Scottish Premier League - Saturday 23rd October 2010
Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
The 7500-odd fans who dragged themselves out of bed in time for the noon kick-off were rewarded with an encouraging performance, and four Dons goals to boot. Maguire put Aberdeen ahead before Vernon’s deflected effort made it two going into the interval. Vernon got his second early in the second half, and a Hartley penalty made it four just after the hour mark. Hibs never gave up though and grabbed a goal back immediately through Nish. Bamba doubled the visitors’ tally late on but it wasn’t enough to spoil a great day for the Dandies.
Mackie replaced Velicka in the starting line-up, and when Considine picked up a knock in the warm-up, Ifil was drafted in to cover. Maguire rejoined Vernon upfront after his less-than-successful time on the wing against Hearts.
Aberdeen kicked off in a bright and breezy Pittodrie and carved out the first chance in just the second minute. Aluko, surrounded by three Hibs players, managed to play a great ball down the line for Vernon. The Dons’ number 9 did well to hold the ball up waiting for support, which arrived in the shape of Maguire. Maguire had time and space from Vernon’s cut back, but snatched at the chance and blasted his shot wide.
The home side were on the attack again in the ninth minute, when Aluko played a peach of a ball forward to Maguire. A clever back-heel from Bebo found Mackie in the box, but the Dazzler was unable to cap a fine move, firing his shot well wide of the target.
Hibs had their first chance in the 16th minute, almost capitalising on an Ifil mistake at the back. The defender’s pass was intercepted and fell to Miller, whose neat ball to put Nish in on goal. The striker was thwarted though by a smart stop from Howard. Nish went close again from the corner, his header being swept off the line by Jack.
Aberdeen took the lead in the 18th minute, after a swift counter-attack. Vernon did well to win a header midway inside his own half, nodding the ball down to Maguire, who instantly found Aluko on the left hand side. The Nigerian then delivered a superb return pass to Bebo, splitting the Hibs defence right open. Maguire showed great composure to finish off the move with a low drive from a tricky angle at the right side of the box.
Diamond had to go off in the 29th minute after picking up a knock, and was replaced by Derek Young. Three minutes later though, the Dons doubled their advantage, in fortunate fashion. Mackie nodded the ball down to Vernon in the box; his shot on the turn took a big deflection off Bamba, wrong footing the goalkeeper, leaving him helpless as the ball trickled over the line. ESPN awarded the strike an own-goal, but it seems harsh not to award it to Vernon so that's exactly what we're going to do.
Hibernian had a good opportunity to get one back in the 34th minute. Stevenson cut a ball back to Nish on the edge of the six-yard box, but the forward stumbled just at the vital moment and the chance was gone. The Leith outfit went close again in the 38th minute, a Miller ball through left McArdle in a spin, Rankin nearly took advantage but Howard was out sharply to block well.
Half Time: Aberdeen 2-0 Hibernian
It didn’t take Aberdeen long in the second half to add a third. Aluko’s shot from the edge of the area was blocked. Maguire reacted quickest though, to gather the ball and play a low cross to the waiting Vernon, who had the simplest of jobs poking the ball home.
Folly also had to go off in the 59th minute, Paton coming on in his place. Riordan tested Howard with a volley moments later, but the keeper saved comfortably. In the 61st minute, Aberdeen were awarded a penalty when Aluko was brought down by a clumsy challenge from Hogg, who received a yellow card. Initially it looked as though Vernon, who was of course on a hat-trick, was going to take it, but Hartley overruled the striker and stepped up himself. The skipper sent the keeper the wrong way and celebrated by jovially shushing the Aberdeen fans who had booed him for not letting Vernon take the spot kick. The delighted Dons fans responded with a loud chant of: "There's only one Paul Hartley".
The visitors salvaged a bit of pride in the 64th minute, Colin Nish climbing above McArdle to head Hanlon’s cross past Howard, despite the best efforts of Ifil on the line. Nish landed awkwardly after the header and had to be replaced by Trakys.
With 20 minutes remaining, the Dons were still hungry for more goals; only a well timed block from Bamba preventing Vernon converting Maguire’s cross. Hibs were buoyed by their goal though, and Riordan drew a decent stop from Howard with a difficult effort from 25 yards.
Maguire was unlucky in the 76th minute, twice bursting into the box and twice having his cross blocked by Hibs bodies. Hibs had a penalty shout in the 79th minute, when Young and Galbraith collided in the box, however referee Thompson was uninterested. Sponsor's Man of the Match Aluko was given a standing ovation in the 86th minute when he was substituted for Ryan Fraser.
A minute later the ball broke kindly for Trakys on the edge of the box, but the Hibs substitute’s shot sailed high into the into the stand behind the goal. In the 91st minute, Bamba rose well to head in a Riordan cross. While it may have taken a wee bit of gloss off the score line, it was too little too late for Hibernian, Aberdeen running out comfortable winners.
Full Time: Aberdeen 4-2 Hibernian
So, while I’m not sure it was quite worth the considerable wait, it is certainly nice to get back to winning ways. Aberdeen swap league positions with Hibs, only climbing one place to eighth; however, we are only one point off sixth and have a superior goal difference.
The influence of key players such as Aluko and Hartley was huge today, as they look to have returned to full fitness. Maguire was also impressive, and it’s nice to have the two main strikers both on the score sheet. If there has to be a negative it’s that not much Mackie touched went right, but on a day like today that doesn’t really matter.
This win also sets us up nicely for the Falkirk game on Tuesday. Hopefully the injuries from today do not prove serious, as with Falkirk hitting five against Queen of the South today, we could be in for a game.
Danny McKay won RedTV's Junior Reporter competition: click here
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