It was honours even at Pittodrie as Aberdeen were held to a 1-1 draw against Kilmarnock, who deservedly took a point back to Ayrshire.
Kari Arnason, Greg Stewart and Nicky Maynard were brought back into the starting XI with Ryan Christie, Dominic Ball and Adam Rooney dropping to the bench. After midweek injury concerns, Greg Tansey and Gary Mackay-Steven made the bench. Still chasing their first win of the season, Kilmarnock fielded a defensive line-up hoping to keep the back door closed and set up the aim of finding a goal on the break.
The Dons applied some early pressure straight from kick-off with a couple of corners, but neither troubled goalkeeper Jamie Macdonald. Killie playing 10 men behind the ball, were happy to give up possession. Aberdeen did their best to stretch the game as they looked for an opening.Their patience paid off after 10 minutes when Graeme Shinnie settled himself at the edge of the box after a decent little move. The skipper fired a bending cross which broke kindly for Stevie May. It was bread and butter for Stevie who control the ball before lashed it home. A deserved lead for The Dons and the perfect start.
At this stage composure was flowing through the team with every belief that more goal were on the way. A couple
of free kicks were won on the edge of the box with Stewart and May trying a shot. Neither came to anything.
Kilmarnock's Jordan Jones had Shay Logan in knots after 18 minutes with a good run forward. He stood it up nicely for Lee Erwin but O'Connor managed to clear the danger.
A minute later Scott Wright was booked for dissent after a foul was given against him. Kilmarnock player Iain Wilson had to leave the field. He was replaced by Hawkshaw. It turned out to be the turning point in the game as the visitors were forced to chance from a back five to a four.
Kilmarnock looked a different team from this point on as they come more and more into the proceedings.
While Stevie May was doing the business at the top end of the pitch, he was also putting in a great shift.
Highlighted when a quick Killie break set up Erwin who was poised to shoot inside the box with Lewis exposed, but Stevie had other ideas sliding in to prevent an equaliser.
Killie had a good spell in the game midway through the first half and called Joe Lewis into action when McKenzie made room for a shot. Big Joe managed to palm the ball wide for the corner, which was dealt with by The Dons.
The game turned scrappy as the half time whistle drew. The Dons started to lose some of the zip they'd been playing with early on and Kilmarnock were beginning to grab a hold of the game. Fortunately, the defence had answers for every threat.
HALF TIME: ABERDEEN 1-0 KILMARNOCK
Not for the first time this season Aberdeen came out of the blocks in the second half slowly and were made to pay.
Kilmarnock levelled the match up shortly after the restart when Jordan Jones had a pop from inside the box on the left hand side. His shot hit Arnason and looped over Joe Lewis. The keeper had no chance. Jones had been Killie's brightest spark and was rewarded for his persistence. The winger had a very fine game.
It still wasn't happening for Aberdeen with an organised Killie side holding firm. Wright created some space for himself on the left and swung a high cross into the box. Stewart couldn't quite get behind it properly with the ball going out for a goal kick.
Killie were playing with confidence, and Jordan Jones continued to cause problems for The Dons' defence. O'Connor made a vital challenge in the six-yard box to deny the winger's shot. It was such a well-timed tackle.
Anthony was probably the pick of the Aberdeen players again today.
The visitors then also went into front from a corner kick when Lee Erwin's header hit the crossbar.
Close to the hour mark Ryan Christie and Gary Mackay-Steven came on for Nicky Maynard and Greg Stewart.
The change of formation saw May play as a lone striker with more bodies in the midfield.
The changes looked effective with Christie driving forward on a number of occasions. Scott Wright looked more comfortable on the wing and was able to cut inside on a couple of occasions. The quality of the crosses was poor today though.
The Dons appeared with fifteen minutes to go to have swung the momentum of the game. Kenny McLean tried a shot from outside the area as Christie and Wright combined on the left. Kenny's drive had too much on it and sailed over the bar.
While Killie were doing their best to slow the game down Aberdeen continued to press high. GMS stood a good cross up but there was nobody in the middle to collect it. Stevie May also tried to double his count with a drive from 35 yards.
Kilmarnock to their credit were defending well with skipper for the day Gordon Greer having a fine game.
It was Adam Rooney time after 83 minutes, with Scott Wright leaving the field.
It was all hands to the pump after that with Aberdeen players busting a gut to get forward and grab a winner. The best chance came when Stevie May's free kick was tipped over the bar by Macdonald. Gary Mackay-Steven won a corner close to the whistle, but May's delivery to the near post was headed by McLean straight at Macdonald.
The mood inside Pittodrie was frustration when the full-time whistle rang out. After such a positive start to the game, Aberdeen lost their way and despite a late surge did not do enough to deserve the three points.
FULL TIME: ABERDEEN 1-1 KILMARNOCK