Goalfest At Easter Road
Aberdeen once again failed to match their opponents for the full 90 minutes and blew a 3-1 lead at Easter Road. Having lost an early goal the Dons fought back and inspired by Craig Brewster they turned the game around and raced into a two goal lead thanks to a Brewster brace and a second half strike from Jamie Smith. Aberdeen had chances to add to their tally as the home keeper looked nervous, but Hibs pulled one back through Fletcher and from that point the Dons were pushed back deeper. Shiels levelled six minutes from time and Aberdeen were left holding on at the end. The loss of Zander Diamond in the second half didn’t help matters as Jimmy was forced to reorganise his back four.
Hibs pressed forward from the kick off and Chris Clark was forced to block a Fletcher effort on the edge of the box before Diamond cleared. Hibs had the ball in the net after four minutes but Murphy had already been flagged offside before he fired the ball past Soutar. There was no flag a minute later when a mix up between Diamond and McNamara allowed Zemmama, who looked suspiciously offside when the ball broke to him, to stroke the ball past Soutar. Whatever the TV camera reveals Diamond should really have cleared his lines before Zemmama pounced.
Jamie Smith should have levelled four minutes later when Brewster set him up, but the ex-Celt totally fluffed his shot as he screwed his effort well wide. Aberdeen threatened again in the 13th minute when Severin set up Mackie, but as he tried to lay it off to Brewster he was dispossessed. Hibs then broke up field and a Kerr shot went inches over the bar. Hibs won the first corner of the match in the 17th minute but Aberdeen defended well and a minute later they were level.
Hart ventured forward for the first time and his deep cross found Brewster at the back post. The veteran striker was given plenty of space and despite the tight angle he fired the ball past the keeper. Brewster was causing the Hibs back four all sorts of problems as he led the line well. Diamond made a great challenge in the 25th minute to deny Fletcher and Aberdeen raced up to the other only for Mackie to be denied by a tight offside decision. Neat play between Mackie and Brewster saw the veteran fire wide in the 27th minute before Hibs won a corner at the other end as Diamond blocked a Gathuessi net bound effort.
The game was raging from end to end at this stage and Jones had to react quickly to deny Brewster before the Dons conceded a soft free kick on the edge of the box in the 35th minute. Zemmama failed to get the ball over the wall and at the other end Brewster won his own free kick that was to produce the Dons second goal. McNamara swung in the free kick and as Hogg tried to clear it, the ball shot up in the air. Kalambay tried to collect the ball but he failed to gather and Craig Brewster was presented with an easy tap in to put the Dons ahead.
Diamond made another great challenge in the 43rd minute and Soutar easily gathered the resulting corner. At the other end Kalambay looked suspect again as he struggled to gather a Chris Clark cross. With a minute remaining Aberdeen won their first corner of the match and McNamara went close when the ball fell to the edge of the box and Hogg had to charge down his shot. A minute later Diamond had a great chance to make it three but produced a weak finish from 10 yards. Deep in injury time Rob Jones headed wide from a Hibs corner as the match continued to produce chances at both ends.
Hibs started the second half strongly but another error from Kalambay in the 49th minute gave Brewster another sniff of goal before the keeper recovered. A minute later Foster replaced Diamond, who looked to have aggravated an injury. Foster moved to full back with Hart moving into the centre to partner Considine. Chris Clark should have done better in the 51st minute when he had a chance 7 yards out but failed to steer the ball on target. Nicholson hit the post two minutes later but the midfielder had already been flagged offside. At the other end Soutar made a comfortable save from Benjelloun.
Aberdeen extended their lead in the 57th minute when a Brewster cross was missed by Mackie and collected wide by Nicholson. The midfielder swung the ball back into the danger area and once again Kalambay looked suspect as Smith turned the ball into the net. Hibs went close to pulling one back in the 64th minute when fine play from Benjelloun set up Fletcher. Fortunately for the Dons the striker scooped the ball over the bar. A minute later Brewster almost added another goal with a 20-yard shot that had Kalambay scrambling the ball round the post. Zemmama then had great chance in the 67th minute when he ran 40 yards into the heart of the Aberdeen box, but opted to pass rather than shoot.
At the other end Mackie should have put the game beyond Hibs but the ball got stuck under his feet as he ran on to a Chris Clark cross. Seconds later Brewster went close to securing his hat trick with a header. The Dons rued those missed chances when Hibs pulled one back in the 71st minute through Fletcher. Good play by substitutes Shiels and Benjelloun set the striker up for the goal. Two minutes later Lee Miller replaced Brewster and the veteran striker received a standing ovation as he left the field. Not for the first time this season Aberdeen were getting pushed back deeper and deeper.
Considine made a goal saving tackle in the 76th minute as Fletcher threatened to level from 15 yards out. A minute later Soutar was forced into a fine save from Benjelloun before Fletcher fired wide with the Dons defence in disarray. Aberdeen made their final change in the 79th minute when Derek Young replaced Scott Severin. A minute later Mackie tested Kalambay, but this time the keeper managed to hold on to the ball. Hibs were pressing forward and the pressure paid off in the 84th minute when Shiels collected a Fletcher pass, rounded the keeper and scored.
Hibs were on top now as the Dons looked impotent up front but Miller had a chance to win it in the 87th minute when he headed a Derek Young cross over the bar. At the other end Kerr and Fletcher had chances as Aberdeen were forced into desperate defending. Derek Young had a weak header saved from the keeper in the 90th minute before Hibs swept forward again. Young then collected the first yellow card of the game as he conceded a free kick 30 yards out. Miller was lucky not to concede an injury time spot kick when he appeared to pull at the jersey of Rob Jones as the resulting delivery was delivered.