Tue. May 28th, 2024

Kilmarnock moved up to fourth in the cinch Premiership with a deserved 2-0 victory over a poor Aberdeen at Rugby Park.

Captain Kyle Vassell gave the home side the lead with a superbly taken goal on the stroke of half-time.

And Marley Watkins extended their lead just after the hour mark after a mistake by Dons defender Stefan Gartenmann.

Danny Armstrong also hit the crossbar for the impressive hosts while Aberdeen were toothless throughout as they remained in 10th.

How Kilmarnock cruised to victory

Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes made just one change from the side who defeated Livingston last weekend, with Matty Kennedy coming to face his old club in place of Corrie Ndaba.

Aberdeen also made just one change to the side who agonisingly lost to PAOK in the Europa Conference League on Thursday, with Luis ‘Duk’ Lopes replacing Dante Polvara.

In a tight opening period it was the hosts who had the better of the chances, with Kennedy firing straight at Kelle Roos in the seventh minute with the first shot of the match.

Kilmarnock were very nearly in front 10 minutes later as Watkins picked out David Watson in the centre of the box but the midfielder’s shot was deflected over the bar from eight yards.

Kennedy also fired wastefully over in the 24th minute, with Aberdeen’s only chance of the first half coming in a long ball up the field that Duk almost tucked around an onrushing Will Dennis.

It had been a cagey half but the home side had been on top and they made the breakthrough just seconds before referee Kevin Clancy was set to blow his whistle.

Image:
Kyle Vassell celebrates after giving Kilmarnock the lead against Aberdeen

A long ball from Dennis was flicked on by Armstrong to Vassell who cut inside Slobodan Rubezic and fired past Roos from just outside the box.

Aberdeen looked to respond after the break and Duk did well to get to the byline but Dennis clawed away to safety.

But it was Kilmarnock who continued to look more likely to add to their advantage. From a short free-kick, Kennedy unleashed a dipping effort that was tipped over by Roos, before Watson headed narrowly wide from the resulting corner.

The impressive Armstrong had been threatening all game and he was inches away from extending the hosts’ lead in the 62nd minute as he curled against the crossbar from the edge of the box.

Kilmarnock only had to wait two minutes to make it 2-0 though, as a dawdling Gartenmann saw his attempted clearance charged down by Watkins who calmly stroked the ball past Roos.

Image:
Connor Barron puts in a challenge on Liam Polworth

Aberdeen boss Barry Robson made four substitutions and he looked to get back into the game.

One of the replacements was Ester Sokler and he almost made an instant impact, heading narrowly wide when well found by Duk.

The visitors continued to probe but they never came close to threatening a comeback as Kilmarnock saw out the game comfortably to record a second consecutive home win.

Aberdeen manager Barry Robson: “We were poor today. In the first half, I didn’t think it was a very good game. They scored right before half-time, which was a bit of a sucker punch for us.

“But the biggest problem was probably my fault. I should have freshened the team up more from Thursday night.

“It was pretty evident that we looked leggy in the first half. We made a change at half-time and tried to change the shape, but it’s hard.

“That was on me. We needed some fresh legs. I think we would have seen a different team today.

“We’re not looking for excuses. We should come down here and try to win the game. We weren’t at our best at all. I should’ve changed it from the start and I think we’d have had a better outcome.”

Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes: “Everything is better than last season but we spoke at the team meeting about getting more clean sheets. Last week was a clean sheet display but we gave away a penalty.

“We had to deal with two key players missing in Corrie (Ndaba) and Joe (Wright) at the start of the second half. We’ve still got the clean sheet and my keeper hasn’t been too troubled.

“It was a good performance with strong individual performances. I don’t normally like singling boys out but Lewis Mayo was so good, especially with a three v three defensively which was a big test for us.

“It’s nice to follow up a strong display with another and to see us sitting where we are in the league.

“You don’t look at that too much until the first couple of rounds but I want to hang about there for as long as possible.”

What’s next?

There is a full midweek Scottish Premiership card with Kilmarnock away to St Johnstone on Wednesday night while Aberdeen are at Motherwell.

Both games kick off at 7.45pm.

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The post Kilmarnock 2-0 Aberdeen: Kyle Vassell and Marley Watkins score as home side cruise to victory appeared first on WorldNewsEra.

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