Aberdeen missed out on the chance to go top of the SPL after a second home defeat on the bounce as the Dons crippling injury list took its toll. This time it was in form Inverness, who, fresh from victory at Celtic Park the previous Saturday, picked up maximum points at Pittodrie. The Dons had recovered from being a goal down to lead 2-1 just after the half time break after 2 goals from Josh Magennis but it wasn't to last and defensive lapses cost them dearly.
This game came with the Dons in the midst of a major injury crisis with many top team players absent. Isaac Osbourne had been the latest to be added to that in the hard fought victory at Easter Road 4 days before and the side had a distinct makeshift look about it. Jamie Langfield started behind a back three of Reynolds, Anderson and Considine with Shaugnessey, Vernon, Magennis and Clark in midfield and a front three of McGinn, Fallon and Hayes.
The Dons started the game well and had a few chances early on. Josh Magennis was first to test Anotnio Rugero when he drove from midfield into the box and eventually unleashed a shot. The Spanish goalkeeper got down well to his right to stop the Dons from going ahead.
Joe Shaughnessy was next to have a shot at goal for the home side when he blasted over from outside the box as the home side kept up the early pressure. On 13 minutes a shot from Johnny Hayes was deflected out for a corner kick which he took himself. A neat exchange in the box followed before the ball fell to Magennis- but his shot was also deflected out for another corner by Meekings.
When Scott Vernon picked up the ball in midfield on 20 minutes, it looked like he may set Fallon through on goal but unfortunately for the Dons the ball was intercepted by the resolute Caley defence.
The aforementioned Dons injury list then got another addition as Chris Clark had to be replaced on 29 minutes. A couple of minutes before that Clark had tackled Aaron Doran in midfield but injured himself and picked up a booking in the process. He was replaced by another youngster, Jamie Masson.
Throughout the game there were spells of driving rain and Langfield did well to hold an inviting cross from Doran in the slippery conditions. At the other end Vernon had a shot at goal but it sailed over the cross bar.
Caley then took the lead in controversial circumstances. Substitute Masson appeared to be fouled by Richie Foran on the halfway line but no foul was given by referee Alan Muir. The visitors capitalised and broke down field from where Doran fired in a cross that Billy McKay touched into the net beyond Langfield. There were protests from some of the Dons players but the goal stood- much to the anger of the Red Army.
Referee Muir continued to be centre of attention as the Dons tried to get themselves back in the game. Warren was booked for a foul on Russell Anderson and from the free kick the ball headed for Fallon in the box. He appeared to be fouled but the referee saw no harm in the challenge. The ball though nearly fell neatly for Vernon but he just couldn't spin round quick enough to make a decent connection and Caley averted the danger.
The Dons weren't to be denied though and got themselves level, a minute into added time in the first half. Rory Fallon held the ball up well and found Johnny Hayes who crossed for Magennis to fire home confidently. It was a deserved equaliser but Magennis was then booked by the referee for his ensuing celebration.
The start of the second half was delayed as Alan Muir had to be replaced by the fourth official, Craig Charleston. After an appeal for a qualified referee to become fourth official, one was found and the game got back underway. The Dons started the half superbly and played some attractive stuff in the opening stages. Hayes was causing a problem for Caley down the right and won a couple of free kicks and corners. From one of them Rugero tipped over a Shaugnessy cross while another resulted in Hayes himself firing into the side netting.
On 49 minutes the pressure paid off when Magennis got the better of Josh Meekings and superbly flicked the ball over Reguero and into the bottom corner of the net. It was a great finish from the Northern Irishman and the delight of the Red Army was clear to see around Pittodrie.
That joy wasn't to last for too long though as Inverness got themselves back level just 8 minutes later. Johnny Hayes miscalculated a clearance and lofted the ball out for a corner kick. Doran took the kick and an unmarked Gary Warren ghosted into the box and scored past the stranded Langfield to even the game up.
Hayes then attempted to make up for poor defending and went on a fantastic surging run from inside his own half. As Caley defenders stood off him, he eventually unleashed a magnificent shot from 25 yards out which narrowly missed the target.
At the other end Inverness were beginning to become a continual threat and were beginning to take advantage of some obvious frailties in the Dons defence. Langfield had to get down well to stop an inadvertent touch from Scott Vernon finding the back of his own net before Caley should have gone ahead. Another through ball sailed beyond the Dons defence towards Shinnie and he was in a fantastic position to go for goal but unselfishly decided to square it for Foran but did so poorly and the chance was wasted. Shinnie had another chance not long after and with frustration growing around the stands, Vernon was booked for a challenge on 73 minutes.
There was a long stoppage after Reguero and Magennis inadvertently clashed and Masson was replaced by Cammy Smith for the remaining 11 minutes. But disaster was to strike for the Dons a few minutes later when captain Russell Anderson made an uncharacteristic error. A high lofted ball into the box was chested down by Anderson but only into the path of McKay who pounced to score his second and Caley's third of the evening. It was probably deserved given the visitors' domination of the previous 20 minute spell but none the less the Dons defender will feel he should have done better.
That blow was enough to condemn the depleted Dons to defeat despite a late flurry of pressure on the Inverness goal. Aberdeen missed out on the chance to go to top of the SPL- surely though with a full strength team it won't be long before they have an opportunity to do so again.