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Last Updated: Saturday, 31 March 2007, 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK
Kilmarnock 1-2 Aberdeen
The Dons celebrate at Rugby Park
It was the Dons who were celebrating at Rugby Park
Two second-half goals gave Aberdeen a victory over Kilmarnock that keeps Jimmy Calderwood's side in the hunt for the second Champions League place.

Jamie Fowler headed past his own goalkeeper after Graeme Smith had come off his line in an attempt to collect an effort by Steve Lovell.

Russell Anderson poked the Dons further ahead from close range.

Killie deservedly got a goal back through Steven Naismith from the penalty spot, but the Dons held on.

Home manager Jim Jefferies had rung the changes as his side attempted to erase memories of the 5-1 CIS Insurance Cup final defeat by Hibernian.

Graeme Smith replaced the injured Alan Combe in goal and Rocco Quinn came into the midfield for Allan Johnston, who goes into hospital for a groin operation on Monday.

Simon Ford, Paul Di Giacomo and Colin Nish were all dropped to the bench to be replaced with Momo Sylla, David Lilley and Gary Wales.

Calderwood also made five changes following Aberdeen's 3-0 defeat by Rangers.

Michael Hart, Richard Foster, Jamie Smith, Lee Miller and Steve Lovell dropped out and in came Alexander Diamond, Richie Byrne, Daniel Smith, Craig Brewster and Darren Mackie.

It took until the 26th minute before there was a clear goalscoring chance and, even then, it came via a mistake by Aberdeen's Jamie Langfield.

The goalkeeper fumbled from a free-kick but recovered quickly to block Lilley's snap-shot.

Aberdeen were being pressed further back towards Langfield as the match nudged towards the interval.

But, when Sylla's cross from wide on the right was met by Wales, the striker headed wide from 10 yards out.

Steven Naismith evaded Dons skipper Russell Anderson to collect a Quinn pass, but Langfield was quick off his mark to block the shot.

Rocco Quinn and Aberdeen's Chris Clark tussle at Rugby Park
Kilmarnock had the better of the game against Aberdeen

Calderwood decided his formation was not working and brought on striker Steve Lovell in place of Smith at half-time.

Killie were again the brighter side after the break, but Aberdeen took a fortuitous lead after 58 minutes.

Fowler tried to cut out an attempted one-two between Gary Dempsey and Craig Brewster and, from eight yards out, the midfielder only succeeded in heading past the helpless Smith, who had come off his line to gather.

Killie fell further behind after 68 minutes when the home defence failed to clear Scott Severin's free-kick and Anderson poked the ball home from close range.

Kilmarnock were handed a lifeline with five minutes left.

Naismith scored from the spot after referee Brian Winter had awarded a penalty for an Anderson handball in the box after consulting with his assistant.

Kilmarnock pounded the Dons' penalty box, with substitute Colin Nish sending two efforts wide when he should have at least tested Langfield.

But the Pittodrie side held on for the three points that narrow the gap on second-top Rangers to five points.


Kilmarnock: Smith, Greer, Hay, Lilley (Koudou 81), Frazer Wright, Fowler, Sylla, Quinn (Gibson 73), Leven, Wales (Nish 70), Naismith.
Subs Not Used: Harpur, Ford, Di Giacomo, Hamill.

Booked: Sylla, Frazer Wright.

Goal: Naismith 86 pen.

Aberdeen: Langfield, Diamond, Byrne, Anderson, Considine, Severin, Dempsey, Daniel Smith (Lovell 46), Clark, Mackie, Brewster (Miller 70).
Subs Not Used: Soutar, Winter, Donald, Maguire, McVitie.

Booked: Byrne.

Goals: Fowler 59 og, Anderson 69.

Att: 7,236

Ref: B Winter

SEE ALSO
Jefferies hails 'mugged' Killie
31 Mar 07 |  Kilmarnock
Boss admits fortune favoured Dons
31 Mar 07 |  Aberdeen


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