Aberdeen's Easter Monday visit to Hamilton summed the season up in so many ways, a nearly afternoon where the Dons could have take three points but came up just short and endured more injuries.
The Dons had enough chances to win about three matches, but again failed to take them in a game which resembled a pre-season friendly at times.
The visitors enjoyed slightly the better of the first period although Hamilton finished the half strongly and the impressive Imrie was unlucky with an effort that rattled the bar. Aberdeen were given the chance to make their possession superiority count early in the second period when a foul on Steven Smith led to a penalty, Chris Maguire's spot kick though was well saved by Cerny. The Hamilton keeper had another fine match.
After Maguire and Vernon messed up a two on one when through on Cerny minutes later, the home side made them pay when they snatched the lead on 63 minutes, Imrie drilling in a shot after Hasselbaink intercepted a pass by Diamond. Langfield had to leave the field in the aftermath with a nasty gash to his face. The Dons rallied though and were well worth their 74th minute equaliser, a Maguire cross setting up Nick Blackman to score at the far post. Aberdeen might have clinched the three points, Blackman firing a shot against the post when again Cerny appeared to get a touch, but it was another case of so close, yet so far.
Manager Craig Brown made one change from the side that lost at Hampden. Michael Paton replaced Josh Magennis. The visitors started the game well and Scott Vernon was given a chance after an excellent early ball from Derek Young. The striker however tried to get the ball onto his right foot and the chance was lost. Chris Maguire forced Tomas Cerney into a good save after six minutes. The Dons were dominating the possession and knocking about well in the Lanarkshire sunshine. They were looking particularly dangerous from corners and Diamond almost set up Aluko but he did not get enough contact on the ball.
On 18 minutes Sone Aluko, playing on the right, cut inside a couple of players and after doing well to create a shooting opportunity his shot was not up to his build up play and trundled along the ground to the Hamilton keeper. On 25 minutes Derek Young again played in an excellent cross field ball from the right. Aluko was unmarked at the back post but the cross was just a little too high for the winger.
Just after the half hour mark Maguire then forced an excellent save from Cerney after a free kick from 30 yards. Maguire managed to get the ball up and over the wall and into the corner but Cerney covered his ground well. The keeper then made an even better save from the resulting corner. Milsom swung in another good ball and Considine thought he had scored from his header but Cerney got down well to his left.
From a position of looking dominant, Aberdeen allowed the home side back into the game after they made a tactical switch and the Dons were forced further and further back. On 36 minutes McLaughlin headed just over from a corner, minutes later Hopkirk did exactly the same. On 43 minutes Diamond blocked a shot from Buchanan that looked goal bound.
The home side were now well on top and the Dons were camped inside their own half. A minute later the lively Hasselbaink put an excellent curling shot just over and then Dougie Imrie went even closer when he rattled the bar. The Aberdeen players would have been glad to hear the half time whistle although maybe less glad to hear what Craig and Archie had to say.
In the second half, after a few strong words from the management team, Aberdeen came back into the game and on 50 minutes were awarded a penalty when Steve Smith was taken down by ex Don Gary McDonald. It was an excellent run by the left back and although technically it probably was a foul it did look a soft pen.
Maguire though, who checked his run up, saw his effort saved by Cerney. It was a good save but the ball was not in the corner and was at a comfortable high for the former Sigma Olomouc keeper. Minutes later Maguire was through one on one with the keeper but he unselfishly decided to square the ball to Vernon and McLaughlin did really well to put in a saving tackle. The Dons really should have scored and Maguire might have been better going himself. Inbetween all that Langfield made a fine double save,
The Dons were made to pay for those misses when Diamond gave the ball away on 63 minutes to the Hasselbaink with a careless pass. He played Imrie in who slotted the ball past Langfield. The keeper received a nasty facial injury in the process when he collided with Diamond and had to be replaced by Mark Howard.
Shortly after that Ryan Jack hobbled off and was replaced by Josh Magennis. The Dons now had no real holding midfielders on the park and the game became end to end.
Aberdeen continued to created chances with all those attacking players on the park. Vernon shot over from distance, Paton made space for himself and clipped the top of the bar. On 74 minutes though the Dons finally scored. Aluko played a good ball to Maguire. The striker did really well and put in a low cross from the left for substitute Blackman who timed his run well at the back post and he fired home.
In the last 15 minutes the game was even more end to end as both teams went for the three points. Blackman showed great skill to set up Megennis but his touch let him down. On 77 minutes Blackman was unlucky not to get a second when he hit the post with a snap shot. The striker claimed afterwards the keeper had saved it, probably his best save of the afternoon. On 87 minutes Smith played a great ball in for Blackman but the striker got it all wrong. He just needed to glance the ball to the back post but he landed up getting a heavy touch and put the ball past the near post. In the final minute Maguire and Aluko combined but again they failed to get a winner which might have been deserved considering all the chances Aberdeen created.
Aberdeen : Langfield, Young, Smith, Paton, Considine, Diamond, Maguire, Jack, Milsom, Vernon, Aluko.
Hamilton: Cerny, Kilday, Neil, Mensing, Buchanan, McAlister, Hopkirk, Chambers, McDonald, Imrie, Hasselbaink.