in Match Reports February 19, 2017
Kilmarnock 1 Aberdeen 2
Alan Cochrane @ Rugby Park
“"Kilmarnock deserve a lot of credit, and deserved more from the game today.” Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes.
Two goals within three minutes, with less than ten minutes to go, was both heart-rending and gut-wrenching for Kilmarnock players and supporters, as Aberdeen showed just why they are second top of the pile in Scotland at the moment. And substitutions had a lot to do with the final outcome.
In the first half, Killie matched their visitors all over the park. Aberdeen had more of the ball, but Woodman’s goal seldom looked threatened. The on-loan keeper did have to make one good save with his legs at his right hand post, but the Aberdeen goal was also in danger. McKenzie had one early turn and shot which went the wrong side of the post, and Joe Lewis in the Aberdeen goal did well to thwart Boyd and Smith after a good spell of play. Ryan Christie had a headed attempt go wide when he would have expected to hit the target, but it was Kilmarnock who took the lead, five minutes before the break. A cross from the left could only be deflected on by Ash Taylor, Jordan Jones controlled the ball quickly, rolled it back to Rory McKenzie, and his low drive beat Joe Lewis at his right hand post.
One minute after the restart, Kilmarnock were denied a penalty when Connor Sammon appeared to be tripped and bundled off the ball by Ash Taylor, but Andrew Dallas ignored the Killie appeals, and turned away. Luke Hendrie had a shot go over, but Kris Boyd came closest with a shot from outside the box which beat Lewis, but also skimmed the wrong side of his left hand post.
Kilmarnock brought on Miles Addison for the injured Steven Smith, and Derek McInnes replaced Considine and Christie with Stockley and Pawlett, and all three were to prove game-changing. In the 83rd minute, Addison held off Rooney as he tried to shepherd a ball back to Woodman, only to have his pocket picked by Stockley, who nipped past him on the other side, and side footed the ball into the net. Three minutes later, a Pawlett shot cannoned back off Addison when he couldn't get his head down quickly enough, and Pawlett’s follow up shot deflected off Addison, past Woodman, and into the net.
Before the end, it was evident that it really wasn't the big man’s day. A Killie free kick was knocked into the six yard box, and despite Addison being flattened by Taylor and Stockley, again Andrew Dallas saw nothing wrong, and despite what could well have been Kilmarnock’s best performance of the season, it was the visitors who left with the spoils.
It was understandable that it was a very subdued Lee McCulloch who came to speak with the media. He had told the players to go home, have the day off tomorrow, and come back on Tuesday with a spring in their step and a smile on their face. “I'm disappointed, but not worried. I was delighted by the players performance and that they bought into the game plan. They worked hard today.”
Kilmarnock: Woodman, Sammon (Wilson), Jones, McKenzie, Dicker, Boyd, Longstaff, Ajer (Umerah), Taylor, Smith (Addison), Hendrie
Aberdeen: Lewis, Logan, Considine (Stockley), Taylor, Reynolds, McLean (Shinnie), Christie (Pawlett), Rooney, McGinn, Hayes
Referee: Andrew Dallas
Sandy Ferguson's match pictures.