SPL v Aberdeen
ABERDEEN 1 DUNFERMLINE 0 Date: 28/01/12
Attendance: 8081, Kick Off: 3:00pm.
Referee: Craig Thomson
Andy Barrowman was missing from the starting eleven due to the calf injury sustained at Motherwell on Tuesday night. Joe Cardle was relegated to the bench as Paul Willis and Ryan Thomson started. For Aberdeen 19 year old Rory Fallon dropped out of the side that drew at Ibrox with Andrew Considine returning. Dons new signing Stephen Hughes was on the bench. Mark Kerr and Gary Mason lined up in front of the back four with Willis, Thomson and Graham in front of them, meaning Liam Buchanan was on his own upfront.
Aberdeen kicked off and immediately gave possession to the visitors who won the first corner of the game after just 80 seconds. Willis sent that in from the right but Keddie`s looping header was held by keeper Jason Brown.
The Dons forced a corner off Keddie at the other end in fourth minute but Iain Turner had an easy clutch when Fraser Fyvie`s delivery from the right was headed high into the six yard box. Two minutes later Rory McArdle crossed in the Pars box where Fyvie connected to force Turner to turn the ball round his left hand post.
Referee Craig Thomson did not play advantage when Scott Vernon was in on the keeper and then Kari Arnason blasted the free kick into the Merkland Stand. At the other end Graham produced a fine cross that Buchanan met with a diving header but the 29 year old keeper was able to take.
Josh Magennis drilled a low shot at Turner from 30 yards and next on 15 minutes Fyvie had a shot but it was a poor effort. The Pars had a good chance when Thomson fed Willis on the right but the ball was taken away from Buchanan by McArdle in front of goal.
Immediately the Pars had the ball back in the box, Kerr`s drive was blocked and Thomson was unlucky not to convert as the ball broke in the centre of Aberdeen box. Thomson had a half struck attempt in front of goal in 23 minutes that again the keeper held. As the Manager always says, his team does create chances but they might regret not taking these opportunities.
The opening goal was to be Aberdeen`s in 24 minutes from a simple ball from Mark Reynolds into the Pars box. Scott VERNON rose to get his head on the ball and Iain Turner who had obviously contemplated coming for the ball, was caught out of his goal and like in slow motion the ball was to hit the net.
After scoring Aberdeen lay deep for a spell and Dunfermline enjoyed a spell of good possession but without creating any danger to the Aberdeen goal. The home side did little better and the game went through a bit of a stalemate.
In 40 minutes Fyvie broke on the counter forcing Kerr to slide in and concede a free kick. Fyvie`s delivery was not good but Chris Clark was presented with a good chance from the edge of box and Turner got lucky when diving to his left to have the ball hit his leg and rebound away out to the right.
Kerr was yellow carded as Aberdeen were awarded another free kick on the right about 27 yards out but again his attempt was not good and the ball headed towards the stand. In the last minute of the first half Graham crossed another ball into the Dons box, Thomson got closest but it wasn`t to be a chance to change anything.
Half Time: Aberdeen 1 Dunfermline 0
Dunfermline forced a corner on the right after just 45 seconds. Willis` cross found its target - Alex Keddie`s head but he could not direct the ball into the danger area and the Dons got it away. Play continued to get bogged down in midfield but the Pars were trying hard to move the ball upfield. Kerr and then Graham pushed up the right channel but they failed to create danger.
As the first ten minutes of the second half were completed Arnason and then Magennis threatened and in 52 minutes Vernon got clear of Rutkiewicz to shoot from the left side but Turner held with ease. At the other end Buchanan flashed the ball in from the left, Thomson couldn`t reach it but Reynolds resisted the touch that might have caused an own goal and the ball skidded through.
In 59 minutes Clark pushed up and forced Dowie to concede a free kick but thankfully Turner had a comfortable take to his right. Graham gave Aberdeen problems as he broke into the box on the left, but surrounded by defenders he was closed out. A 65th minute cross from Boyle was too high for Willis who could not reach high enough to head on goal.
A David Graham run and cross was headed behind by Reynolds but the corner was not as dangerous as two subsequent crosses by Boyle from the left and from Wilis on the right. The third quarter of the match had been uneventful for the Dons so it was no surprise when Craig Brown made a double substitution in 69 minutes. Hughes and Chalali replacing Magennis and Fyvie.
As the game entered the final 15 minutes the Fifers continued to push up and managed again to get their passes going but the penalty box was well guarded and they were finding the Aberdeen defences impossible to penetrate.
Andy Kirk and Joe Cardle made their intro to the game in 79 minutes with Buchanan and Willis going off. A Kerr free kick kept the pressure on the home team but Brown clutched that as it was knocked on. Kirk had a chase in 84 minutes but Considine won the chase to head back into his keeper`s arms.
The captain`s armband was exchanged Martin Hardie came on for Gary Mason with six minutes remaining. There was nervousness as Considine and Robertson conceded a corner on the left but the delivery was too long.
There was a great chance in 89th minute when Cardle raced on to the ball at the top of the box. Jason Brown came out and didn`t hold the ball but the Pars player lost the track of the ball, it was behind him! Aberdeen cleared and breathed again.
There was a final spirited push by the Pars but Aberdeen were to hold on to win all three points.
ABERDEEN: Jason Brown, Rory McArdle, Andrew Considine, Clark Robertson, Mark Reynolds; Ryan Jack, Fraser Fyvie (Mohamed Chalali 69), Kári Arnason, Chris Clark, Scott Vernon, Josh Magennis (Stephen Hughes 69).
SUBS NOT USED: Darren Mackie, Mitchel Megginson, Rory Fallon, Jamie Masson, Jamie Langfield.
SCORER: Vernon (24)
DUNFERMLINE: Iain Turner; Andy Dowie, Kevin Rutkiewicz, Alex Keddie, Paddy Boyle; Paul Willis (Joe Cardle 79), Mark Kerr, Gary Mason (c) (Martin Hardie 86), Ryan Thomson, David Graham, Liam Buchanan (Andy Kirk 79).
SUBS NOT USED: Chris Smith (GK), John Potter, Steven McDougall, Shaun Byrne.
YELLOW CARD: Kerr (42)
NEXT MATCH: (home) SPL v KIlmarnock
Tuesday 7th Fenruary 2012, kick off 7.45pm
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Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 22nd April, Dunfermline v Falkirk kick off 3.00pm