Zander is Aberdeen’s Diamond

Diamond slotted home after a quickly-taken free-kick to cancel out

Flavio Paixao’s second-half header. Hamilton were left with a

strong sense of injustice after being denied a penalty moments

earlier when Jim Paterson brought down Dougie Imrie. David Elebert

missed two excellent late chances to win the game for Hamilton, who

looked the more impressive team for much of the match, while

Aberdeen’s ninth game without victory did little for their

faltering top-six challenge. Only 2,030 fans turned out to watch

two teams who have struggled in recent weeks, with Hamilton having

found the net just three times in 11 games before today. Both sides

started with three up front, though, with Aberdeen bringing in Sone

Aluko and Michael Paton and Hamilton swapping Flavio Paixao for the

injured James Wesolowski. Hamilton had the better of the early

exchanges, with Paixao having a shot held by Jamie Langfield amid a

series of corners. Steven MacLean found room on Aberdeen’s right

flank but Paton fired well over from his cutback and Hamilton

continued to dominate possession. Brian Easton’s cross just evaded

Paixao at the far post following a sustained passing move and David

van Zanten volleyed wide on the run after Simon Mensing had sent

him clear down the right. Elebert looped a header into the side

netting from Easton’s floated free-kick and Paixao’s shot ended up

in the same place after James McArthur had burst into the box. Mark

McLaughlin and Mensing were booked for dissent after the former was

penalised for a tug on Paton seconds after his team-mate claimed

Paterson had pushed him inside the Aberdeen box. Charlie Mulgrew

curled the 20-yard free-kick towards the top corner but Tomas Cerny

leapt to push it away one-handed. Imrie was too high with a

free-kick at the opposite end and van Zanten headed wide from

Paixao’s deep cross. Aberdeen created the first opening of the

second half when Langfield’s huge kick-out allowed MacLean space

but there were no takers when he rolled the ball across the

six-yard box. Paton fired a 25-yard strike just past the far post

as Aberdeen, now playing 4-4-2, began to enjoy more possession and

territory. Hamilton’s top scorer, Mickael Antoine-Curier, replaced

van Zanten after missing six matches following knee surgery. The

hosts took the lead in the 62nd minute when Paixao headed home

Easton’s inswinging corner from inside the six-yard box. Aberdeen

created an immediate chance to reply when Richard Foster cut the

ball back for Gary McDonald 15 yards out but Martin Canning threw

himself at the midfielder’s shot to divert it over. Imrie then

stabbed wide after a one-two with Mensing as the game opened up.

Aberdeen boss Mark McGhee brought on Darren Mackie to revert to a

three-man strikeforce but Aberdeen escaped a strong penalty claim

in the 75th minute when Paterson brought down Imrie after the

forward had cut in from the right wing. Aberdeen were level within

60 seconds when the unmarked Diamond, earlier booked for a strong

aerial challenge on Imrie, slotted home MacLean’s cutback after a

quickly-taken free-kick by Mulgrew. The Dons soon had another

chance but Alex Neil cut out Mackie’s square ball as MacLean waited

for an open goal. Hamilton had another penalty claim but Paixao’s

shout was more ambitious after he was brushed off the ball by

Mulgrew, and the Portuguese forward soon fired just over from 18

yards after being set up by Imrie. Elebert headed just wide after

McArthur’s measured ball had found him unmarked eight yards out and

the defender fluffed another close-range chance in the final

seconds.