August 3, 2013
Flood the Dons hero
Aberdeen midfielder Willo Flood netted what proved to be the winner on his debut as Aberdeen kicked off the new Scottish Premiership season with what turned into a nervy 2-1 win against Kilmarnock in front of a bumper crowd at Pittodrie.
Over 13,000 turned up to see Derek McInnes' new-look side take on Killie and it was all going to plan when Flood added to a Jamie Fowler own goal to put the home side 2-0 up.
They had plenty of opportunities to net more, but Killie substitute Kris Boyd slammed home to set up a tense finish.
Flood was one of three new signings handed starts by McInnes, alongside Barry Robson and Calvin Zola.
New Kilmarnock manager Allan Johnston was also able to start three new signings. Goalkeeper Craig Samson, defender Darren Barr and midfielder Kyle Jacobs were the new faces in what was a largely inexperienced starting XI for Killie.
Aberdeen were looking lively going forward and after quarter of an hour Samson had to be at his best to claw Zola's low cross away from the onrushing Niall McGinn.
The opening goal came after 20 minutes. Ryan Jack's pass fell kindly for Zola, who spun his man and shot for goal. Samson managed to claw the effort away, but Jonny Hayes followed up and saw his cross-cum-shot bundled over the line for an own-goal by the luckless Fowler.
Moments later, Hayes sent in a cross from the left for McGinn, and last season's top-scorer for the Dons drew another save from Samson with a cheeky flicked volley.
Kilmarnock had rarely threatened, but a quick free-kick sent Rory McKenzie clear just before the half-hour only for the 19-year-old striker to flash his shot across the face of goal.
There were no changes for either side at the interval, and Aberdeen added a second goal early in the second half.
Hayes was the provider, delivering a teasing cross to the near post, and Flood peeled off his man to glance a header home at the near post.
Aberdeen immediately replaced Zola with Josh Magennis, and Killie brought on Boyd and Rabiu Ibrahim for Chris Johnston and William Gros.
Magennis' first touch should have been a goal. Flood won a contested drop ball after a clash of heads and he picked out McGinn wide on the right. The Northern Irishman sent in a delightful low cross, but Magennis shot wide of the back post.
The Aberdeen fans had taken great delight in mocking Boyd as he entered the fray and the former Rangers man took great delight in gaining his retribution, by pulling his side back into the game after 64 minutes.
McKenzie's cutback found the former Scotland striker and he blasted past Jamie Langfield from the edge of the area, before picking up a booking for his celebration.
The Dons piled on the pressure thereafter. Magennis made the best of a good advantage played by the referee to drive into the area and round Samson, only to see his shot blocked on the line.
From the subsequent corner, Robson's delivery found the head of Joe Shaughnessy, who cracked a header off the bar.
Killie brought on Craig Slater for Gary Fisher for the final stages of the game and the home reshuffled, with Michael Hector and Peter Pawlett replacing Clark Robertson and the impressive Robson.
The Dons were left to breathe a collective sigh of relief with eight minutes left. McKenzie worked the ball to the feet of Boyd , but his angled drive was wide of the upright and the Dons held out to secure the three points.
|1 Jamie Langfield||1 Craig Samson|
|4 Russell Anderson||6 Darren Barr|
|6 Mark Reynolds||24 Gary Fisher|
|2 Joe Shaughnessy||2 Jeroen Tesselaar|
|3 Clark Robertson||18 Rory McKenzie|
|15 Barry Robson||4 James Fowler|
|8 Willo Flood||20 Kyle Jacobs|
|11 Jonathan Hayes||23 Rory McKeown|
|22 Ryan Jack||10 Chris Johnston|
|6 Calvin Makongo Zola||14 Paul Heffernan|
|10 Niall McGinn||11 William Gross|
|20 Nicky Weaver||Antonio Chapinal 12|
|27 Michael Hector||Mark O'Hara 26|
|14 Peter Pawlett||Rabiu Ibrahim 19|
|17 Greg Wylde||Ross Davidson 27|
|35 Craig Murray||Craig Slater 28|
|9 Scott Vernon||Ross Barbour 15|
|21 Josh Magennis||Kris Boyd 9|
|Jonathan Hayes (39)||Chris Johnston (18)|
|James Fowler (38)|
|· Squads: Aberdeen | Kilmarnock|