London Hearts Supporters Club

Report Index--> 2006-07--> All for 20060924
<-Page <-Team Sun 24 Sep 2006 Aberdeen 1 Hearts 3 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Press and Journal ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Valdas Ivanauskas <-auth None auth-> Stuart Dougal
Pinilla Mauricio [D Daal 82]
38 of 038 Christophe Berra 64 ;Mauricio Pinilla 76 ;Saulius Mikoliunas 81 L SPL A


Aberdeen beat Hearts in every area of the pitch except one at Pittodrie yesterday - the ability to put the ball in the net.

For more than an hour the Dons asked serious questions of the Hearts defence but they could not find an end result to their play, with the Jambos cruelly showing Jimmy Calderwood's side how it is done with three clinical finishes in the final 27 minutes to escape with the points.

The common belief is the Hearts team which has started the season does not present the same challenge as the side of the previous campaign. Certainly, the goal-scoring prowess and running of Rudi Skacel is sorely missed, but so, too, is the defensive strength which Andy Webster brought to the team last season.

Christophe Berra and Neil McCann are the two players who have taken the places of the departed duo but an inexperienced defender and a left winger whose best days seem to be behind him have yet to prove they are worthy replacements.

However, as poor as the Jambos were at Pittodrie, they still have the knack of grinding out results, as they proved earlier in the season in a frantic 90 minutes against Celtic.

Calderwood's side made a terrific start, creating several chances in the opening 10 minutes. Lee Miller put Barry Nicholson clear in the box in the first minute but Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon did well to block at the Dons midfielder's feet.

With less than two minutes on the clock Gary Dempsey also went close with a 20-yard volley through a crowded penalty area which had Scotland goalkeeper Gordon scrambling across goal. The home side was setting a quick tempo in an attempt to stop the visitors from settling and Gordon was forced into a save again from Nicholson, turning the Dons midfielder's volley past the post.

Darren Mackie was also keen to get in on the act and he almost gave the Dons the lead with a cross which beat Gordon but clipped the crossbar.

All the visitors could muster in response was a weak free kick from Paul Hartley which was well held by Jamie Langfield.

The Dons pressure continued to mount on Gordon's goal and Hearts captain Steven Pressley and McCann were both booked as the strain of holding out began to take its toll on the visitors.

Hearts, as erratic as they were in the opening half hour, still posed a threat on the rare occasions they broke forward and Lee Wallace's terrific 30-yard strike was matched only by Langfield's excellent save to turn his shot past the post.

Still the frantic pace continued, but so, too, did the wasted chances from Calderwood's side, with Nicholson heading over the bar from six yards and then Richard Foster, from 20 yards out, forcing Gordon into his best save of a pulsating opening 45 minutes.

The second half continued in the same frantic fashion as the first, with Miller heading wide from Chris Clark's cross.

Unlike the first 45 minutes, however, the visitors were now offering more of a threat when they pushed forward and Roman Bednar had a great chance on the hour mark, running clear on goal only for Langfield to block his shot.

Three minutes later, however, the missed chances by the Dons were punished when the visitors took the lead.

Paul Hartley's free kick from just inside the Dons half was met by BERRA, who headed the ball down past the Dons goalkeeper from eight yards, to spark jubilant scenes among the Hearts players.

The loss of the goal knocked the stuffing out of the Dons and all the confident passing play of the previous hour was replaced by desperate, ragged, high balls which were easy pickings for the Hearts defence.

Calderwood gambled with 15 minutes remaining, putting on forward Dyron Daal in place of Andrew Considine, who had performed well at left back, and the absence of the Dons defender was emphasised within 60 seconds as the visitors ended the game as a contest with the second goal.

It was a terrific move, with Saulius Mikoliunas playing in Bednar, who back-heeled the ball into PINILLA's path and the Hearts forward finished well from eight yards. With nine minutes to go the shell-shocked Dons were split wide open again when Julien Brellier played MIKOLIUNAS through and the midfielder showed great composure to beat the advancing Langfield with a rising shot from 20 yards.

DAAL settled the Dons somewhat when he latched on to Mackie's pass to beat Gordon from 12 yards within a minute.

The chaotic finale continued when Pinilla, who had been booked for his overzealous celebration following his goal, threw the ball away when the Dons had been awarded a free kick, leaving referee Stuart Dougal with no option but to show him a second yellow card.

The game ended as it began - in frantic fashion. But it is Aberdeen who will be wondering how they contrived to lose a game they had dominated for so long.

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