Soccer

Aberdeen hit back to get the better of Hearts

Aberdeen manager Barry Robson (right) saw his side win (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Aberdeen manager Barry Robson (right) saw his side win (Andrew Milligan/PA) Aberdeen manager Barry Robson (right) saw his side win (Andrew Milligan/PA)

An injury-time winner from Leighton Clarkson settled an entertaining cinch Premiership battle 2-1 in the favour of Aberdeen and eased the pressure on manager Barry Robson as they overcame Hearts.

Hearts had started the brighter of the two and took the lead through Lawrence Shankland, but Bojan Miovski levelled matters early in the second half and Clarkson struck two minutes into injury time to give his side the points

The opening stages were largely played in the Aberdeen half, as their visitors sought to capitalise on the pressure that has descended on Robson’s side who were without a win in the previous six matches.

That said, it was almost the quarter-hour mark before Kelle Roos was forced into a save, getting down low to his left to hold Alex Lowry’s 20-yard shot.

But Hearts deservedly opened the scoring on the 20th minute, former Don Shankland inevitably evading the attentions of Graeme Shinnie to send a close-range diving header into the net from an Alex Cochrane corner.

The goal seemed to awaken Aberdeen and they had their first sight of goal when Jonny Hayes rolled a free-kick on the right to the onrushing Clarkson on the edge of the area. His shot bobbled wide of the left-hand upright, while Shinnie shot wide of the opposite post as the first half drew to a close.

And the Dons continued to improve after the interval, with Richard Jensen seeming intent on single-handed lay driving his team forward. Indeed, the big Finn unleashed a shot from distance after 52 minutes, that had Zander Clark flying across goal to claw away.

And a minute later, Aberdeen were level. Jamie McGrath played a big part in the build up as the Dons worked their way through the Hearts defence before Miovski applied the finishing touch from close range.

They could have been in front on the hour as Ester Sokler worked an opening on the right, but his angled drive found only the side netting.

Three minutes later, midfielder Beni Baningime was booked for a foul on Shinnie, which sparked a conflagration in the midfield, VAR ruling that the challenge was not worthy of a red card, with Miovski and Frankie Kent booked for their part in the afters.

A slew of substitutions broke up the flow of the play, but one of the subs, Luis ‘Duk’ Lopes drew a save from Clark with a low drive.

And the Cape Verde international turned provider with a neat pass to Clarkson, who turned home from six yards to complete the turnaround a significantly lighten the mood around Pittodrie.