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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 April 2007, 13:25 GMT 14:25 UK
Aberdeen 2-2 Hibernian
By Colin Moffat

Barry Nicholson runs away from Hibs' Sean Lynch
Aberdeen struggled against inexperienced opponents
A late strike from Richard Foster rescued a point for Aberdeen against a callow Hibs team reduced to nine men.

Teenager Damon Gray shot Hibs ahead on his SPL debut, latching on to a mistake from Dons defender Andrew Considine.

Russell Anderson levelled with a header before Dean Shiels shot the visitors in front again from an acute angle.

A busy second half saw Hibs goalkeeper Andrew McNeil save a penalty from Darren Mackie, while Sean Lynch and Dermot McCaffrey were both sent off.

Aberdeen welcomed back Jamie Smith and Barry Nicholson to their midfield, while the Edinburgh team made wholesale changes.

Defender McCaffrey and lone striker Gray made their first Hibs starts as manager John Collins rested a host of players ahead of Tuesday's Scottish Cup semi-final replay.

The home side made a sluggish start and struggled to make any inroads against the hard working five-man midfield of the youthful visitors.

And the Dons were punished for their hesitant opening when Gray pounced on a woeful back-pass from Considine to coolly round keeper Jamie Langfield and slip the ball into an empty net with 19 minutes gone.

Aberdeen retaliated with a 25-yard free-kick from Scott Severin which flashed wide and then Jamie Smith's volley was acrobatically tipped over by McNeil.

From the resultant 25th minute corner, Barry Nicholson crossed for the completely unmarked Anderson to claim the equaliser with a well-placed downward header.

A congested midfield ensured the game become bogged down and goal-scoring chances were few and far between, but Hibs stole ahead again two minutes before the interval.

Hibs striker Danon Gray celebrates his opening goal
Hibs striker Gray (right) celebrates his first ever SPL goal

A Lewis Stevenson pass was missed by Considine, allowing Shiels to race into the penalty area and take the ball away from the advancing Langfield.

The angle looked too tight for the Northern Irish midfielder and Foster was closing him down but he showed great composure to slide the ball through the defender's legs for a fine goal.

The second half began in frantic fashion, with Aberdeen missing from the penalty spot and Hibs going down to 10-men within the opening six minutes.

The Dons were awarded a penalty when keeper McNeil rashly charged out and karate-kicked Mackie, with Shelton Martis having failed to clear the ball.

However, McNeil redeemed himself with a diving block to keep out a tame effort from Mackie.

Midfielder Lynch was the first man to be dismissed when he lunged at Chris Clark with his studs showing.

Hibs immediately made a triple substitution, with first-team regulars Guillaume Beuzelin, Abdessalam Benjelloun and Ivan Sproule coming on.

Martis then made a mess of intercepting a low cross from Foster but McNeil got down well to save at Mackie's feet.

Mackie's luck was out again when his 12-yard shot struck Martis to wrong-foot McNeil but cannoned off the post.

With nine minutes remaining, Aberdeen were awarded a free kick and the ball was tapped to Foster, who strode forward unchallenged before blazing a shot home from 22 yards.

McCaffrey's debut was soured when he picked up a second yellow card in the dying minutes but the nine men of Hibs held on.


Aberdeen: Langfield, Hart, Anderson, Considine (Maguire 46), Foster, Jamie Smith, Nicholson, Severin, Clark (Miller 69), Brewster (Lovell 65), Mackie. Subs Not Used: Kelly, Diamond, Touzani, Daniel Smith.

Booked: Jamie Smith, Anderson, Maguire, Miller.

Goals: Anderson 25, Foster 80.

Hibernian: McNeil, Martis, Hogg, McCaffrey, McCann, Shiels (Benjelloun 59), Lynch, Chisholm, Stevenson, Gray (Beuzelin 59), Zemmama (Sproule 59). Subs Not Used: Simon Brown, Whittaker, Sowunmi, Campbell.

Sent Off: Lynch (52), McCaffrey (89).

Booked: McCaffrey, Chisholm, McNeil, Hogg.

Goals: Gray 19, Shiels 44.

Att: 9,753

Ref: S Dougal

SEE ALSO
Calderwood bemoans slack defence
21 Apr 07 |  Aberdeen
Collins proud of Hibs youngsters
21 Apr 07 |  Hibernian


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