Aberdeen today lined up with Langfield in goal, Tate at right back, Anderson and Reynolds were in central defence and Andrew Considine on his return was at left back. It was the usual midfield with Robson, Flood, Jack and McGinn with Pawlett playing his free role in behind Vernon. The Dons won their first corner on 24 seconds. After a couple of headers across the face of goal Brill did well to come and claim the ball under pressure. It was noticeable that the Dons, who have not started recent games very well, were instructed to get in about Inverness from the kick off.
On 5 minutes a cross by Tate caused problems but the visitors cleared and then Inverness put together a very good break. The ball was worked wide before a cross very nearly landed at the feet of McKay but thankfully the striker, who has been in great form, was unable to control. On 6 minutes Pawlett was seen for the first time and his run won the Dons a corner. Anderson was penalised for a push. A minute later the Dons won another corner but this time Vernon was penalised. On 8 minutes Considine, with his first touch since his return,put in alonely little cross which found the head of Vernon but the striker was not able to get enough on the ball and his glancing header went wide.
The Dons had started well but McKay had already shown he would be a threat if Inverness got the ball forward quickly.
After 14 minutes it was corner number four. Robson swung it in, the wind caught it and for a moment Brill looked very concerned but the ball just went over his bar. It was from the same side that Robson scored direct from a corner against St Mirren, he very nearly repeated the trick. Aberdeen then should have had a penalty when a Pawlett cross struck the outstretched arm of Tremarco in the box but the referee gave a corner. The linesman was in the perfect position to see it. From another corner the ball was eventually played out to Considine and he again put over a great cross which hit Tremarco and went behind. The ball was not far away from the net, the defender did not know much about it.
20 minutes gone and you felt it was only a matter of time before Aberdeen scored. The Dons were well on top during those first 20 minutes. Inverness had two banks of four, who were all almost camped in their own penalty area.
Then on 21 minutes incredibly Inverness against the run of play (understatement) took the lead. The ball was worked down the right before a cross came over from Doran, McKay crucially got the slightest of touches to flick it on which took the ball away from Tate and Williams, who was now unmarked at the back post area, hammered the ball past Langfield. A very fine finish.
Once again Aberdeen paid the penalty at home for not scoring when they were so much on top.
Aberdeen tried to get themselves back on level terms quickly. On 25 minutes a corner was hit deep for Anderson who won the header and the skipper put over a powerful header which Brill, with one hand claimed at the second attempt. The keeper was very fortunate that he did not lose control.
On 26 minutes there was a very emotional minute's applause for Aberdeen fan Cammy Smith who sadly lost his brave battle with leukaemia.
Just before the half hour mark there was a passage of play that saw chances for both ends. Liam Polworth, son of former Aberdeen player Ian, was the first player to be booked on 27 minutes when he tripped Considine. From the free kick the ball was played in and again bounced about a few times before Inverness cleared. They then broke at pace and the ball was worked to Doran who was in on goal. He put in a low shot across the face of goal but Langfield made a very decent save. Then it was the Dons turn to break and Pawlett got free for the first time. Devine did well to stay with him so he could not get completely clear forcing Peter to cross the ball for McGinn who was not far away from getting a touch before the ball was played behind for yet another corner. Robson swung it in for Anderson who knocked it back into the danger area. Tate was able to get a shot on target but it was blocked.
Aberdeen were putting tremendous pressure on the Inverness defence but they could not get a clean header from any of the set pieces. Inverness were continuing to defend well and look threatening on the break. They were also starting to knock the ball about with confidence and put some good moves together. This led to a couple of chances for John Hughes' side. On 33 minutes McKay had an opening from a Shinnie pass, the striker got half a yard on Considine but put his shot wide. A minute later the Dons defence claimed for offside, but Brines waved play on. Danny Williams played the ball across the face of goal and McKay really should have scored but mistimed the pace of the ball and was unable to connect. A let off for the Dons.
Aberdeen continued to push forward but on 42 minutes Langfield was forced to make another good save when again Williams at the back post area was able to get a shot on target. The Dons finished the half with another corner, they were now into double figures for the corner count but again they failed to create anything.
A frustrating first half.
Aberdeen never really got going at the start of the second half and they were very nearly made to pay as on 50 minutes they had a major let off. Danny Williams, who had a very good game down the left, again did well and his ball was not cleared, it fell to the feet of McKay but his shot was blocked. The Northern Ireland international really should have burst the net but credit to Mark Reynolds who made a good block. It should have been goal number 19 for the season. He then had another chance shortly after that but Anderson did really well to get back and make an excellent tackle.
Aberdeen were still struggle to get anything going and the home fans were starting to get frustrated. The refereeing performance of Ian Brines was also beginning to frustrate some.
On 58 minutes finally a Dons move that led to a chance. Robson played it to Flood who played it to Tate and he delivered a good cross which picked out Anderson but his header went over as the skipper got underneath it. Just before the hour mark Derek McInnes made a double substitution. Barry Robson came off and was replace by Jonny Hayes and Alan Tate came off with Joe Shaughnessy replaced him. Shaughnessy went to right back and Hayes to right midfield. On 64 minutes the final change saw Scott Vernon being replaced by Josh Magennis.
The Dons really needed to do something to get the crowd into it again and Willo Flood, hero last week, very nearly produced the goods. On 69 minutes Jack had a shot which was blocked. The ball fell for Flood at the edge of the area who hit a cracking dipping shot which appeared to be heading into the net but Brill made an excellent save and managed to tip the ball over the bar.
The Dons fought hard for the next ten minutes and there were some meaty challenges going in in the middle of the park but they just could not create anything. On 79 minutes Flood gave the ball away and Graeme Shinnie with a great left footed shot hit the post. On 82 minutes Shinnie was penalised for a foul on Shaughnessy at the edge of the area. McGinn took the free kick and tried to curl it round the wall which he did but the ball hit the side netting with Brill not looking too concerned.
It was going to have to be another late show if the Dons were going to get anything out of this one but in truth they never looked like scoring. In fact Caly should have added to their lead. On 84 minutes the Dons were caught out and Shinnie was through. He unselfishly squared it for McKay who really should have won the game for Inverness but he pulled his shot past the post. The striker could have had a few goals today but his pace was a constant threat.
On 87 minutes McGinn had half an opening inside the area but he decided not to go for the volley and allow the ball to come down. By then the defence were back in place and were able to block his shot and then clear. Two minutes of injury time passed without any concern for the visitors. The Dons did not get the break of the ball all afternoon but you have to give Inverness credit for the way they defended and the pace they showed on the break.