The Dons lined up with Langfield, in goal, McArdle at right back, Diamond and Vujadinovic in the centre of defence with Andrew Considine moving to left back. Hartley, Young and Folly were the midfield three with Maguire playing just in front of them on the left. Vernon and Magennis were partnered up front, with Josh replacing Sone Aluko after an impressive display in the second half at Easter Road.
Despite not having played for a good number of weeks Hamilton started the game brightly and the defence had to look lively on a number of occasions. After 2 minutes Canning crossed and the Dons defence failed to clear with both Considine and McArdle at fault. The ball fell to Routledge at the edge of the box but he wasted a good chance when he fired high and wide. Then a minute later Derek Lyle got in behind the Dons defence and from a tight angle fired a shot at Langfield but the keepers handing was good.
Aberdeen then won a free kick in a good position but Hartley's delivery was uncharacteristically poor. A minute later Hartley had a chance to atone with another free kick. Although it was a better effort the Hamilton defence were able to clear comfortably.
On 8 minutes McArdle took a long throw in. The ball was flicked on in the air by Vernon and it caused problems in the Hamilton defence who had to give away a corner. Hartley picked out Vujadinovic and although his header bounced just in front of Cerny the Hamilton captain caught the ball cleanly.
Aberdeen were now beginning to look a bit more settled.
On 12 minutes Magennis got in behind Goodwin. The Northern Irishman managed to get his shot away but he did not catch the ball quite as he wanted to. Hamilton won their first corner in the 19th minute and It was a decent cross which Langfield did well to punch clear.
Moments later some outstanding play by Maguire gave the Dons forward the chance to cross, his first effort was cleared but his second forced Cerny to fist the ball clear with Vernon and Magennis both in close attendance.
At the other end a cross picked out Casalinuovo but Vujadinovic did very well to put pressure on him and the ball sailed harmlessly over. The Dons defence were dealing well with any high balls.
After 25 minutes Chris Maguire wasted a golden opportunity to break the deadlock. The ball was played over the top of the Hamilton defence and Maguire found himself in acres of space after a very well timed run. However as he looked across to the linesman he took his eye of the ball and failed to control it. It was encouraging though to see how easily Maguire got in behind the back four. Just before the half hour mark the Dons suffered a major blow. Nikola Vujadinovic had to go off with what looked like another hamstring injury. Hopefully it is not serious as the defender was looking in excellent form. Nikola was replaced by Jerel Ifil who had a fine game at Easter Road when he had to come on there.
Maguire was thumped to the ground by Canning on 33 minutes in a dangerous position, 25 yards out. A number of players lined up to take the free kick but Hartley was always going to be the man. He whipped the ball over the wall but the ball curled just past Cerney's right hand post.37 minutes and Ifil was forced to give away a corner. Langfield caught the ball at the second attempt. He throw a great early ball for Maguire to chase but again Aberdeen were unable to put a good final ball in. Aberdeen were getting plenty of possession in the Hamilton half but the final pass or cross was letting them down.
On 39 minutes referee Craig Thomson felt Ifil had fouled Casalinuovo. It was a shocking decision by 'Scotland's top referee' as Jerel had just used his superior body strength to win the ball. From the free kick, about 30 yards out, Imrie's shot for all the world looked to be heading into the net but Langfield just managed to scramble across and tip the ball wide. A fantastic save.
Brown decided to switch Maguire and Magennis but it was Hamilton who finished the half on top.
Aberdeen started the second half brightly and Maguire and Vernon very nearly linked up. Maguire was again looking very sharp. The young striker has been in fine form over the past couple of months even if the team haven't been.
Flavio Paixao came on for Hamilton after 52 minutes. He was involved straight away and his cross caused problems but again Aberdeen defended well and Ifil put in an excellent tackle. At the other end Maguire had a good run down the right and his cross was on inches away from the on rushing Vernon. Aberdeen then made their second change with Ryan Jack replacing Derek Young in the middle of the park.
At this stage the game was very tight with the first goal going to be absolutely crucial.
Paul Hartley was then booked for very little to be honest.
On the hour mark Maguire and Vernon almost combined again. Maguire did brilliantly to beat his man down the right and his cross was met by Vernon but the ball went just past the post. A few minutes later Aberdeen won a free kick in a dangerous position. Again Vernon won the ball in the air. It looped up and Magennis had half a chance but he was unable to get any power on his effort.
The other Paixao twin then came on as a substitute in a clear sign that Billy Reid was keen to win all three points. Canning was booked after 68 minutes for a shocking tackle on Chris Maguire who once again beat him all ends up. Thankfully Maguire was able to continue. It was the type of tackle that can lead to a serious injury. The game was now becoming very scrappy as both teams were guilty of giving away the ball.
On 75 minutes Aberdeen forced some real pressure on Hamilton. From a Hartley corner there was a penalty appeal for a push on Vernon. Thomson waved play on and the ball came back over and then Hartley and Vernon almost combined but the ball went just went wide. Encouraging signs though and the Red Army were starting to find their voices again.
As a last throw of the dice from the Dons Sone Aluko replaced Josh Magennis. The winger has been struggling with illness over the past week or so. It was a move that was popular with the Aberdeen fans. With Hamilton players beginning to tire badly Aluko's pace would be key. His first touch of the ball very nearly created a chance for himself.
It was now all Aberdeen with Hamilton being caught offside any time they did move into the Aberdeen half.
Just when it looked as if both teams had settled for a draw Aluko picked the ball up on the right. He stepped inside his man and swung the ball into the box. Vernon got a touch on it. Ryan Jack did really well to lay the ball off to Vernon who calmly placed it past Cerny into the net. Get in there! The 1,400 or so Dons fans went wild. So did all the Aberdeen players including Jamie Langfield who ran the length of the park to join in the celebrations.
Aberdeen had one attack to defend but the referee blew his whistle and the Aberdeen fans celebrated again.