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Hibernian 1 - 1 Aberdeen

HT Score: Hibernian 1 - 1 Aberdeen

Hibernian scorers: Shields 31
Aberdeen scorers: Crawford 19.

29/07/2006 | KO: 15:00

Dons share spoils in opening day battle

Aberdeen started the campaign with a draw for the third season running after being outplayed in the opening 45 minutes. There was an improved performance after the break and the Dons probably deserved their point at the end of the day. Despite the home side dominance it was Aberdeen who grabbed the lead in the 19th minute. Steve Crawford swivelled and fired a deflected shot beyond Brown as the Dons went ahead against the run of play. Hibs equalised in the 31st minute when Shields turned a Killen cross into the net via the cross bar.

Aberdeen kicked off the season but it was Hibs who went close in the 2nd minute when Shields headed inches wide from only six yards. Two minutes later the home side won the first corner of the match and Jones went close as the Dons were put on the back foot in the early stages. Hibs continued to dominate but a poor pass back by Hogg in the 8th minute gifted Lovell a chance but he appeared to lose his footing and keeper Brown was able to retrieve the situation. Then two minutes later Langfield made a comfortable save as Benjelloun attempted to curl in an effort.

Langfield was forced into action again in the 11th minute when he stuck a foot out to turn a Shields effort wide after the striker was set up by Benjelloun. Seconds later Brown went close after a mistake from Crawford as the Dons struggled to cope with the Hibs midfield. Scott Brown was lucky to escape punishment in the 17th minute when he appeared to kick out at Richie Byrne after winning a free kick. A minute later Touzani almost turned the ball past his own keeper but fortunately Langfield managed to grab hold of the ball.

Then against the run of play Aberdeen sensationally took the lead when Steve Crawford's swivel and shot was deflected beyond Brown to give Aberdeen an unlikely advantage. Hibs almost levelled through Killen in the 22nd minute when Langfield tipped his effort over the bar despite the Hibs man looking well offside. Aberdeen finally won their first corner in the 28th minute but before it could be taken Dalglish replaced Benjelloun. The home side cleared Smith's delivery as Anderson looked to get on the end of the cross. Hibs levelled in the 31st minute when Shields reached a Killen cross first and hit the ball on to the underside of the bar and just crossed the line on the way down.

It was no more than the home side deserved but Calderwood would have been disappointed with his defence. The Dons were certainly going to have to up the tempo if they were to regain the advantage in this match. Six minutes later Jones headed over as Hibs continued to dominate the play. Touzani had the ball in the net in the 39th minute when a Nicholson free kick was met by Lovell and cleared off the line before Lovell headed the ball back across goal for Touzani to turn into the net. Unfortunately the assistant signalled the ball had gone for a corner before Lovell returned the ball.

Jones cleared another Dons corner in the 44th minute and seconds later Brown was out to collect another Smith cross as the Dons looked to regain the lead. A minute later Hibs won another corner as Jones headed a Glass delivery across the face of the goal before Hart made a pass back to Langfield conceding an indirect free kick inside the penalty area. Fortunately Aberdeen were able to defend the set play successfully.

Hibs threatened early in the second half when Whittaker burst forward in the 48th minute before Touzani broke up the attack. Two minutes later Touzani released Crawford and Hogg had to be smart to clear his lines. The home side won the first corner of the second half in the 52nd minute when Nicholson cleared. The resulting set play had Langfield making another fine save from Jones as Hibs continued to dominate. A minute later Aberdeen enjoyed a good passage of play before Jones easily cleared the final ball. Aberdeen were now enjoying more possession and a Lovell won a free kick 30 yards out. Unfortunately Nicholson's delivery was a bit heavy and went straight out of play.

Aberdeen went close on the hour mark when good play between Foster and Smith set up Clark who fired in a fierce shot that was fumbled by Brown and cleared by Whittaker before Lovell or Crawford could pounce. Smith was seeing more of the ball at this stage and he was now starting to ask questions of the Hibs back four. Mackie replaced Lovell in the 64th minute and seconds later Aberdeen carved out another chance when Crawford collected a long ball from Langfield. Unfortunately Nicholson scooped his lay off high over the bar. At this stage the game was raging from end to end and the red army were now in full flow.

Dalglish fired wide in the 72nd minute before Hibs introduced their last substitute as Konte replaced Killen. Aberdeen were caught napping two minutes later when a free kick found Whittaker and the Hibs man fired wide. John Stewart replaced Crawford in the 76th minute as Calderwood completely changed his strike force. Stewart of Hibs then broke and was unlucky not to find a colleague with his cut back. Konte then had an attempt with a spectacular overhead kick that went wide of the target. Hibs had regained the upper hand at this stage and they had a weak claim for a spot kick in the 82nd minute when Foster challenged Brown.

Aberdeen almost regained the lead when they broke in the 84th minute through Smith. The winger played a perfect pass to Mackie who steered it inches wide of the target. Hart cleared a Hibs free kick three minutes from time as both sides looked for a late winner. The home crowd were appealing for everything at this stage as the Dons looked to hold out for a share of the points. The Aberdeen players were frustrating the home side in the closing minutes as they kept possession looking for a gap to exploit at the back. At the end of the day neither side could find a winner and both had to settle for a share of the spoils.

Match Stats:

Hibs Dons
Goal Attempts 18 4
On Target 9 3
Corners 5 3
Possession 45% 55%

Hibernian Teamsheet
Brown, Whittaker, Jones, Hogg, Shields (Stevenson 64), Brown, Stewart, Thomson, Glass, Benjelloun (Dalglish 28), Killen (Konte 72)
Attendance: 15,046
Venue: Easter Road, Edinburgh
Referee: Stuart Dougal, Burnside
Steve Lovell in action against Hibernian this afternoon.
Steve Crawford opens the scoring against Hibs.
Richie Byrne is first to congratulate Crawford..
Shields equalises for the home side.
Michael Hart in action at Easter Road.
Barry Nicholson battles in midfield.
Darren Mackie challenges for the ball this afternoon.
Michael Hart in action at Easter Road.
Jamie Smith in action against Hibernian.
Jimmy Calderwood looks relieved at the end of the game.
Next Match
10 Jul 2024 / 19:00 / Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead