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Aberdeen 1 - 0 Inverness CT

HT Score: Aberdeen 0 - 0 Inverness CT

Aberdeen scorers: Nicholson (Pen).

02/01/2008 | KO: 15:00

Dons celebrate New Year with three points

Aberdeen started the New Year with a second consecutive 1-0 win in a tough battle with Inverness today. On a cold blustery day the conditions were not ideal for attractive football and so it proved. Both teams appeared to cancel each other out in the first half and in the early part of the second half the visitor's looked to take control. Aberdeen dug in however and seven minutes from time Tokely bundled Lee Miller over in a clumsy challenge and Nicholson stepped up to send Fraser the wrong way to clinch the points. Aberdeen now pull nearer to third place and create a bit of breathing space between themselves and Inverness.

Aberdeen kicked off in blustery conditions and in the 2nd minute Aluko threatened on the right before the ball was swung into the box and a sliced clearance had to be gathered by Fraser. Four minutes later a long ball into the box came off the back of Lee Miller and seconds later Clark released Aluko on the right but Jamie Smith failed to get a shot away as he was crowded out after a clever cut back from the Englishman. Jamie Smith then spotted Fraser off his line and the keeper fumbled the 35-yard short round the post. From the subsequent corner Byrne headed wide of the target.

Inverness won a free kick in the 9th minute but the ball was over hit by Cowie and went tamely out. Three minutes later Rankin had a tame shot that was easily gathered by Langfield. Good build up play in the 13th minute found Severin 25 yards out but he screwed his fierce shot wide of the target. Seconds later Aluko and Miller combined well before the youngster was crowded out in the penalty area then a neat lay off from Miller couldn't be converted by Nicholson. Derek Young did well to whip a ball into the box in the 20th minute but Miller was unable to get any power in his header.

Lee Mair went close in the 21st minute when he forced a save from Fraser after heading an Aluko cut back on target. Inverness were also threatening the Aberdeen goal but Langfield had yet to be really tested. The visitor's had a chance on the half hour mark when a decent free kick was played in but the ball was played tamely towards Langfield and seconds late Hastings steered the ball over the bar although he new little about it as he stuck a foot out to block a Young clearance. A corner for Aberdeen four minutes later was headed wide by Miller as the game cried out for a goal.

Miller was unlucky in the 40th minute when Young made a dummy run allowing Clark to get down the right and swing in a decent cross. Miller was caught with his back to goal and attempted an overhead kick that he just failed to connect with. Black collected the first yellow card of the game as he clattered Chris Clark, who in turn won a late corner two minutes from the break. Aluko swung the ball in but Fraser easily gathered it under no pressure. Inverness then threatened before the referee decided to end the half a few seconds early.

Black had a pot at goal from distance within the first minute but the ball went well wide. A minute later the wind almost caught the Inverness defence out before they scramble the ball clear. Byrne was then booked and in the 49th minute Aluko burst forward on the left but his cross was just missed by Smith as he came racing in on goal. There were rather half hearted appeals for a spot kick when Cowie fell over as Langfield went to collect the ball and a minute later Tokely headed wide as the visitor's tried to take advantage of the wind conditions.

A Nicholson free kick was fired into the box in the 54th minute but as an Aberdeen striker brushed against the Inverness keeper a free kick was awarded. Two minutes later Young swung in a decent cross that was scrambled clear and seconds later Nicholson fired in a corner on to the top of the net. Langfield was forced into a good save in the 62nd minute as he tipped a dipping shot over the bar. The subsequent corner was scrambled clear for a second corner before the Dons eventually cleared their lines. Lovell replaced Aluko in the 64th minute as the Dons looked to turn the tide.

It was Inverness who went close however as Langfield had to look lively when he went down to smother a Niculae shot. At the other end Smith won a corner and Young tried a shot from the edge of the box but the ball went high over. Seconds later Miller fired the ball across the face of the goal and Maguire had to boot the ball clear. At the other end Byrne had to get back quickly to deny Bayne a shot at goal. In the 73rd minute Niculae headed inches wide before Aberdeen broke upfield and won a corner. Miller tried another bicycle kick that went across the face of the goal and at the other end Langfield had to save from Bayne. De Visscher then replaced Young in the 76th minute.

The Dutchman was then ordered off the park to remove a black t-shirt that he had under his shirt. As the Dutchman was off the park Langfield was forced to dive the length of his goal to turn a Hastings shot round the corner. Aberdeen then took a dramatic lead in the 82nd minute when Tokely bundled Miller over inside the box and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Nicholson stepped up and sent Fraser the wrong way to give Aberdeen a precious lead. There was a moment of controversy in the 87th minute when an Inverness shot went well wide and the referee awarded a corner. Fortunately Langfield plucked the ball from the air.

Aberdeen then raced to the other end and Fraser made a good block from a drilled Miller shot. A minute later Byrne almost allowed Bayne in for an equaliser as he dithered on the ball 20 yards out before recovering the situation. Nicholson curled a shot inches wide of Fraser's far post in injury time as the Dons comfortably held out for a hard fought 1-0 win.

Aberdeen Teamsheet
Langfield, Clark, Foster, Severin, Byrne, Mair, Smith, Nicholson, Miller, Aluko (Lovell 64), Young (de Visscher 76).

Unused Subs: Soutar, Smith, Smith, Crawford, Touzani.

Bookings:  Byrne (47).
Inverness CT Teamsheet
M Fraser, D Cowie, M Niculae, R Tokely, R Duncan, G Munro, I Black, P McGuire, R Hastings, G Bayne, J Rankin (R Hart 79). Unused Subs: Z Malkowski, I Vigurs, D Proctor, D Gillespie, J Duff, D Wyness.

Bookings:  I Black (41),   M Niculae (78).
Attendance: 13,372
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: Mike Tumilty, Bonnyrigg