Craig Brown made five changes to the side this afternoon. The Dons lined up in a 4-4-2 formation with Shaughnessy at right back, Anderson was reunited with Reynolds in central defence and Gary Naysmith came in at left back. His experience has certainly been missed in recent months. The midfield four were Jack, Hughes, Rae and Milsom with Fallon and McGinn up front.
On 3 minutes Stephen Hughes played a great ball down the channel for McGinn to chase. This gave the Dons good territory from which to attack and from that they created two great chances. Hughes got to the by-line and played in a brilliant cross for Fallon. The striker managed to get his head on it but he failed to get the direction he was looking for and the ball looped over the bar. Then a minute later an even better chance when the ball was played across goal again and somehow from a couple of yards out a Rob Milsom shot hit Bell and the ball went across the face of goal. Rob's reaction told the story - he really should have scored.
The Dons forced a series of corners before taking the lead on 6 minutes with a stunning strike. The ball fell to Fallon on the edge of the box and the big striker hit a superb dipping shot over the head of Cammy Bell who had absolutely no chance. The ball sat up nicely for the striker and as soon as he connected with it looked a goal. The home side were struggling but on 14 minutes Aberdeen had a major let off. The ball came in from the left and beat a couple of Aberdeen players. It eventually fell to Heffernan who turned well and shot quickly but thankfully the ball trickled just past the post. Langfield was unsighted so would have had no chance had the shot been on target.
Kilmarnock had a number of injuries to their starting XI and their makeshift defence were not coping with Fallon in the air. On 16 minutes, again a good ball was played into the box and not cleared. It eventually fell to Niall McGinn who had all the time to control it, look up and shoot. His shot left Bell stranded but unfortunately the swerve took into onto the post. It really was a great strike. On 21 minutes McGinn then managed to make his way to the by-line. His low cross to the near post was met by Milsom but the defender and goalkeeper did just enough to snuff out the shot. From the resulting corner Fallon headed weakly over the bar.
Kilmarnock were starting to come more into the game at this point and force the Dons onto the back foot and on 28 minutes Langfield made a very good save from Heffernan. The striker got the break of the ball at the edge of the box which meant he had space to get a shot away. His low effort took a horrible bounce in front of Langers but the Dons keeper at full strength managed to get a strong enough hand on the ball and push it over the bar. Just after the half hour mark the Dons won another corner. Jack swung the ball in and Shaughnessy had a great chance after making a fine late run but he failed to connect with his header. Four minutes later the two players combined again to create an even better opening. Jack crossed from the right and Shaughnessy again made a late run into the box which was no tracked. His low shot was pushed just wide - another really good chance.
The Dons were made to pay for all those misses when on 39 minutes Kilmarnock got an undeserved equaliser. A simple long ball was not dealt with by the Aberdeen defence and Gros was clean through. The striker actually took a bad touch which took the ball away from him but it also took it away from the onrushing Langfield. Heffernan was quickest to it and steered the ball into the empty net. Aberdeen responded well and had two further chances before the break. On 44 minutes Jack wandered in from the right, the Killie left back had been posted missing all afternoon - he cut the ball back to Hughes but his shot was blocked. Then on the stroke of half time Naysmith played in an excellent first time ball from the left. Ryan Jack met it but his header just went over the bar. Ryan had an excellent game this afternoon and you realise on this form how big a miss he has been this season.
I don't quite think any of the Aberdeen players could believe they were going in at half time on level terms. They were by far the better team and had created so many chances. At the start of the second half Killie were forced into a change when Perez limped off. Aberdeen actually played against ten men for a number of minutes until the replacement came on. They created one great chance after an excellent passing move put McGinn in behind on the left area of the penalty box. He drove the ball across goal and former Aberdeen youngster Ryan O'Leary did really well to clear the ball off his own line. On 56 minutes a slip by Hughes gave Kilmarnock a two on two situation. Anderson and Reynolds though did really well to snuff out the danger. The game at this stage was becoming stretched and the next goal was going to absolutely vital.
Aberdeen had a great chance to get that goal on 63 minutes. Fallon knocked down a chipped cross uncontested to the on running McGinn. The Dons striker was cleared bundled off the ball by Sissoko but the referee waved play on. It would have been a big call for the referee to make as a red card would have had to be issued as well. He did not make it. On 66 minutes Craig Brown made his first change of the afternoon. Clark Robertson replaced Gary Naysmith in a straight swap. Just after that the home side had an opening after Langfield failed to deal with a corner but thankfully the Dons defence came to his aid. On 70 minutes Aberdeen made their second change when Hayes replaced Milsom. The final change of the afternoon saw Pawlett replace Jack. By this stage the game had become quite nervy and both teams were struggling to get anything going in an attacking sense. Aberdeen were certainly not playing the same quality of football they had in the first.
Then on 75 minutes the major taking point of the game. Cammy Bell came out to clear the ball. He took a touch but miscontrolled it and McGinn nipped in. Bell then took McGinn down but referee Euan Norris instead of pointing to the spot booked McGinn for diving. A quite astonishing decision. Even the Kilmarnock players looked surprised, none more so than Cammy Bell. The Dons bench erupted with anger. With the league as tight as it is the officials cannot get these clear cut decisions wrong.
Feeling a massive sense of injustice, the Dons battled on and with 10 minutes to go they had a great chance to score. Hayes found himself in the clear and found himself one on one with Bell. His shot was well saved by the Killie keeper and although he was at a tight angle he should have done better. Then on 84 minutes Bell saved again from Hayes after the keeper had initially blocked the run of Pawlett. Bell should not have been on the park after the incident with McGinn. In the final stages Aberdeen won a couple of free kicks in dangerous areas but on both occasions failed to clear the wall.