Aberdeen 5-2 Heart of Midlothian
Monday 18th February 2019, KO 14:00 | League | Balmoral Stadium
Ten-man Hearts were put to the sword by a clinical Aberdeen side as the Dons ran out 5-2 winners at the Balmoral Stadium.
The young Dons side flew out the blocks and got themselves a goal in the first three minutes. Ethan Ross was found in achres of space on the right-hand side and tried to go round Kelby Mason but was brought down by the Hearts goalkeeper. David Dangana stepped up from the spot and did the job, making it 1-0.
The hosts were able to extend their lead in the 13th minute through captain Dean Campbell. The midfielder strode through the Hearts half and made himself a bit of room before pulling the trigger from 25 yards and firing it low into the corner.
Hearts responded well and got back into the game, pulling a goal back through Aidan Keena. A long ball forward from Alex Petkov eluded the Aberdeen defence and Keena poked it round the Dons keeper to tap into an empty net.
They continued to create chances with Dan Baur going close with a header and Ben Garuccio forcing a fantastic save from a free-kick.
After an encouraging end to the first half, the Jambos started the second in the worst possible way. Aberdeen countered quickly through Morgan Brown and Christian Antoniazzi just after kick-off. The former shot towards goal and saw his shot saved by Mason, but the keeper could only parry it against Ben Garuccio and it bobbled into the net.
The Dons effectively killed the game off just after the hour mark. Alex Petkov down and it seemed like play had stopped, but Morgan Brown played on. He burst into the box before turning to lay it off to Campell, who hit another drive towards goal from outside the box. It took a deflection off Ryan Edwards and after some confusion it was eventually awarded.
The Jambos were handed a lifeline in the last ten minutes when a Bobby Burns cross was bundled in at the back post by Rory Currie, but the optimism was short lived when Dan Baur received his marching orders for a petulant kick at an Aberdeen player.
The Dons rubbed salt in the wound with a minute left on the clock. Hearts threw bodies forward but were caught short at the back and Aberdeen substitute Lewis Shanks was able to burst through one-on-one, rounding Mason and making it 5-2.
Hearts: Mason, Garuccio, Burns, Petkov (c), Baur, Smith (Henderson 55'), Irving, Edwards, Keena, Wighton, Vanecek (Currie 65').
Subs: Silva (GK), Ritchie, Logan, Gajda, Hickey.
Aberdeen: Craddock, Virtanen, Robertson, Campbell (c), Power, Turner, Brown, Barron (Mykyta 73'), Dangana, E Ross (Duncan 68'), Antoniazzi (Shanks 79').
Subs: Ritchie (GK)
Referee: Liam Duncan