An extraordinary Scottish Cup tie saw the Dons twice climb off the canvas to save themselves from elimination and still find enough in the tank to progress to the quarter-finals of the competition without the need for penalties. 1-0 down after 87 minutes, 2-1 ahead in the second minute of extra time, 3-2 down to after 118 minutes yet win 4-3 at the end of extra time.
Aberdeen made two changes to the side that lost narrowly to Celtic on Sunday. Midfielders Dylan McGeouch and Craig Bryson come into the starting XI in place of Shay Logan and the injured Funso Ojo. The Dons therefore lined up with a 3-5-2 formation, like they did at Hamilton.
Aberdeen kicked off, shooting away from the sizable Red Army. Heavy rain all afternoon had made the artificial surface quite lively but conditions at kick-off were not too bad for a night in February. The Dons had some good early pressure and tested the home defence with some crosses. It was a strong, fast start with Connor McLennan heavily involved. The Reds were keen to get the winger one on one with Niko Hamalainen as often as they could.
Joe Lewis had his first touch after four minutes when a long ball looking for Eamonn Brophy went through to the keeper. A few minutes later, Brophy had the first shot of the game but Lewis was well positioned to make a comfortable save.
On ten minutes, a poor pass from Hamalainen almost allowed Main in but Kirk Broadfoot came across to make a very good block. The ball then bounced kindly for the home side and they were able to mount a counter-attack. Stephen O'Donnell played in a good ball which found Brophy but McKenna did very well to play the ball off the Kilmarnock player and win a goal kick. Dicker then played in a good ball but Lewis claimed it with confidence. Just before the 15 minute mark, Matty Kennedy had some space to run into with Stephen O'Donnell out of position but Chris Burke did well to track back and win the ball.
After a very good start by the Dons, the home side had come into the game and by the 20 minute mark, possession was very even. A Craig Bryson foul gave Kilmarnock a free-kick out wide. Chris Burke saw his first ball in cleared by McLennan, but Burke did better with the second ball in and as Aberdeen struggled to clear their lines, Killie claimed for a penalty when they believed the ball hit Bryson's arm, purely accidentally. A minute later, Niall McGinn, out on the left, tried to catch out Branescu with an early shot but his effort from distance was always going wide.
On 25 minutes, a Burke free-kick was well taken again by Lewis but the home side were starting to build some pressure. A minute later, Dylan McGeouch was forced to make a last ditch tackle as Stephen O'Donnell broke forward. It was a magnificent tackle by the midfielder as Kilmarnock broke quickly after an Aberdeen attack faltered.
Half an hour in and as the wind picked up, the game started to become a real midfield scrap, with a number of fouls. From one of them, McGinn?s free-kick was played into a dangerous area but headed clear by Alan Power.
Some 35 minutes in, and neither keeper had really had a save to make. It was always going to be a tense and tight evening and so it was proving to be. On 38 minutes, good work by Matty Kennedy won the first corner of the game. A training ground routine saw McLennan have a shot blocked before the offside flag went up. A planned move, Connor got plenty of power in his shot but the Killie defence did well to get a block in. Then a McKenna foul gave Burke another chance to put a ball into the area. The Dons defence were looking as solid as their Killie counterparts.
With five minutes of the half remaining, the rain started to come down strongly again. Just as it looked like the sides would go in at the break level after a first half stalemate, on 42 minutes Kilmarnock took the lead. From a half chance, El Makrini produced an overhead kick which he did not catch cleanly but got enough on the ball to take it away from Joe Lewis and into the corner of the net.
Half time: Kilmarnock 1-0 Aberdeen
The Dons made a triple change at half-time with Logan, Campbell and Cosgrove replacing McLennan, Bryson and McGeouch. The new look Dons certainly tried to up the tempo. On 50 minutes, they won a free-kick in a good area but McGinn saw the wind catch his free kick. Aberdeen were now playing with a strong wide at their back.
Two minutes later, Aberdeen won their second corner of the game but it was headed away by O'Donnell. McGinn then put over a dangerous cross which Branescu half punched clear. After a good switch of play, Considine put over another good ball which Stuart Findlay defended very well.
Aberdeen were pressing hard whilst the home side were happy to sit deep and to hit on the break. On 55 minutes, there was concern when Lewis Ferguson went down with a knock, but thankfully the midfielder was able to recover. On the hour mark, Kennedy did well down his wing but his cross failed to find a red jersey. A good spell for the visitors but they were unable to work a clear opening.
On 62 minutes, Brophy missed a great opportunity to get a second when he was put through one on one with Lewis but the Aberdeen captain, as so often, was there to save the day. The Kilmarnock striker did well to did well to beat the offside trap but could not get the better of the goalkeeper.
On 64 minutes, Chris Burke was booked for tripping Kennedy. Referee Nick Walsh had allowed a number of things to go, but had no choice but to produce his first yellow card. Three minutes later, Taylor headed a free-kick clear but then was adjudged to have given away a first Killie corner. The Dons defence stood firm with a quarter of the game to go.
Aberdeen then enjoyed a really good spell. On 70 minutes Considine swung the ball in but Main could not quite get his head to the ball at the back post. Credit to Hamalainen who did just enough to put off the striker. A minute later, Cosgrove cushioned the ball down to McGinn who miskicked inside the area. It was probably the best chance up to that point.
A few minutes later, Kennedy countered well and found McGinn who, with the outside of his foot curled the ball from edge of the area just wide. Niall felt he should have had a fre- kick as he was impeded as he tried to get his shot away.
With ten minutes to go could Aberdeen get a break in front of goal? They claimed for a penalty when a Logan cross appeared to hit an arm. As Aberdeen appealed, Killie broke down the right, the ball fell to Brophy but he curled his effort inches wide. A real let off for the Dons as the striker should have scored.
On 81 minutes, Considine won a free-kick but was also booked for heavy challenge on El Makrini after the free-kick had been given. McKenna headed the Campbell set piece wide. Then on 85 minutes, Considine headed a McGinn header just over. It was a reasonable chance, but Andy could not keep it down.
It was now or never. On 88 minutes, Lewis Ferguson won a free-kick in a really good area. Could Aberdeen make the pressure pay? A quality ball in from McGinn and Andy Considine was there to head home. The Red Army behind the goal went wild as the Dons players celebrated in front of them.
Both teams now had chances to win it. O'Donnell gave away the ball which presented a chance for Ferguson but his shot was off target, then Brophy had another shooting chance which went wide, before in the second and last minute of added time, a superb Niall McGinn cross found Sam Cosgrove and his header clipped the top of the bar. So close to a dramatic finish.
Full time: Kilmarnock 1 Aberdeen 1
On 92 minutes, Curtis Main did well to work an opening after a Sam Cosgrove flick on and his powerful shot was blocked by Branescu, but the ball was deflected into the path of Matty Kennedy was there to head into the empty net and grab his first goal for Aberdeen. What a time to do it! It was good reactions from Matty, who had a really good game.
After 95 minutes, a promising break led to Campbell having a shot from 15 yards out but it was straight at the Killie keeper. A minute later Brophy, went down in the area but the referee waved away the appeals. The same player then went to ground on 98 minutes and won himself a free-kick 25 yards out. Brophy took it and found the net with a fine effort. Lewis, diving to his right got a hand on it, but could not keep the ball out of the net and we were all level again.
On 100 minutes, Hamalainen fired in a shot which Lewis did well to hold onto, then a minute later came a real let off for the Dons when Brophy cut inside from the left and cracked a shot off the post. The Dons then made their additional sub in extra time when Ash Taylor was replaced by Mikey Devlin.
Half-time extra-time: Kilmarnock 2 Aberdeen 2
Aberdeen had a problem in the final period of extra time as Matty Kennedy was really struggling. He had run himself into the ground. On 107 minutes, McGinn rolled a free-kick to Campbell but Dean could not keep his shot down and it went over the bar.
After a quiet spell, on 116 minutes, Kilmarnock went back in front. It was poor defending from Aberdeen which allowed Kabamba to score from close after a cross came in far too easily from the right and then Devlin failed to deal with it.
A minute later, Brophy was replaced by youngster Connor Johnson, but the substitute was about to have a night to forget. On 118 minutes, he went thundering in late on Lewis Ferguson as he made his way into the area and Aberdeen had a penalty. There was incredible pressure on Sam Cosgrove but the striker coolly sent the keeper the wrong way and slotted home and, with only a few minutes remaining, the game was surely going to penalties?
In the final minute, Aberdeen took the lead. Logan played the ball to Campbell and young Dean cleverly floated it in for Considine who get the better of O?Donnell. The left back then kept the ball in play and whipped in a cross, and as Main went to challenged, the ball came off the unfortunate Johnson and landed in his own net. The Dons were through. Quite how Andy had the energy to get that far up the park is remarkable but once again the defender was the man for Aberdeen.
What a hero. What a night.