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Aberdeen 2 - 1 Kilmarnock

HT Score: Aberdeen 1 - 0 Kilmarnock

Scottish Premiership
Aberdeen scorers: Hayes 20, Flood 52.
Kilmarnock scorers: Boyd 64.

03/08/2013 | KO: 15:00

Impressive Dons Kick Off Season with a Win

Aberdeen opened the campaign with a deserved 2-1 victory over Kilmarnock thanks to goals from Jonny Hayes and Willo Flood. Kris Boyd got one back for Killie but in truth The Dons were far more comfortable than the scoreline suggested. It was an impressive performance from the homes side who lined up with Langfield in goal, Shaughnessy, Anderson, Reynolds and Robertson at the back; Jack, Flood and Robson in midfield with a forward trio of McGinn, Zola and Hayes

With a large and expectant crowd inside Pittodrie, it took the new look reds a short time to settle but they won their first corner of the match on 7 minutes when good cross by Niall McGinn towards Calvin Zola was headed behind by Jerone Tesselar.

On 13 minutes the Dons broke down the left- Barry Robson eventually firing in a cross which was cleared for a corner. The home side kept up the pressure and were looking dangerous- particularly debutant Zola- who found himself nearly in behind the Kilmarnock defence several times.

Aberdeen should have taken the lead on 15 minutes. Willo Flood found Zola in space inside the box and he rolled the ball across the front of goal but McGinn couldn't connect and the chance was wasted.

A Barry Robson back heel looked like it was going out of play but the impressive Flood picked the ball up and drove towards the box, causing Kilmarnock's Chris Johnston to rashly impede him for which he received a yellow card as the Dons continued to push for the opening goal.

They didn't have to wait long though and on 20 minutes they made the breakthrough. Ryan Jack's touch played the ball through to Zola whose shot was palmed away by Samson only for Jonny Hayes to gather the loose ball and bundle it over the line despite the close attention of James Fowler. It was no less than they deserved after dominating the initial stages.

The pressure didn't stop there as the Dons continued to attack with real purpose- Zola again trying his luck but Samson palmed away again- this time to safety. Minutes later the Dons broke superbly from a Killie corner and swiftly won a corner at the other end. From that the ball eventually found its way to Joe Shaughnessy who shot just wide of the post from 5 yards.

On 37 minutes there were cries for a penalty from the Red Army when another ball across goal from Zola fell to Robson whose cross appeared to be met by the hand of a Kilmarnock defender. Referee Crawford Allan waved play on though to the annoyance of the home support. Jonny Hayes was then booked harshly for a challenge on 38 minutes.

HT 1-0

The Dons found themselves on top once again after the break and didn't have to wait too long before they found the net again to double their lead. This time a clearing header from Mark Reynolds set the Dons on their way before Willo Flood glanced home Niall McGinn's cross at the front post to head the Dons into a two-nil lead on 53 minutes.

On 55 minutes, Calvin Zola was replaced by Josh Magennis after a promising home debut. With Magennis on the Dons continued to press the visitors, creating some good openings however they often they lacked a killer touch in front of goal.

Kris Boyd had appeared as a substitute in the wake of the second Dons goal and he was to become a threat on the odd occasion the visitors found themselves on the attack. They did so on 64 minutes and Boyd scored, lashing home a low cross off the post and into the net.

The Dons remained calm though despite the setback and continued to pass the ball about with a real intensity to their play. After a free header crashed off the crossbar, the Dons should have enhanced their lead on 72 minutes. Despite suffering a late tackle, Robson managed to prod the ball through to Magennis who broke free and bore down on the Killie goal. Samson came rushing out but Magennis rounded him but his weak effort was then blocked by Tesselar to avert the danger. From the resultant corner, Shaughnessy saw his header crash off the bar.

Samson then saved from Hayes before Michael Hector and Peter Pawlett replaced Clark Robertson and Barry Robson. A short time later Kris Boyd fired wide of the far post but the Dons didn't panic and continued to play some really good football, particularly in midfield. Niall McGinn should have put the game to bed in the 90th minute when Flood played a superb cross to him but he shot wide.

That was the last action as the Dons recorded a promising victory on the opening day of the season, with Jonny Hayes scoring the first ever goal  of the new SPFL Premiership era- emulating Eoin Jess' goal at Dens Park in August 1998 at the start of the SPL.

Aberdeen Teamsheet
Langfield, Shaughnessy, Robertson (Hector 81), Flood, Anderson, Reynolds, Jack, Robson (Pawlett 82), McGinn, Zola (Magennis 55), Hayes.

Unused Subs: Weaver, Vernon, Wylde, Murray.

Bookings:  Hayes (39).
Kilmarnock Teamsheet
Craig Samson, Jeroen Tesselaar, Rory McKenzie, James Fowler, Darren Barr, Gary Fisher (Craig Slater 78), Chris Johnston (Rabiu Ibrahim 57), Kyle Jacobs, Paul Heffernan, William Gros (Kris Boyd 57), Rory McKeown. Unused Subs: Antonio Chapinal, Mark O'Hara, Ross Davidson, Ross Barbour.

Bookings:  Chris Johnston (18),   James Fowler (38).
Attendance: 13,149
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: Crawford Allan