better meddle...

wi' the de'il than the bairns o' fa'kirk

Match Report

Sunday, 14th December, 2008

by Euan McLean

Aberdeen 2-1 Falkirk

MAKING home improvements is all the rage in the run up to Christmas and two-goal Lee Miller's DIY job yesterday proved Aberdeen have got their house in order.

After a wretched start to the season when Dons could hardly buy a point at home, yesterday's comfortable win over Falkirk was their fourth on the trot in front of their own fans.

It's a remarkable reversal of fortunes at Pittodrie that has propelled Dons from the foot of the SPL to within six points of third-placed Dundee United and Hearts.

And after his deadly double match winner Miller admitted the players at last feel luck is on their side when they step on to their own turf.

He said: "Our home form wasn't the best at the start of the season."

"To pick that up is brilliant and we've now got the fans on our side again. It wasn't a confidence thing before - we just didn't get the rub of the green."

"Before I maybe wouldn't have got my second goal - the defender would have cut out the cross and we wouldn't have got the luck our play has deserved."

"Credit to the boys and management."

"We've stuck at it and the fans have got behind us. It was a good performance."

Dons' new-found home comfort was obvious as they dominated the first half.

Falkirk keeper Robert Olejnik was sprawling as early as the fourth minute to claw away a Lee Mair cross that had taken a nasty deflection off Darren Barr on its way in from the right flank.

That set the tone for an attacking Dons display that prevented Bairns from ever imposing themselves.

A rare chance for the visitors saw Dean Holden unleash a terrific swirling 30-yard effort that Jamie Langfield beat away.

Otherwise Dons were worthy of the lead they took on 15 minutes.

Gerard Aafjes was booked and Aberdeen earned a penalty after he tripped the outstanding Gary McDonald as he made a dash in to the box.

Miller stepped up to drill home the spot-kick to the left of wrong-footed keeper Olejnik - and there was more to come from the clinical hitman.

Kevin McBride copped a 20th-minute booking for a reckless lunge on McDonald but his victim was no innocent following him into ref Crawford Allan's book five minutes later for tugging Steve Lovell's shirt.

Miller added to his tally three minutes before the break.

Chris Maguire's delivery from the left was missed by Barr and the sliding striker got the perfect touch at full stretch to knock across the keeper from eight yards. And Miller almost grabbed his hat-trick straight from the re-start.

Maguire fed his run forward again and the hitman let rip from the edge of the box - but this time Olejnik made an excellent diving save.

Falkirk upped their game in the second half as Dons began to sit far too deep.

Former Don Lovell tried to make an impact, cutting in from the left to crack a low drive deflected wide by Scott Severin.

By 65 minutes, with Dons hardly registering in the game, boss Jimmy Calderwood replaced Maguire and Jeffrey de Visscher with Derek Young and Richard Foster.

At last the Dons began to push forward again and Miller's neat pass for Darren Mackie in 75 minutes should have been rewarded with a shot on target.

Bairns made two late changes of their own - Mark Stewart and Chris Mitchell for McBride and Aafjes - before Olejnik got off with recklessly storming out of his box to smash high and late in to the back of Mackie.

Two minutes from time Falkirk pulled a goal back when Holden's ball inside broke for Lovell to slot home inside Jamie Langfield's left post.

But it was too little too late to affect the result or change Falkirk's miserable 50-year winless streak at Pittodrie.

REF WATCH: CRAWFORD ALLAN enjoyed a solid game and took the conditions into account instead of getting card happy. A few dubious calls blotted day but a decent display. Rating: 7/10.