Aberdeen 1-0 Kilmarnock - report

Peter Pawlett's strike midway through the second half proved the decider as Aberdeen beat Kilmarnock 1-0 and moved to second in the Scottish Premiership table, four points behind leaders Celtic.

Derek McInnes' side were always on top against a workmanlike Killie who have now gone eight games without a win in all competitions.

A goalless first half was dominated by the in-form hosts, and they should haver taken the lead as early as the 11th minute. Jonny Hayes' fiercely-struck 25-yard effort could only be parried by Craig Samson in the Killie goal, but as Adam Rooney slid in to follow up, he could only blaze over the crossbar.

A neat ball over the top allowed David Goodwillie to angle a shot at goal soon afterwards, but the former Blackburn striker saw the ball crash back off the crossbar. The home side continued to threaten, with Niall McGinn in particular looking dangerous. Despite having former Aberdeen strikers Lee Miller and Josh Magennis keen to impress against their former club, Kilmarnock rarely threatened throughout the first half.

Their side were dealt a blow five minutes before the interval when what initially seemed a relatively innocuous challenge from Goodwillie on Darryl Westlake saw the former Sheffield United man carried off, and the Dons man booked. Westlake was still on his way up the tunnel when Magennis tested Scott Brown for the first time with a shot from the edge of the area, but the goalkeeper was more than equal to it. The final action of the first half saw Hayes fizz a free-kick towards goal from the angle of the area after Chris Chantler had brought down Shay Logan, but Samson was quickly across his goal to save.

Although the second half started in the same vein as the first, with Pawlett sending a low shot across the face of goal within a minute of the restart, Kilmarnock were keen to impose themselves more in attacking areas. Craig Slater popped up on the right to send in a cross that had Logan scrambling to clear, and it was evident Killie's front four were looking to show more.

But it continued to be Aberdeen's forwards who looked the more likely to break the deadlock, with McGinn again trying his luck from outside the area, but his rising shot failed to trouble Samson. At the other end, it took a timely intervention from Mark Reynolds to deny Rory McKenzie a clean shot at goal, and Brown was on hand to mop up. The home side immediately countered as play raged from end to end, but although Goodwillie burst into the penalty area, he could not get past the alert Samson.

Killie's resistance was finally broken midway through the second half, as Pawlett fired home the opener. Hayes had done the hard work with a jinking run from midfield, a huge space opening up in front of him as he drove at the visitors defence, inviting the shot. Shoot he did, but although Samson saved, not for the first time this afternoon he parried the ball straight out and the predatory Pawlett pounced to fire home from 10 yards.

Kilmarnock's Robbie Muirhead sent a header towards goal 10 minutes later, but his effort glanced wide, the youngster clearly disappointed he had not made more of the opportunity. And Muirhead turned provider for Barbour with seven minutes remaining, but the full-back, in nosebleed territory, sent his shot well wide of the far post. Killie threw bodies forward in the dying stages in a bid to nick an equaliser, but there was no such luck as Aberdeen held on to seal all three points.

Source: PA

Source: PA