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Lewis Ferguson helps Dons defeat Hamilton

Lewis Ferguson enjoyed a happy return to his former employers Hamilton as his first-half strike sealed a much-needed win for Aberdeen.

The 1-0 victory saw Aberdeen climb to fourth place in the Ladbrokes Premiership as they bounced back from their four-goal mauling by champions Celtic on Sunday.

They were pushed all the way by Hamilton, who dropped down to tenth place, but Ferguson made the difference against his old club as his 14th-minute goal sealed three precious points for Derek McInnes.

In a lively start at the FOY Stadium, Hamilton were first to threaten as Scott McMann headed a Ross Cunningham free-kick into the path of Mickel Miller, but the striker was just off target.

Aberdeen’s Sam Cosgrove was then presented with a wonderful chance as Niall McGinn sent the striker in on goal with a glorious through ball. Cosgrove’s first touch was perfect to cushion the pass but he then got the ball caught under his feet and the chance was lost.

Miller then tested Joe Lewis with a fierce drive which the Aberdeen keeper could only parry out and the rebound was just out of reach for Cunningham.

Aberdeen made the breakthrough after 14 minutes as Ferguson capitalised with a clever free-kick routine.

Ryan Hedges went to play the ball into the box but stopped, then McGinn ran over it before Hedges slid a pass round the outside of the wall to Ferguson, who rifled a shot past Owain Fon Williams and into the net.

Hamilton went close to an equaliser just after the half-hour mark when Lewis Smith cut in from the right flank and let fly with an effort from 25 yards that Lewis pushed over the crossbar.

Cosgrove then had another chance for Aberdeen when he flicked a Ferguson cross goalwards but it went straight to Williams.

Hamilton then constructed another promising attack as Miller and George Oakley combined to set up Cunningham and from the edge of the box he drilled a low shot just the wrong side of a post.

Then on the stroke of half-time McGinn smacked the crossbar with a swerving 25-yard drive.

Two minutes after the interval Aberdeen went close to doubling their advantage when Williams pushed a looping Ferguson shot out into the path of McGinn but the Northern Ireland international flashed his shot across the face of goal.

McMann then threatened for Accies when he got on the end of a Cunningham corner but he could only steer his volley over the bar.

Ferguson was enjoying his return to his former club and was denied a second when Jamie Hamilton cleared off the goal line after the midfielder tried an inventive overhead kick after Williams’ punched clearance.

Cosgrove clipped the outside of a post with a header with nine minutes remaining.