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Page last updated at 20:38 GMT, Monday, 7 April 2008 21:38 UK

Aberdeen 2-1 Falkirk

By Colin Moffat

Chris Maguire celebrates his opening goal at Pittodrie
Maguire celebrates his opening goal at Pittodrie

Aberdeen snatched the remaining place in the SPL's top six thanks to a double from striker Chris Maguire.

The Dons needed the win to overhaul the visitors and Maguire nodded them in front from just a few yards.

Carl Finnigan levelled matters early in the second half when he bundled the ball in from a Scott Arfield cross.

The decisive goal came on 82 minutes when Maguire turned on Sone Aluko's low pass and squeezed a close range shot home from the tightest of angles.

Falkirk, chasing a first ever top-six finish, were furious about the winning goal but television replays showed Aluko had just managed to keep the ball in play.

The visitors made a bright start and Dons goalkeeper Derek Soutar had to look sharp to get down and block Finnigan's low strike from a Jack Ross delivery.

Finnigan then rose purposefully to direct a firm header just wide as the visitors continued to look lively.

Falkirk had not conceded a goal in their last four outings but their defence was breached against the run of play on 22 minutes.

Scott Severin launched a huge throw-in into the penalty area and Zander Diamond flicked it on for Maguire to nod home from close range.

The Dons defence was posted missing soon after the goal but Graham Barrett delayed a great shooting opportunity and skewed the ball horribly wide once he did connect.

After a sloppy opening, Aberdeen began to win more midfield challenges and, with Falkirk denied room to pass, the match grew increasingly scrappy.

Maguire threaded a neat pass through to Richard Foster but Bairns keeper Robert Olejnik was out quickly to make the save and Aluko could not convert the loose ball.

Maguire then twisted and turned to make room for a shot from 20 yards which was gathered comfortably by Olejnik.

Falkirk began the second half at a whirlwind pace and were level four minutes after the re-start.

Patrick Cregg sent Arfield scampering in behind the Dons defence with an excellent pass, while Finnigan showed strength and determination to meet his team-mate's low cross before Diamond and Soutar and his stabbed effort found the net via the legs of the keeper.


The Bairns absorbed a series of Aberdeen attacks without too much trouble and continued to look menacing on the break.

Finnigan was presented with a golden chance to add to his tally but fluffed his shot when the ball fell at his feet eight yards from goal.

And the striker was left to rue that miss when Maguire grabbed his second goal with eight minutes remaining.

Aluko managed to squeeze a cross into the feet of the striker and, with Falkirk claiming the ball had gone out of play, Maguire turned swiftly and stroked a deft shot beyond Olejnik.

Aberdeen: Soutar, Maybury (De Visscher 78), Diamond, Considine, McNamara (Mackie 46), Foster, Nicholson, Severin, Aluko, Miller, Maguire (Duff 85). Subs Not Used: Langfield, Touzani, Bus, Walker.

Goals: Maguire 22, 82.

Falkirk: Olejnik, Ross (Latapy 88), Aafjes, Barr, Milne (Higdon 86), Scobbie, McBride, Finnigan (Moutinho 81), Cregg, Arfield, Barrett. Subs Not Used: Supple, Riera, Clarke, Bradley.

Booked: Olejnik.

Goal: Finnigan 49.

Att: 11,484

Ref: M McCurry

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Aberdeen's Chris Maguire 8.19 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

see also
Top-six delight for Aberdeen boss
07 Apr 08 |  Aberdeen
Hughes praise for beaten Falkirk
07 Apr 08 |  Falkirk

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