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Match Report | Aberdeen 0-0 Hearts : Live

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Match Report | Aberdeen 0-0 Hearts

December 30, 2017 6:34 pm Author: Malcolm Panton

The Dons played out a goalless draw with Heart of Midlothian to end 2017 in second place.

Despite controlling the game and having the majority of possession The Dons had to settle for a point as they couldn’t break down a well organised Hearts defence, who were reduced to 10 men following Kyle Lafferty’s dismissal in the final moments of the match.

Following the 0-0 stalemate in Glasgow at lunchtime it meant the Dons still sit second place in the league, three points clear of Rangers in 3rd and eight points behind league leaders Celtic.

Report

McInnes made one change to the side that beat Patrick Thistle three days previous, with Kari Arnason returning to the starting XI in place of Greg Stewart who dropped to the bench.
The visitors Hearts, came into this fixture on the back of an eight game unbeaten run which included a 4-0 victory over champions to end their domestic unbeaten run. Manager, Craig Levein made four changes to his side that drew the Edinburgh derby 0-0 with rivals Hibernian.

18,000 plus fans braved the wet weather conditions for the final time of 2017 as Hearts got things underway. Aberdeen dominated the early stages and had their first half chance in the fifth minute from a corner. O’Connor took it, clipping it to the edge of the area to the arriving McLean who was unmarked but he blazed his volley high and wide.
The Dons registered their first shot on target in 10th minute. A deft touch from Gary Mackay-Steven allowed him to get a shot away which was blocked and fell to Rooney. The Dons number 9 tried an audacious overhead kick which he met well, but was comfortably saved by keeper McLaughlin.

On 14 minutes Hearts were forced into making a change, with Daniel Baur replacing the injured Michael Smith.

Moments later The Dons nearly took the lead following a dangerous in swinging ball from Kenny McLean, it only needed a touch from Wednesdays match winner Adam Rooney and it would’ve been 1-0.

Aberdeen continued to press, Christie found Gary Mackay-Steven with a cross field pass, the Dons winger found himself a yard on the by-line and delivered a floating ball to the back stick but McLean’s header was well blocked.

The Dons dominated the opening twenty-five minutes, enjoying the lion’s share of possession. However Hearts were resolute in defence and having only conceded two goals in their last eight games the Dons knew patience would be key in breaking down the visitors defence.

Hearts had their first shot on goal through an audacious effort from Hearts captain Christophe Berra. His shot was high and wide, failing to trouble Joe Lewis.

Joe was incredible form the last time the sides met, keeping the scoreline 0-0 at Murrayfield in what was Levein’s first game in change of Hearts. The Dons keepers was once again called into action on the half hour mark. Following a Hearts counter attack, Goncalves slipped in Milinkovic who was one on one with the Dons keeper and looked certain to score. However Lewis was out quickly and on the edge of the area spread himself well to keep the scoreline goalless.

In the 36th minute the visitors were forced to make their second change. Kyle Lafferty replaced the injured Anthony McDonald. Lafferty tried to make an instant impact but he couldn’t get a hold of his long range effort and it trickled through to Lewis.

Five minutes before half time Rooney had a golden chance to open the scoring. The ball dropped to him inside the six yard box, however his swivelled shot was saved expertly by McLaughlin from point blank range. From the resulting corner the ball was worked short to Logan on the edge of the area but he dragged his shot wide of the left hand post.

On the stroke of half-time Goncalves intercepted a miss placed pass from Christie but his cross come shot was well wide and the sides went in level at the break.

Half Time: Aberdeen 0-0 Hearts

The rain continued to pour as the second half began. The Dons made one change in personnel with Greg Stewart replacing Andrew Considine as Aberdeen went in search for the opening goal.

The opening five minutes of the second half was much similar to the first with both sides defences coming on out on top.

The Dons began to tighten the screw and had a flurry of half chances in the opening 10 minutes of the half. The first fell to Rooney following a long throw from Logan. The ball was flicked on and fell to the Dons striker on the penalty spot but he couldn’t control his half volley and his effort sailed over the bar.

The home side began to tighten the screw, Gary Mackay-Steven got in behind but was tackled at the last moment and the ball went out for a corner. The resulting set-piece saw the ball fall to GMS again on the edge of the area, his effort was goal bound but again well blocked and out for another corner which eventually came to nothing.
Stewart was the next Dons player to go close. He controlled and directed a volley on target, but the ball was deflected wide by Daniel Baur. Shinnie’s corner was perfectly met by Scott McKenna’s head but McLaughlin was equal too it producing another fine save.

On the hour mark referee John Beaton produced the first yellow card of the game. GMS’ feet were too quick for Don Cowie and the Hearts central midfielder caught the winger and was cautioned.
The Dons continued to dominate the second half, piling pressure on the visitors goal. Milinkovic went into the book for another foul and from the resulting free kick Scott McKenna met Greg Stewart’s free kick but placed his diving header wide of the post. It was a great chance.

Hearts remained with their backs against the walls with twenty minutes to play, yet they continued to look dangerous on the counter. A Hearts breakaway saw the ball fall to young Harry Cochrane, who curled a shot from the edge of the area just wide.

Moments later a bursting run from centre half John Souttar allowed Isma Goncalves a shooting opportunity but the Hearts striker couldn’t divert his shot on target.

Hearts then continued to look dangerous on the counter as Aberdeen pushed forward in search for a winner leaving themselves vulnerable at the back. They had two moves down the right which resulted in dangerous balls across the six yard box but on both occasions there was no one able to tap home.

In the final 15 minutes Aberdeen continued to press; Christie cut inside and his cross nearly crept in at the far post, but McLaughlin who saw it late, managed to gather.

Hearts nearly took the lead with ten minutes to play. A quick free kick allowed Milinkovic to slip in Goncalves but the Hearts forward was unable to make Joe Lewis work, curing his shot well wide. The striker had time but was unlucky as the ball took a bobble as he was away to shoot. A real let off for Aberdeen.

With ten minutes to play McInnes threw his final roll of the dice. A double substitution saw Maynard and Wright enter the field for Arnason and GMS.

The Dons continued to press but the Edinburgh side were throwing bodies at everything and remained difficult to break down. Stewart, Logan, McLean and Christie all had shots on goal but failed to seriously trouble McLaughlin.

The Dons had a penalty claim waved away late on when the ball ricocheted off Hearts defender Jamie Brandon’s thigh onto his arm but the referee deemed it accidental.

In the 87th minute Hearts substitute Kyle Lafferty was sent off for a wild challenge from behind on Dons captain Graeme Shinnie, leaving the visitors to defend the final moments of the game with 10 men.

Harry Cochrane joined Brandon, Souttar, Cowie, Milinkovic and Lafferty in the book for another foul. The Dons took the resulting free kick quickly but the shot from Christie was once again fired wide following some quick footwork from the Dons winger.

Unfortunately The Dons couldn’t find a winner and and the game finished goalless. They were not helped when there was only three minutes of added time played.

The next fixture for the Dons will be in the Scottish Cup on the 20th of January following the winter break.

Full Time: Aberdeen 0-0 Hearts

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