Aberdeen 3, Hibs 1: Dons end winless streak as ten-man Hibs suffer blow in race for fourth
Two Lewis Ferguson penalties and a Vicente Besuijen strike gave Aberdeen a come-from-behind win against ten-man Hibs as the race for fourth place took another dramatic turn at Pittodrie.
Chris Cadden’s cross after 20 minutes was turned into his own net by Calvin Ramsay to give the visitors the lead but a Lewis Ferguson penalty after Rocky Bushiri was penalised for handball brought the Dons back into the match, and he added a second from the spot after Ryan Porteous was red-carded for a foul on Ross McCrorie.
Besuijen added a classy third with time running out as Aberdeen earned a first win in 11 games.
There wasn’t a great deal of football on show in the first 15 minutes, the two teams instead engaging in a series of niggly fouls on each other. Lewis Stevenson’s volley from a deflected Cadden effort was cleared by the head of David Bates while Sylvester Jasper went close with a free kick from the left side.
Kevin Dabrowski was called into action in the 12th minute, pulling off a fine reflex save to deny Connor McLennan the opener from point-blank range after Vicente Besuijen's cross.
The Dutchman was perhaps lucky to escape action from the referee after appearing to grab Bushiri by the neck but it mattered little as Hibs went up the park and scored in fortuitous circumstances. Cadden, restored to right wing-back with the Belgian defender returning to the back three, sent a cross towards the back post and Ramsay, under pressure from Josh Doig, turned the ball past Joe Lewis.
In short, that was as good as it got for Hibs in the north-east. Bushiri was penalised for a handball after Connor Barron’s effort took a deflection, and Ferguson beat Dabrowski from 12 yards to square the game.
Ferguson saw a speculative effort clawed out from under the bar by Dabrowski as the Polish shot-stopper made another fine save.
Maloney reacted by introducing Chris Mueller for Drey Wright on the hour mark but two minutes later Hibs were a goal and a man down.
Josh Campbell gave away a free kick just outside the area and from the resultant set-piece, Bates hit the bar with a header. As Porteous attempted to deny Ross McCrorie from the rebound referee Alan Muir pointed to the spot for a second time and showed the centre-back a red card.
Ferguson scored his and Aberdeen’s second, sending Dabrowski the wrong way, to put the hosts in the driving seat.
Jasper hit a free kick straight at Lewis as ten-man Hibs sought a way back into the game and Bates powered another header over as Jim Goodwin’s side chased a third.
With ten minutes remaining, as Maloney prepared to make a triple substitution including a first-team debut for Josh O’Connor, Vicente Besuijen duly obliged, hitting a cushioned effort high into the net with the depleted Hibs defence at sixes and sevens.
Hibs slip to fifth in the table with their next opponents Dundee United taking fourth – making next month’s meeting all the more important for both teams.