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Hibernian 2 - 0 Aberdeen

HT Score: Hibernian 0 - 0 Aberdeen

Hibernian scorers: C Nish (88), Liam Miller (90)

31/10/2009 | KO: 15:00

Nightmare on Easter Road

The score line says 2-0 to Hibernian, but that doesn't even come close to telling the story of this match. In an even opening forty five minutes neither side could make the breakthrough, but referee Steve Nicholls flashed five cards in a game that was competitive, but never dirty. This came back to haunt the Dons after the break when Ross was sent off for a second yellow card then Chris Maguire was shown a straight red for a challenge on McBride despite the protests from the Aberdeen players. The Dons then defended magnificently for half an hour and could even have sneaked a goal, but the inevitable happened in the 88th minute as Nish rose to head home. Aberdeen continued to look for an equaliser, but two minutes into Injury time Miller made it two. To make matters worse Fraser Fyvie was stretchered off late in the game as the Dons suffered a nightmare on Easter Road.

The Dons players surprised the travelling support with a pre-match huddle on a cool autumn afternoon in Edinburgh. With three minutes on the clock Ross won a free kick 25 yards out, but Stack was alert and claimed the Mulgrew delivery. A minute later Foster beat Stokes to the ball as the Hibs striker moved into a threatening position. McBride picked up an injury in the 7th minute as he went for a high ball with Mulgrew, but he was able to continue after treatment. The game hadn't yet settled as both sides probed for an opening.

Zemmama picked up the first yellow card of the match in the 11th minute for a blatant act of simulation. A minute later Aberdeen won the first corner of the match, but the home side were able to clear as Fyvie whipped the ball over. Bamba then showed some good defending to deny Maguire before Ifil was booked in the 13th minute for a clumsy challenge that presented Hibs with a good opportunity from 25 yards. Ifil redeemed himself by clearing the danger as the set play was wasted. Byrne then replaced Zemmama in the 16th minute.

Hibs won their first corner in the 18th minute, but it was well defended by the Dons and two minutes later Bamba went down theatrically under a challenge from Considine and looked to the referee as if the Aberdeen player should be booked. Fortunately the referee did not agree, but Ross ended up in the book in the 22nd minute for a late tackle on Riordan. Fyvie won a free kick in a dangerous position after 26 minutes, but Mulgrew's delivery was cleared once again.

Foster made a wonderful tackle on Byrne in the 28th minute to concede a corner as the Hibs substitute looked set to score. A second corner quickly followed and Bamba headed into the ground and sent the ball over the bar. Last minute tackles prevented Maguire then Ross from breaking forward, but Miller should have scored in the 31st minute following good build up play between Maguire and Mulgrew. The play was raging from end to end at this stage, but neither side were creating too many clear cut chances.

Steven Nicholls was becoming a bit card happy at this stage and Maguire followed Ifil and Ross into the book with only 35 minutes gone. Maguire then won a free kick 25 yards out when he was felled by Byrne. Mulgrew failed to get the ball beyond the wall as the heavens opened over Edinburgh. There was a fair bit of confusion in the 40th minute as a decision appeared to go from and Aberdeen throw, to a Hibs throw and eventually a free kick for the home side.

Stokes had a good chance in the 42nd minute, but he sent the ball over the bar under pressure from Ifil. Hibs then won a very soft free kick when Benjelloun went down rather easily under pressure from Considine. The chance came to nothing and as Fyvie broke he was pulled back by Riordan who earned a booking for his troubles. In the final minute McDonald lost the ball in the middle of the park and Riordan released Stokes, but fortunately the Hibs striker was about a yard offside. In the dying seconds the play opened up for Ross, but the ball appeared to get caught under his feet and the chance was gone.

Aberdeen had a disastrous start to the second half as Maurice Ross was shown a second yellow card after only three minutes for a challenge on Murray. Given the amount of cards being flashed it came as no surprise, but this immediately put the Dons on the back foot. Hibs won a corner two minutes later, despite strong protests from the Dons defenders. Fortunately nothing came from the set play, but Hibs had taken heart from the sending off. Benjelloun shot high over in the 54th minute and two minutes later another attack ended when Riordan pushed Foster.

Hibs were totally in control now when they won another corner in the 59th minute and Langfield made a great save from Riordan as he turned the ball round the post. A second corner was easily cleared as the Dons had time to take stock of the situation. Liam Miller was guilty of a push this time, but fortunately for Hibs the referee wasn't waving cards for pushes. Seconds later he was waving a red card at Chris Maguire as the Dons went down to nine men despite protests from the players. The challenge on McBride was adjudged over the top, but now the game was surely over as a contest only no one told the nine remaining Aberdeen players.

A Bamba foul on Miller in the 64th minute didn't merit a card although the challenge didn't look any different from some of the earlier indiscretions. The foul was 40 yards out and Mulgrew attempted a long range effort, but it didn't bother the Hibs keeper. McDonald conceded a foul in the 67th minute and escaped a caution. From the free kick Riordan curled the ball over the bar. Bamba was all over Miller like a rash in the 70th minute, but he wasn't penalised as the Dons tried to stop the green tide heading towards their goal.

Riordan fired wide then they were caught offside as the home fans started to show their frustration. Miller was shoved in the back by Murray and again no free kick was given as Hibs were allowed to simply push forward once more. Another Hibernian corner in the 75th minute was fired over by Byrne and two minutes later McDonald tried a great effort from distance that Stack was forced to turn over the bar for a Dons corner. Aberdeen went close again as Considine just failed to convert Mulgrew's corner. However Hibs broke quickly and the Dons had to defend desperately.

With ten minutes remaining Fyvie went down in agony under a challenge from Murray. The sixteen-year-old left the field on a stretcher and was replaced by Derek Young. When the game resumed Mark Kerr fired the ball inches over the bar. The Dons were then forced back again as they looked to keep Hibs out. With five minutes remaining Rankin fired wide from 20 yards out then good play by Young won the Dons a free kick deep in the Hibernian half. The inevitable goal came in the 88th minute when substitute Nish headed pat Langfield.

The Dons won a corner in the 90th minute and everyone including Langfield went up to challenge. Hibs broke quickly as Langfield raced back, but Ifil put in a magnificent challenge to block Stokes. A minute later Bamba was once again all over an Aberdeen player on the edge of the Hibs penalty area and again no decision was given as the Dons players looked frustrated. An Ifil shot went wide two minutes into injury time as Aberdeen showed great fight, but a minute later Hibs sealed the win when Liam Miller added an undeserved second.

Hibernian Teamsheet
G Stack, L Miller, S Bamba, D Riordan, I Murray, A Stokes, K McBride, C Hogg, M Zemmama (K Byrne 15), D Wotherspoon (C Nish 64), A Benjelloun (J Rankin 78). Unused Subs: Y Ma-Kalambay, P Cregg, L Stevenson, S Thicot.

Bookings:  M Zemmama (9),   D Riordan (42).
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Langfield, Ross, Ifil, Considine, Mulgrew, Maguire, McDonald, Kerr, Foster, Miller, Fyvie (Young 81).

Unused Subs: Bain, Crawford, Wright, Hansson, Paton, Duff.

Bookings:  Ifil (12),  Ross (21),  Maguire (34),  Ross (47),  Ross (47),  Maguire (60).
Attendance: 13,885
Venue: Easter Road, Edinburgh
Referee: Steve Nicholls, Motherwell
Next Match
Heart of Midlothian
09 Dec 2023 / 15:00 / Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen