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Aberdeen 1 - 2 Rangers

HT Score: Aberdeen 0 - 2 Rangers

Aberdeen scorers: Lovell 84.
Rangers scorers: Novo 22, Sionko 24

23/12/2006 | KO: 12:30

Woodwork denies Dons a Merry Christmas

There was to be no early Christmas present for the red army this afternoon despite a spirited fight back at Pittodrie. The Dons failed to carry any luck on the day as they hit the woodwork twice in the first half and then lost a fluke goal in the 22nd minute. Concentration went at that point and lost a second two minutes later. Aberdeen dominated the second half and both Severin and Miller should have done better before Lovell pulled one back with six minutes remaining but the Dons couldn't find an equaliser as Rangers were reduced to wasting time to hold on to their win and send the Dons back to third place.

Rangers kicked off in front of the huge crowd and won the first corner in the opening minute. Novo found himself clear at the back and Langfield took two attempts to hold the weak effort. The Dons were being forced back at this stage and they were at sixes and sevens again in the third minute when a second corner produced a fierce shot from Sionko that went inches wide. Aberdeen finally forced the game a minute later when Smith released Mackie through the middle but the striker failed to control the ball. Aberdeen then won their first corner in the 5th minute when a Chris Clark shot from the edge of the box was deflected over the bar.

The subsequent corner saw Anderson heading wide as the match continued at 100 mph at this stage with no one getting any time on the ball. Miller was caught late in the 8th minute and needed attention as the challenges came hard and fast from both sides. Aberdeen almost went ahead in the 11th minute when Mackie stormed past three Rangers defenders and smashed the ball off the far post with McGregor well beaten. The Dons were then almost caught out in the 14th minute when a ball over the top was left by everyone but found Novo sneaking in at the back post where he scooped his effort over the bar.

The Dons had another opportunity in the 20th minute when Smith was released wide. Rather than go himself he tried a cross to the far post where it was easily defended. Novo was then spoken to for simulation in the 22nd minute and seconds later the Spaniard opened the scoring with the most fortunate of goals when he totally miss hit the ball and it shot into the air and over Langfield before nestling in the net. Worse was to follow when Rangers scored again two minutes later as Novo forced his way down the right and cut the ball back for Sionko to net.

Aberdeen were shaken by the quick double and were struggling to get back into the game at this stage. Nicholson had a chance to pull one back in the 34th minute when Mackie and Smith set him up on the edge of the box, but his shot went inches over the bar. Hart was the second Dons player to be forced off for treatment after a late challenge, but was back on after treatment. With two minutes to the break Aberdeen won a free kick on the edge of the box and Considine headed Nicholson's delivery back across goal only for the ball to be booted clear. Seconds later Aberdeen were denied again by the woodwork when Mackie worked the ball to Miller and he stabbed the ball against the same post that had denied Mackie. In injury time Langfield blocked a Sionko effort to keep the Dons in the game.

Jimmy Calderwood made an immediate change when Diamond replaced an injured Jamie Smith as Calderwood reshuffled the pack. Rangers threatened first when Prso worked his way into the penalty area in the 49th minute before the defence cleared. Aberdeen were going forward at this stage but the forwards appeared unwilling to attack the ball. Novo was causing all sorts of problems and threatened again in the 55th minute before Sebo replaced Prso two minutes later. Aberdeen threatened again in the 58th minute when Anderson headed the ball across the face of the goal but once again there were no red shirts attacking the ball.

A minute later another free kick caused problems when Miller flicked the ball on to Severin, but the ball was scrambled clear a few yards out. Miller should have pulled one back on the hour mark when the ball was cut back to him 8 yards out and his weak shot was gathered by McGregor. Aberdeen were now dominating but significantly had failed to pull the lead back. Calderwood then through Lovell on for Considine knowing that a first goal was required quickly. Aberdeen were always susceptible to the break and Novo raced forward in the 66th minute and Anderson made a great challenge then a second fantastic challenge was unbelievably penalised.

Fortunately nothing came of the free kick then at the other end Diamond was being pulled back as he headed for the penalty area and incredibly the decision once again went Rangers way. Both referee and assistant ignored another blatant handball in the 72nd minute as the Dons luck appeared to have totally deserted them at this stage. A snap shot from Darren Mackie a minute later was well saved by McGregor before Diamond became the first booking of the match as Sionko went theatrically to the ground.

Calderwood played his last card when Maguire replaced Nicholson with 15 minutes remaining. Maguire broke on the left in the 80th minute and looked to be taken out of the game only for the incident to go unpenalised. A free kick two minutes later ended with Severin firing wide then once again the stand side linesman refused to award a free kick for another hand ball while referee MacDonald awarded it from 30 yards away. Anderson was booked in the 84th minute before Langfield made a fine save. Aberdeen then raced up field and pulled a goal back.

Darren Mackie was one-on-one with McGregor and although the keeper closed him down he slipped the ball into the path of Lovell who rolled the ball into the empty net. Anderson then had to make another great challenge deep inside his own penalty area to deny Rangers. The visitor's were wasting time now and referee MacDonald did little to aid the Dons cause as Clark collected another yellow card in the 89th minute. Deep in injury time a Foster header across goal caused concern then Macgregor dropped the ball before Rangers booted clear to secure the win.

Match Stats:

Dons Gers
Goal Attempts 11 12
On Target 4 8
Corners 1 5
Possession 49% 51%

Aberdeen Teamsheet
Langfield, Hart, Foster, Severin, Considine (Lovell 62), Anderson, Smith (Diamond 46), Nicholson (Maguire 75), Mackie, Miller, Clark.

Unused Subs: Touzani, Dempsey, Smith, Soutar.

Bookings:  Diamond (73),  Anderson (84),  Clark (89).
Rangers Teamsheet
McGregor, Hutton, Hemdani, Svensson, Papac, Sionko, Ferguson, Clement, Adam, Prso (Sebo 57), Novo (Rae 81) Unused Subs:
Attendance: 20,045
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: Dougie MacDonald, Edinburgh
Today's match programme.
Michael Hart is caught late by Prso at Pittodrie.
Russell Anderson steers the ball to safety.
Scott Severin in action this afternoon.
Novo's sclaf somehow ends up in the Dons net.
Rangers make it 2-0 two minutes later.
Every picture tells a story.
Darren Mackie challenges for the ball this afternoon.
Severin is denied by a goal line block this afternoon.
Zander earned a yellow card for this challenge.
Mackie is denied as McGregor is quickly off his line...
...but he slips the ball to Lovell to pull a goal back.
Santa can't hide his disappointment at the end of the match.
Next Match
10 Jul 2024 / 19:00 / Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead