Aberdeen 1-0 Hamilton - report

Adam Rooney struck from the penalty spot to earn Aberdeen a 1-0 win that moved them five points clear of Celtic at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership.But it was a much tighter affair than the home support might have hoped, and a sense of nervousness was evident the longer the game went on

Leading the table is an unfamiliar position for the Dons.The crowd were expectant after the 2-1 weekend win over Celtic that took the Dons to the top of the table, and they were rewarded by a seventh straight league win, but fending off Hamilton was far from straightforward.There were two changes from the Celtic match for Aberdeen

On-loan Liverpool full-back Ryan McLaughlin made his debut in place of Shay Logan, while Willo Flood stepped in for Saturday's goal hero Paul Quinn

Despite being sent off against the champions, Jonny Hayes was available after the Dons appealed against his red card.Hamilton started brightly and had the ball in around the Aberdeen box for lengthy periods during the opening exchanges, without looking like seriously threatening Dan Ward's goal.Indeed, the first test of either goalkeeper came after 18 minutes as Aberdeen's Niall McGinn was caught by Ali Crawford 30 yards out.McGinn took the free-kick himself, and saw Michael McGovern push his effort round the post.From the resultant corner, McGinn and Hayes swapped passes to change the angle

Hayes eventually aimed a cross towards Rooney at the back post, but just two high for the Irishman to get any purchase on.Hamilton looked a different proposition from the side soundly beaten by St Johnstone at the weekend.The only change they made from the side defeated 4-1 at McDiarmid Park was the introduction of Christian Nade for Carlton Morris, and the big striker certainly put himself about.He worked an opening, picking out Gramoz Kurtaj at the far post, but the Kosovan midfielder could not direct his effort on target.Aberdeen broke the deadlock midway through the first half.Graeme Shinnie's neat touch on the left saw him, for the second game in succession, brought down to earn his side a penalty, and Rooney reprised his role in finding the net from 12 yards.There was a scare for the Dons just a couple of minutes later

Livewire winger Dougie Imrie broke into the penalty area and went down but referee Crawford Allan had a clear view, and booked the Hamilton man for simulation.Already up against it, Hamilton were forced to withdraw midfielder Darian MacKinnon through injury 10 minutes before the break, but within a minute of his departure Grant Gillespie was close to bringing the visitors level with a fierce strike from the edge of the area.There was a sense that Aberdeen would need a second goal to ensure the three points, and Rooney went close to providing it as he evaded the Accies defence to meet a Ryan Jack cross, only for McGovern to throw up a strong arm to block the striker's point-blank header.Accies replaced Nade with Brazilian Alex D'Acol on the hour, and they went close through Kurtaj, who saw a low strike deflected wide as they enjoyed a fine period of pressure.Aberdeen had to do something to freshen things up

A double substitution saw Logan replace McLaughlin and the lightning Josh Parker replace Hayes.Parker's impact was almost immediate, as he provided a right-wing cross which was eventually worked back to McGinn, who saw his powerful drive crash back off the crossbar.Parker himself passed up a golden opportunity to seal the points as he burst clear of the visitors defence after 84 minutes, only to delay his shot, allowing Jesus Garcia Tena to get in a vital challenge.With Peter Pawlett also having entered the fray for the home side, Ash Taylor being forced off with a facial injury in the final minute of the 90 will have done little to calm the nerves.Rooney found himself filling in at centre-back as Hamilton kept knocking at the door, and the Dons held on for a hard-fought three points

Source : PA

Source: PA