There was more frustration for the Dons as Ross County held out for a stalemate at Pittodrie in the first game of 2023.
Jim Goodwin made three changes to the Aberdeen side beaten at Kilmarnock last Wednesday with Anthony Stewart, Leighton Clarkson and Christian Ramirez all starting the game as Aberdeen reverted to a back four. Ross McCrorie made his 100th appearance for the Dons. Connor Barron and Ryan Duncan started on the bench, with Jack MacKenzie absent from the matchday squad. Jonny Hayes was back among the substitutes.
There were two changes to the Ross County side that lost 3-0 at Tannadice. Replacing Victor Loturi and the suspended Owura Edwards were Callum Johnson and Kazeem Olaigbe.
We were 20 seconds into the game when the giant figure of Iacovitti threw himself to the floor after Bojan Miovski brushed past him. The referee was rightly disinterested.
Matty Kennedy was on the run down the right on four minutes, Duk heading over at the back post. A couple of minutes later, Miovski was chasing a long ball, Laidlaw well off his line to head clear outside the box. It was part of a strong opening from the Dons, without them creating a clear opportunity.
There was nearly one on 13 minutes when Ramirez went to ground under pressure in the box, but there was no foul according to the referee. The in-form Kennedy wriggled into space in the box a couple of minutes later and there were hand ball claims as his shot at goal was blocked but again, nothing doing.
A nicely worked move from the Dons after 21 minutes ended with Ramirez firing straight at Laidlaw from 20 yards after good work by Clarkson, Kennedy and Miovski. The referee then went back to book Randall for a late challenge on Clarkson during the move.
Ylber Ramadani was left needing treatment on 24 minutes after an accidental collision on halfway, but he was quickly fit to carry on. A lung-buster of a run from McCrorie won the Dons a corner a minute later, but sadly that came to nothing.
Iacovitti kept his side level on 27 with a brilliant block on the line. Duk's fierce effort from a tight angle was palmed across goal by Laidlaw, dropping invitingly for Kennedy at the back post. He caught it with a full blooded drive but Iacovitti somehow got across to clear.
Clarkson had his first pop at goal on 34 minutes, a well struck effort from 30 yards out, Laidlaw doing well to get everything behind it to save. Three minutes later, Miovski couldn't quite get the ball under control on the edge of the six yard box to get a shot away, then a Kennedy shot from the edge of the area was well handled by Laidlaw, as the Dons started to turn up the wick.
In added time another low cross from Kennedy caused confusion in the County box, the ball ricocheting off Callachan into the hands of Laidlaw as the half ended goalless.
HALF-TIME: ABERDEEN 0 ROSS COUNTY 0
Ross County replaced Dhanda with Cancola at the break. They started brightly with a dangerous cross from Olaigbe, Clarkson tracking back to clear. A minute later, Clarkson was at the other end, guiding a volley over the bar from 14 yards out.
There was plenty of pressure again from the Dons in the early stages of the second half, but County continued to get men behind the ball and held firm. They brought on Hiwula for Olaigbe on 63 minutes, the Dons replacing Ramirez with Hayes. Hiwula was in the book within two minutes after hacking down McCrorie.
Miovski tried the spectacular on 70 minutes, his overhead kick flashing through the six yard box but bouncing safe, as time started to ebb away for Aberdeen. A real stramash followed in the 73rd minute, Duk, Kennedy and Miovski all having efforts at goal blocked in the same move by the massed white shirts of the visitors. White was then replaced by Samuel, Aberdeen then bringing on Barron and Vicente Besuijen for Clarkson and Miovski.
Kennedy looked the man most likely to break the deadlock, driving into the box on 79 minutes but Besuijen hesitated before getting his shot away and County had the chance to block the ball behind.
Besuijen was a whisker away in the 82nd minute, getting on the end of a fine cross from Hayes, Laidlaw just able to clutch the ball on the line. County then made their last change, Callachan replaced by Paton. McCrorie went rampaging forward again on 86 minutes but drove his effort well over the bar from 20 yards.
Good work from Stewart and Barron gave Coulson a shot at goal on 88 minutes, the ball deflected behind for a corner, which Laidlaw came to collect near the penalty spot.
Watson was in the book after hauling Duk down in the 89th minute, Ryan Duncan then replacing Kennedy. Hayes' free-kick picked out Duncan, but it was a comfortable take for the goalkeeper.
Only four minutes of extra time was added.
McCrorie deserved a goal on 92, galloping forward to win a ball that was 70/30 in the County defender's favour, but his effort drifted just wide of the far post as he put the ball across the face of goal. A moment later, Samuel was yellow carded for a swipe at Liam Scales.
Duncan had the last effort of the day, blazing over the bar from the corner of the box as the game ended in stalemate.