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Dons claim narrow but deserved victory : Live

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Dons claim narrow but deserved victory

December 27, 2016 7:42 pm Author: Aberdeen FC

Derek McInnes fielded an unchanged team to the one that saw off Motherwell last week at Fir Park. The Dons would be looking to build on their impressive display on Friday night and narrow the gap on Rangers in second place to four points.

For Hamilton, they were looking to recover from being well beaten by Celtic at New Douglas Park on Christmas Eve. Gillespie returned from suspension and Kurtaj from injury.

The first chance of the game fell to Jonny Hayes who was alert to McLean's through ball from deep. He was being pushed wide all the time and his cross failed to reach Adam Rooney who made a run to the back post. Hayes down the left was looking very lively in the opening stages.

The Dons continued to threaten and minutes later Mark Reynolds had the ball in the net from a Niall McGinn corner. Aberdeen were penalised for a foul in the box before Mark got his head on the ball, so there was to be no early opener that the Dons deserved. It was unclear to see what the foul was for.

Hayes continued to look lively and wriggled his way past his man Longridge, winning a corner from his cutback cross. Considine's header from the corner was headed over the bar as he was well marked. The Accies back three were doing well to keep the Dons at bay.

Hamilton's first effort on goal came courtesy of MacKinnon after 15 minutes, when he struck the ball low from 25 yards out. Lewis at full stretch did well to tip it around the post for a corner, which was later headed clear at the front post. Accies also had a chance when Bingham was played through but he was flagged offside. It looked a very close call.

Another Jonny Hayes run created another opening for Aberdeen. He won a corner, McGinn’s fine delivery was on target and Gary Woods saved well. A scramble then ensued in the box with McLean, Considine and Reynolds all having efforts blocked. Some good defending and bad luck kept the score at 0-0, although the Dons might have felt they should have been ahead.

Some nice hold up play by Adam Rooney gave Graeme Shinnie the chance to try his luck, after the Dons number nine brought the ball down at the edge of the area. Shinnie's low curling shot went just wide of the post. Graeme had an even better chance minutes later when a sweeping team move allowed the midfielder to shoot from the same position. His powerful strike was parried by Woods in the Accies goal. Another decent save.

After a slick piece of skill, Hayes provided another free kick chance. Although MacKinnon argued that it was a fair shoulder barge. The winger took the kick himself and a beautiful delivery was met by the head of Ash Taylor who judged the flite of the ball perfectly, scoring from 15 yards out. A great cross from Hayes made the header look a lot easier than it was.  

The Dons could not hold on to their well-deserved lead though, conceding a penalty just two minutes later. The decision did look extremely harsh as Joe Lewis looked to get the ball when he came out to meet Redmond, who went down in the box. The direct of the ball suggested Joe must have made contact with it and not the man. The keeper was also booked, adding insult to injury. Dougie Imrie made no mistake from the spot, sending Lewis the wrong way.

The Aberdeen players complained bitterly about the decision. They complained to referee Andrew Dallas even more five minutes later when Rooney, with his back to goal, was pushed over inside the area. It looked a strong penalty shout as the Hamilton defender had both hands raised.

Aberdeen didn't look too flustered though by the shock twist in the half and were on the attack again straight from the restart. Taylor was unlucky not to get his second of the game, with a blistering strike from inside the box which was touched over the bar by Woods. An outstanding save.

At half time, the 1-1 score line looked to flatter the visitors who would have been encouraged by their defensive display. For Aberdeen, it was all about keeping focus after a very strong opening 45 minutes.

HT: Aberdeen 1-1 Hamilton Accies

The second half started with Hamilton having to clear their lines when Kenny McLean got past the defence and laid it off for Graeme Shinnie, whose effort was well blocked. McLean had another wonderful game this afternoon and offered real presence in the middle of the park.

The Dons weren't having much luck in breaking down their defence. A good number of corners were being won but it would take a bit of quality from either side to win the game.

Accies to their credit came out and had more of a go in the second half, and they were unlucky not to take the lead when Crawford got on the end of Bingham's cross. Lewis managed to get a hand on the shot which lacked power. It was still a very good save and a massive let off for the Dons.

The Lanarkshire side were punished for missing their chance minutes later when substitute James Maddison found space to shoot on the edge of the box. Woods couldn't hold the ball and, as usual, Adam Rooney was first to react and smashed the rebound home. Relief around Pittodrie.

The Dons were looking to kill the game off shortly after, and it was almost 3-1 when Rooney nearly got on the end of Ryan Jack's brilliant cross to the back post. The skipper, who had a very good game today, then put over another great cross from the right which was scrambled clear.

Aberdeen should have made the game safe. They had a four on two when Adam Rooney slipped Kenny McLean in on goal after a good break up the park. Kenny though elected to shoot and failed to hit the target.

For all of Aberdeen's dominance and chances, Hamilton kept plugging away and provided some nervy moments for the home fans. Ali Crawford looked dangerous whenever he was in and around the box, and had a couple of half chances which he got on target. Joe Lewis was alert to both efforts.

The closing stages of the game were scrappy with both teams giving away a lot of free kicks. For Hamilton, the afternoon went from bad to worse when Scott McMann was shown a straight red card for bringing down Jonny Hayes when he was the last man at the back. It looked a harsh call.   

McLean's resulting free kick was dealt with well by Woods who stopped Hayes follow up effort from the rebound.

That was to be the last action of the game, with Andrew Dallas blowing for full time, giving the Dons a well-earned win against a tough opponent. Plenty of controversy and talking points for the 13,131 crowd.

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