later Diamond picked up a knock and had to leave the field for treatment. He looked badly shaken but was able to return after treatment. In the 5th minute Hart was forced to clear from the penalty spot before Aberdeen raced forward and Crawford tested Gordon from 18 yards. A minute later Aberdeen were again on the attack and this time Mackie fired over.

The game was raging from end to end and in the 9th minute Jankauskas hit the side netting before Aberdeen put the visitors under pressure with Smith causing mayhem on the right. Aberdeen then grabbed the lead in the 13th minute when Byrne stepped past a defender and fed the ball to Muirhead on the left. His cross was missed by Crawford but Jamie Smith collected and drilled the ball low past Gordon from 12 yards. Two minutes later Hearts had a chance to level when they won a free kick 20 yards out. Fortunately the wall did its work and at the other end Webster sliced a clearance high into the air before Gordon grabbed the ball under pressure.

Aberdeen won a free kick in the 19th minute when Fyssas cut down Hart. The Hearts defence were forced to scramble the ball clear when Smith delivered the free kick into the heart of the penalty area. As the visitor's broke Hart tripped Skacel but unlike Fyssas seconds earlier he found his name in the book. A series of strange decisions including a retaken Hearts corner annoyed the home support as Hearts looked to level before the break. The closest they came was a Jankauskas header that went wide from the retaken corner. Muirhead then picked up a knock from Neilson in the 27th minute with a high challenge. The free kick was awarded, but again no caution was given.

Aberdeen went close to doubling their advantage on the half hour mark when Nicholson hit a low drive from 30 yards that scraped past Gordon's left hand post. Three minutes later Hearts won another corner but once again the defence stood firm. The match maintained it's high tempo as both sides continued to press. There was more controversy in the 39th minute when Diamond made a great challenge to deny Jankauskas, but the Lithuanian appeared to keep his boot in and caught Diamond on the face.

Referee Craig Thomson saw nothing amiss but awarded a soft free kick seconds later when Fyssas took a dramatic tumble. Then in the 41st minute Chris Clark was booked for an equally dramatic fall by Brellier. In injury time Hearts went close when a Mikoliunas cross was headed inches wide of the Dons goal. Seconds later Muirhead was nudged inside the box, but not surprisingly the game raged on then as Smith was being held back he had his shot saved by Gordon.

Dempsey replaced the injured Hart at the interval with Chris Clark moving to right back. Within seconds Hearts had won a free kick and Diamond had taken another blow to the face that required treatment. In the 48th minute Esson made a fine save from Skacel although the Hearts player had been flagged offside. A dangerous cross from Mikoliunas four minutes later was scrambled away by the Dons defence then Crawford collected the third yellow card for Aberdeen in the 53rd minute for his first misdemeanour.

The Red Army were once again on the back of referee Craig Thomson in the 57th minute when he awarded a soft free kick as Byrne made a perfectly fair challenge while having the shirt pulled off his back. Hartley then raised his hands and appeared to push the referee yet no action was taken. Then on the hour mark Crawford was brought down on the edge of the box and once again play was waved on. Finally in the 62nd minute Brellier earned the only Hearts yellow when he chopped Smith down 25 yards out. Nicholson lifted the ball over the wall but it floated over the bar as well.

Hearts pulled a goal back in the 64th minute when a deflected shot from Skacel took the ball cruelly over Esson and into the net. Skacel ran to the Aberdeen crowd to gesture and was lucky to escape punishment for his indiscretion. Then in the 70th minute Muirhead swept a ball across the face of the goal but no one managed to get a foot on it to turn it into the net. Hearts then went close two minutes later when Esson blocked a Skacel effort before Pressley fired over. In the 79th minute a Clark error was almost costly forcing Esson to come off his line to clear the danger. Unfortunately the ball fell to a Hearts player and Nicholson had to get back to clear the ball from the line. There was more danger for the Dons in the 81st minute as Hearts were awarded their umpteenth free kick and from the resulting set play Aberdeen scrambled the ball clear. A minute later Dempsey had a decent effort that drifted wide. Yet another free kick in the 39th minute was driven wide by Skacel as Hearts looked to be finishing the stronger.

Darren Mackie then collected another yellow a minute later for something he possibly said then was replaced by Foster seconds later. Two minutes from the end Clark made a magnificent challenge on Cesnauskis that denied the Lithuanian. Seconds later Smith broke before being crowded out then Diamond collected another yellow card for a challenge on Skacel. Diamond was injured in the process and was replaced by Considine. A cross from Crawford sailed over Nicholson's head in injury time as the Dons looked for a late winner, but it wasn't to be and the Dons were denied by a wicked deflection.

Match Stats:

Dons Hearts
Goal Attempts 7 8
On Target 3 5
Corners 2 3
Possession 42% 58%

Aberdeen Teamsheet
Esson, Hart (Dempsey 46), Byrne, Clark, Anderson, Diamond (Considine 90), Nicholson, Muirhead, Mackie (Foster 85), Crawford, Smith.

Unused Subs: Stewart, Winter, Baas, Langfield.

Bookings:  Hart (19),  Clark (41),  Crawford (53),  Mackie (85),  Diamond (88).
Heart of Midlothian Teamsheet
Gordon, Neilson, Fyssas, Pressley, Webster, Skacel, Jankauskas (Cesnauskis 80), Hartley, Mikoliunas, Pospisil (Elliott 46), Brellier.

Bookings:  Brellier 62
Attendance: 14,901
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: Craig Thomson, Paisley
Today's match programme.
Mackie and Webster challenge for the ball at Pittodrie.
Jamie Smith drills the ball past Craig Gordon
Smith is mobbed by his team mates after scoring.
Richie Byrne in action today.
Muirhead gets to grips with Hearts at Pittodrie.
Hart was having a good game before limping off at half time.
Skacel has a pot at goal and sees his shot take a wicked deflection...
...leaving Esson helpless in the Dons goal.
Crawford and Mackie challenge Pressley.
Diamond is in the wars again at Pittodrie.
Diamond is eventually taken off on a stretcher.
Next Match
10 Jul 2024 / 19:00 / Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead