Aberdeen extend their unbeaten run in Kilmarnock to 17 games.
There were two enforced changes to the starting XI for the Dons after the 2-0 at St Mirren in the Scottish Cup up on Saturday night with Scott McKenna missing with injury and Dean Campbell suspended after his red card against Ross County. In to replace them were Michael Devlin and Connor McLennan - making his 50th appearance for the Dons - with Jon Gallagher, Ryan Hedges and young Jack MacKenzie adding to the matchday 18 on the bench, Sam Cosgrove and Craig Bryson both absent from Saturday's substitutes.
Seventh placed Kilmarnock made three changes to the side that lost 3-1 at Celtic on February 23rd, Dario Del Fabro, Mohamed El Makrini and Alan Power replaced by Rory McKenzie, Greg Kiltie and Chris Burke.
Unusually for the last couple of months, the game on the artificial surface started in good conditions, cold but dry. Aberdeen started brightly, fashioning a chance for Niall McGinn in the third minute, the Northern Irish international firing just over from 20 yards after a tidy lay-off from Curtis Main.
The hosts won the game's first corner in the ninth minute, Burke's delivery eluding everyone. Killie recaptured possession and McKenzie unleashed a ferocious effort from distance, Joe Lewis doing well to palm it away.
A good touch around halfway from Brophy in the 12th minute took him away from Devlin. Advancing on goal down the left, from just inside the box he slashed a shot across the face of goal, the ball thumping against the base of the far post before bouncing clear. The same player then had another chance when he forced Lewis into a smart stop at his near post.
Lewis Ferguson had a great chance to open the scoring on 15 minutes, McLennan crossing well on the turn, the ball bouncing off Ferguson from close range before he had chance to properly react, Branescu saving comfortably.
A minute later, Killie had a penalty, the harshest of decisions against Ash Taylor who had rushed out to block a McKenzie shot, the ball striking the back of his arm as he went side on to the attacker. To add insult to injury, Taylor was booked, then Brophy stepped up to send Lewis the wrong way and give his side the lead.
It was 2-0 in the 22nd minute, Kiltie the scorer, Findlay playing it through to him on the edge of the box. A clever turn from Kiltie gave him a yard of space to get his shot away, the ball taking enough of a deflection to drift it away from Lewis and into the net. In the first quarter of the game, the hosts were that bit sharper and quicker to the ball, causing the Dons all kinds of trouble.
A free-kick wide out on the left from Burke had Lewis stretching to pluck the ball out of the air in the 27th minute as the home side continued to play with real confidence.
Aberdeen gradually started to roll the tide back around the half hour mark, but they were struggling to fashion a real chance to get back into the game. They won a first corner in the 37th minute after some good possession, but Killie were able to hack the ball clear.
A minute later, though, the Dons scored a cracker, good patience from Ferguson down the right eventually giving McLennan chance to fire in a low cross, McGinn manufacturing a terrific first time finish, fetching the ball almost from behind him but still getting enough on it to bullet the ball past Branescu from 12 yards.
The Dons were a yard quicker to everything now after that sluggish start, pinning Kilmarnock back into their final third as they pressed for an equaliser. Time eventually ran out for them in the first half, but after a poor first half an hour, Aberdeen had at least clawed their way back into the game, Devlin producing a terrific piece of defending right at the death to cut out a dangerous looking cross from Burke.
HALF-TIME: KILMARNOCK 2 ABERDEEN 1
After a scrappy start to the half, Aberdeen were back on terms in the 50th minute. It came from great work by Matty Kennedy wide on the left, scorching past O'Donnell before crossing into the near post where McLennan finished the job, ghosting in to nod home from close range.
It could have been three a minute later, McLennan darting away into space on the left and producing a fine cross, Devlin unable to get quite enough on his header to beat Branescu.
Main had an even better chance in the 55th minute, Funso Ojo's persistence seeing him bundle his way into the box, the ball lobbing up for Main at the back post, just that shade too high for him to get a comfortable connection on it, putting his header just wide.
Killie finally got out of their own half on the hour, winning a corner on their left. Well worked it was too, McKenzie putting it deep to the back post, O'Donnell charging in to meet it on the volley, Lewis producing a great save to tip the ball over.
Ferguson collected a yellow card on the 64th minute, pulling Kiltie down on halfway as Kilmarnock tried to break quickly, Logan following him into the book a minute later. From the resulting free-kick, Brophy smashed one at goal from fully 35 yards, Lewis sharply across to his left to save as the pendulum swung again.
McLennan collected the Dons' fourth card of the night in the 68th minute for a late challenge as the home side began to impose themselves. The game was becoming much more stretched as Kilmarnock's extra week between games started to help them come back into things.
The game became fractious as Findlay suggested that Ferguson should collect a second yellow card after nothing more than a collision between the two. The same with McLennan moments later. Aberdeen then withdrew McLennan in the 75th minute, Bruce Anderson replacing him.
Findlay had a golden chance in the 76th minute, getting up to win a header eight yards out, right in the centre of the goal, only to put it over the bar. Three minutes later, the referee somehow missed a blatant foul on Ferguson in the D, then booking Kennedy alone after he and O'Donnell were ripping the shirts off each other's backs.
Five minutes to go and O'Donnell fired in a dangerous cross from the right, Kabamba rising to meet it, Lewis clutching the ball with a sharp save. The same player then produced a quick turn in the box three minutes later before snatching at his shot and putting it well wide.
Findlay wasn't far away in the 89th minute, his shot from ten yards out well blocked by Andrew Considine, a crucial intervention. The Dons then replaced McGinn with Ryan Hedges. Killie kept pressing, Kabamba up well to meet a Hamalainen cross, but putting his effort well wide of goal. That miss sealed the draw, probably a fair refection of the evening's play.