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Kilmarnock 0 - 2 Aberdeen

HT Score: Kilmarnock 0 - 1 Aberdeen

Scottish Premiership
Aberdeen scorers: Pawlett 45, Jack 71.

13/08/2014 | KO: 19:45

Pawlett Power on the Plastic!

Aberdeen got their first win of the league campaign with a 2-0 victory over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park thanks to goals from Peter Pawlett and Ryan Jack.

They led Kilmarnock at half time thanks to Peter Pawlett's first of the season seconds before the break. The game had been a pretty even affair although The Dons did have the better of what opportunities there were with Niall McGinn hitting the crossbar and Adam Rooney forcing Samson into a smart save.
Former Don, Josh Magennis had the best of the few chances for the home side, drawing two good saves from Langfield but it was the visitors who took the lead thanks to a quick break which saw Hayes roll the ball to Pawlett who finished from a narrow angle.

Kilmarnock started the second half well and saw a lot of the ball without creating too many chances and just seconds after making a tactical switch, The Dons found themselves two goals ahead when after a good passage of play saw McGinn cross for Jack to bullet a header into the back of the net. The visitors created further chances after that, McGinn going close himself after Nicky Low had seconds earlier saw his effort saved by Samson.

A vital three points for The Dons whose next game will now be against St Johnstone at MacDiarmid Park a week on Saturday.

Match Report:

Derek McInnes this evening made two changes to the side that was beaten on Sunday by Dundee United. Jonny Hayes returned from suspension to replace Barry Robson whilst Adam Rooney came in for David Goodwillie. Russell Anderson was unavailable due to the new plastic pitch that is in place at Rugby Park.

The Dons lined up with Langfield in goal, Logan at right back, Reynolds in central defence alongside Taylor with Considine at left back. Jack and Flood were the sitting midfielders with McGinn wide on the right, Hayes on the left and Pawlett in behind Rooney. Killie had ex Don Josh Magennis in their starting line-up, whilst Lee Miller was unable to line up against his former team due to injury

The match kicked off in overcast but humid conditions on a surface that looked quite dry as it had not been watered. In the opening stages both teams struggled to get used to the new pitch.

On 3 minutes a clever flick on by Considine found Hayes and although he was unable to beat his man he did enough to win the first corner of the game. The Dons though were unable to put any pressure on the home defence who cleared the danger. Rory McKenzie then got the first shot of the game on target but his low drive was very weak. A minute later the same player picked the ball up in the hole behind the striker and had time again to get another shot away and although his effort was slightly better hit it was still an easy save for Jamie.

On 10 minutes Willo Flood and Jonny Hayes combined down the left and Flood was able to get to the byline and pull the ball back but Samson read the situation well and was able to gather. A couple of minutes later and the same players almost combined again to create an opening. Hayes played in a ball to the front post area and Flood was very close to getting a touch on it. Samson claimed it and his early long kick down the park caught the Dons defence out and Josh Magennis was able to break free. His first shot from a slight angle was well saved by Langfield but the ball rebounded and fell kindly to the ex Don and he was able to get another shot away from closer but Jamie produced a great reflex stop diving to his right. A brilliant double stop from the Dons number one.

On 17 minutes, a Hayes curling free kick from deep was punched behind for a corner by Samson who was taking no chances. Again though nothing came of it.

After 22 minutes the home side won their first corner which was headed harmlessly behind. On 23 minutes a third corner was better worked by the Dons. Taylor was found at the back post area and his knock down found Palwett but the ball just bobbled up and Peter was unable to hit a shot first time and the chance was lost. Taylor then did well to win the ball back and he played over a good ball for Jack but his header was straight at Samson. Then on 25 minutes Aberdeen came very close to opening the scoring. McGinn did well to make room for himself before hitting a superb strike which clipped the top of the bar. For the second game running the Dons striker had been denied by the woodwork.

Aberdeen were now knocking the ball about well and enjoying more of the possession but not really creating anything of note. Jamie Hamill, sitting just in front of the Kilmarnock back four, was doing an excellent job of slowing down and breaking up many of the Aberdeen attacks. He was also keeping a very close eye on Pawlett who was not really able to influence the game up to this point. Killie looked dangerous on the break with Josh Magennis, Chris Johnston and Tope Obadeyi all offering some real pace.

On 38 minutes Johnston did well down the left again, he stood up a good cross which Obadeyi was able to attack and win but his header went just over. Then on 42 minutes, Adam Rooney hit an early shot from about 25 yards out which almost caught Samson out and in the end the keeper did well to adjust and make the save.

On 44 minutes Hayes with a clever flick through almost found Rooney. Then on the stroke of half time the visitors took the lead. For almost the first time in the whole half Aberdeen were able to hit Killie on the break at pace. Hammill was out of position and Hayes was able to power forward. He laid the ball into the path of Pawlett to his left, Peter took one touch which took him closer to the goal but also gave him less of the net to aim at. With players in the area it looked like he might cut it back but instead he fired a terrific shot into the roof of the net which gave the keeper absolutely no chance.

HT 0-1

Worryingly, on 48 minutes, Chris Johnston had plenty of time and room to get a shot away but he put his effort over the bar. Then a minute later Rooney made a great turn, almost found McGinn who would have been in but defender Connolly did well to avert the danger.

Then on 50 minutes a McGinn free kick drifted wide. A lot of the players were struggling a bit to strike the ball cleanly on the surface. Two minutes later the home side had a great chance to equalise when Pascali had a free header in the box from a free kick but he could only divert the ball over the bar. A let off for the Dons. Then on 58 minutes Magennis caused problems in the box before Obadeyi fired a shot just over.

The home side were now enjoying their best spell of the game, although you felt the fact that they were now pushing more bodies forward might suit Aberdeen as Pawlett, McGinn and Hayes were getting a bit more freedom when they were picking up any loose balls and there was space to run into.

On 65 minutes Derek McInnes made a tactical change with the Dons going to more of a 3-5-1-1 formation with Logan and Hayes the wingbacks. They were able to push forward more and all of a sudden Aberdeen came back into things. They enjoyed a good five minute spell where they kept the ball for fun and then they scored a vital second on 71 minutes. Rooney did really well to win the ball. He played it out to McGinn who put over a great cross and Ryan Jack was able to bullet a header into the net from about 8 yards out. The 877 Aberdeen fans were delighted!

With just under 15 minutes to go, and with the game won, the manager had the luxury of taking off Pawlett and replacing him with Nicky Low. Nicky has looked very impressive on the training field and on the pitch this season. The second goal certainly took the sting out of the game and things went very flat. Killie were reduced to hitting shot from distance and none of them troubled Langfield.

Then on 85 minutes Nicky Low burst clear. The midfielder was one on one with Samson but the keeper made a good save. A minute later McGinn played the ball across the face of goal and Rooney coming in at the back post was inches away from getting a touch. In the closing stages Ash Taylor, who had a fine game, was replaced by Joe Shaughnessy. And also Cammy Smith came on for Jonny Hayes as the game drew to a close and The Dons returned to the Granite City with their first 3 points o f the new league season ahead of another away trip a week on Saturday at St Johnstone.

A very professional and disciplined performance by the Dons.
Kilmarnock Teamsheet
01.Craig Samson, 02.Ross Barbour, 04.Jamie Hamill, 06.Mark Connolly, 23.Chris Chantler, 07.Rory McKenzie (20.Alexei Eremenko 72), 10.Christopher Johnston (33.Robbie Muirhead 69), 19.Craig Slater, 29.Manuel Pascali, 16.Temitope Obadeyi (11.Paul Cairney 77), 28.Joshua Magennis. Unused Subs: 08.Samuel Clingan, 13.Conor Brennan, 18.Lee Ashcroft, 26.Mark O'Hara.
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Langfield, Logan, Considine, Taylor (Shaughnessy 88), Reynolds, Flood, McGinn, Hayes (Smith 90), Pawlett (Low 76), Jack, Rooney.

Unused Subs: Goodwillie, Wright, Robson, Brown.
Attendance: 5,079
Venue: Rugby Park, Kilmarnock
Referee: Crawford Allan
Next Match
10 Jul 2024 / 19:00 / Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead