A first half strike from Max Lowe looked to have sent Aberdeen well on their way into the last 16 of the Scottish Cup but The Dons were punished after failing to put the game beyond doubt with a second goal. The Dons now face a midweek replay at Ochilview Park.
Fresh from spending the winter break in Dubai The Dons faced Stenhousemuir boosted by the news that Max Lowe and Greg Stewart would be seeing out the remainder of the season on loan at Pittodrie.
Both players had impressed during the first half of the season and entered the starting line-up for the Scottish Cup tie against a side who had never suffered defeat to Aberdeen.
Lewis retained his place in between the sticks with a back four of Logan, Considine, McKenna and Lowe. Ferguson and Shinnie renewed their partnership in the middle of the park with McGinn, Mackay-Steven and Stewart tasked with supplying the ammunition for Cosgrove.
The Dons started the match dominating possession in the Stenhousemuir half, but the visitors were disciplined in their defence and gave little away, Aberdeen would have to be patient to break them down. Patience paid off in the 20th minute when The Dons took the lead as a result of a passing move which sprung to life when Max Lowe skipped past his man with ease before laying the ball off at the edge of the box, Shinnie then got onto the end of a through ball from Stewart and cut the ball across for Lowe to finish from six yards.
The visitors played their way back into the match as the half went on but were unable to trouble Lewis. Up the other end the same could be said for The Dons as they enjoyed large spells of possession without creating too many opportunities to test the keeper. At half-time it remained 1-0 thanks to Max Lowe?s goal which had been the one real moment of quality in the opening 45 minutes.
There were no changes for The Dons at the break in terms of personnel and the pattern of the game remained the same in the opening stages of the second half with Aberdeen pushing for a second goal.
Smith was the first keeper called into action when Shinnie opened up for a shot in the 50th minute, the strike was deflected towards goal and ended up comfortable for the keeper. Moments later McGinn found Mackay-Steven in the area and his shot proved a much tougher proposition for Smith but he was equal to the strike and turned the ball behind for a corner.
McGinn was instrumental in the next attack as he produced a great first touch to control a long diagonal before bursting into the area, his pass was perfect for Stewart who kept the ball low and on target but it was saved by Smith.
Just after the hour mark McGinn had a strike of his own which was blocked on its way to goal. The rebound fell to Stewart who dinked the ball over his marker and unleashed a half volley from 18 yards out which cannoned off the underside of the bar, it was a glimpse of the form he had been showing for Kilmarnock and unfortunate not to end in a goal.
Mackay-Steven, making his first appearance since the Betfred Cup Final, was replaced by McLennan with 25 minutes remaining.
The Dons were turning the screw and a second goal looked to be just around the corner but incredibly it was Stenhousemuir who got the second goal of the match to level things up. In the 70th minute McGuigan split the centre halves to get on the end of an inviting cross from Donaldson and he left Lewis with no chance with a powerful headed finish. Out of nowhere The Dons had a job on to try and avoid a replay.
In the 78th minute Aberdeen made their second change when McGinn was replaced by May. With eight minutes remaining Considine got on the end of a corner after positive play from McLennan but his header was straight at the keeper.
The Dons were creating half chances with Stewart and McLennan showing good feet in the box but they were unable to test Smith as the game moved towards added time.
The visitors were able to see the match out meaning that The Dons would have to wait for their first victory over The Warriors. A disappointing afternoon for Aberdeen who now have to slot a midweek replay in to an already congested fixture list. A much more clinical performance would be required to see off Stenhousemuir and ensure progress to the last sixteen.