Aberdeen ended their poor home run this afternoon with a hard earned victory over a battling Kilmarnock side. Sone Aluko was the difference on the day and it was fitting that the young Englishman grabbed the winner early in the second half with a shot from a tight angle. Lee Miller also looked to be back to his best with great hold up play and some fancy foot work that kept the Kilmarnock defence busy all afternoon. So three weeks after hitting the bottom of the league the Dons are heading back towards the top six and have third spot back in their sights.
Aberdeen kicked off in a pleasant autumn afternoon attacking the King Street end, but it was Kilmarnock who won the first corner of the match after only two minutes. Aberdeen failed to clear their lines and an unmarked Pascali had a weak effort gathered by Langfield. A minute later Aluko went on a run but curled his effort wide. At the other end Considine was penalised by the assistant for a handball that looked unavoidable. Fortunately the free kick was easily cleared and no harm was done. It had been a lively start but the visitors had enjoyed the better of the early play.
Aluko had a sniff of goal in the 9th minute but he was pulled back for an infringement before Kilmarnock threatened again through Fowler. Diamond did well to clear and a minute later Considine was forced to concede a corner under pressure. At this stage the Dons looked uncomfortable at the back and were struggling to create anything. In the 14th minute Aluko tested Combe with a stunning drive that the keeper turned round the post. From the resulting corner Aluko again latched on to the ball, worked his way into the box and fired inches over.
Mackie broke in the 18th minute and looked to be free before being unceremoniously dumped to the ground by Fowler. The Killie man earned a booking but the free kick came to nothing when Miller was penalised for a push on his marker. Fernandez tested Langfield in the 23rd minute with a dipping shot that the keeper was forced to claw over the bar. At the other end a quick free kick from Young was headed over by Miller as both sides looked to break the deadlock. Aluko was back defending in the 28th minute and a minute later he was scythed down by Skelton as he tried to drive forward.
Lilley was lucky to escape a yellow card on the half hour mark when he fouled Lee Miller for the umpteenth time. Mulgrew was a tad ambitious with the resulting free kick and it failed to test Combe. Aberdeen were offering a lot more in attack now and a snap shot from Aluko went wide before a Young corner was headed into the ground by Miller but shot up into the air and over the bar. The Dons should have taken the lead in the 38th minute when a Miller knock down was steered into the keepers' hands by Foster with Mackie waiting to pounce. At the other end a Hamill effort went wide with Langfield looking beaten.
Another good move a minute later looked to test Kilmarnock before Derek Young slipped inside the box allowing the visitors to clear. With three minutes of the half remaining Foster swung in a cross and Aluko steered it inches wide. Seconds later Foster again sent a probing pass into the danger area and Diamond was unlucky not to get on the end of it. In the dying seconds Mackie looked to be held back as he tried to go for a ball inside the box. Nothing was given and the last action of the half saw Miller heading an Aluko cross wide.
Mark Kerr replaced Charlie Mulgrew at the interval as the Dons reverted to a back four after playing the first half with a back three. Kilmarnock should have opened the scoring in the 48th minute as Bryson split the Dons defence open before Severin intervened to clear. A minute later Aluko won the first corner of the second half and the delivery from Derek Young caused all sorts of problems before it was scrambled clear. A minute later a low shot from Foster drifted wide before Aberdeen took the lead in the 51st minute. Sone Aluko broke again on the left, drifted past Hamill and as everyone expected the cut back the young Englishman fired the ball past Combe.
There was a positive reaction by Kilmarnock and Aberdeen had to defend their lead diligently with Langfield making a couple of fine saves. Miller showed a great piece of skill on the hour mark as he turned his defender and held off several players. Unfortunately the great play failed to produce a finish. Three minutes later Miller floated in a cross that Aluko met on the volley. Fowler did well to block the effort for a corner and from the set play the Dons almost doubled their lead when a Miller headed was booted off the line. Murray was then shown a yellow card and Lilley followed him into the book three minutes later.
Aluko broke on the left again in the 67th minute but there were no takers for his cross. Kilmarnock then enjoyed a good period as they looked to get back into the match. Aluko again turned the Killie defence inside out in the 83rd minute but Combe comfortably held his shot. An error from Mackie almost allowed Kilmarnock in but Langfield held Taouil's deflected shot. A minute later a Gibson cross caused the Dons problems before the ball drifted wide. Kilmarnock won a couple of corners with only five minutes left on the clock and it was Lee Miller who eventually scrambled the ball clear.
Disaster almost struck in the 86th minute when the Aberdeen defence appeared to stop allowing Simmonds to eventually crash the ball off the bar. Aberdeen then replaced Young with Duff and Maguire replaced man of the match Sone Aluko. The nerves were jangling in the final minutes as Aberdeen were pushed deeper and deeper. The Dons looked to break in the 90th minute but Mackie failed to find Maguire who was in acres of space on the left hand side. Duff then had a chance to finish the game in the second minute of injury time when Miller did well to hold up the ball and release him. The substitute watched in disbelief as his fierce shot was tipped over the bar. The referee finally blew for full time and booked Diamond, Murray and Gibson for a little jostling off the ball.