Derek McInnes made two change to the side beaten 1-0 at Celtic Park on Wednesday night, Johnny Hayes absent with a hamstring injury, while Matty Kennedy started from the bench. In to replace them came Niall McGinn and Connor McLennan. Kieran Ngwenya also came into the matchday squad among the substitutes.
There were five changes for visitors Kilmarnock from the team that lost 1-0 at Ibrox last Saturday afternoon. In came Ross Millen, Kirk Broadfoot, Diaguely Dabo, Mitch Pinnock and Chris Burke with Aaron McGowan, Zech Medley, Aaron Tshibola, Greg Kiltie and Rory McKenzie all dropping to the bench.
Conditions were a little better than against St Mirren last week, but there was still a swirling wind and a greasy surface.
The Dons made a quick start as good persistence from McLennan down the right in the opening minute won the ball deep in Killie territory before getting the ball back from Fraser Hornby and having his shot charged down.
In the third minute, a ball along the deck from Ash Taylor was cleverly flicked on by Hornby, Lewis Ferguson released to head for goal, his shot from the edge of the box palmed behind by Doyle. On the quarter hour, a Tommie Hoban free-kick from deep was nodded down by Ferguson, McGinn coming onto it 25 yards out, only to hook his shot wide.
Killie had their first sight of goal 17 minutes in, a corner reaching Dicker at the back post, his weak shot easily snaffled by Joe Lewis. Lewis spotted the chance of a break, hurling the ball forward for Hornby to run onto. He chased forward to the edge of the box before curling a shot inches wide of goal. In so doing, he picked up an injury to his left thigh, requiring the Dons to make yet another change due to injury, Callum Hendry coming on. Once again, everything that could go against Aberdeen during this run is going against them.
And yet it was that substitution that finally broke that run of ill luck, for within a minute, McGinn had floated the ball into the box from a free-kick out on the right, Hendry timing his run onto it to perfection to bullet a header past Doyle and into the back of the net. A great leap and header and a bit of quality from Niall with the cross.
In the 26th minute, Hendry was away on the chase, only to get a whack in the face from Dikamona, right in front of the assistant who was looking in the wrong direction. A minute later, it was Dikamona on the deck, seemingly with a similar thigh injury to Hornby's and he too was replaced, Medley coming on for him.
There was confusion at the back in the 35th minute, Dicker cleverly lofting the ball into Kabamba's run behind the defence. The Dons players looked for offside but there was no flag, Lewis coming off his line to narrow the angle and block his shot. Dabo then collected the game's first yellow card on 40 minutes for a late lunge on McLennan.
HALF-TIME: ABERDEEN 1 KILMARNOCK 0
Lafferty and McGowan were introduced by Tommy Wright at half-time, Burke and Dabo replaced. They won an early corner to try to use the height they had in the team, but the Dons defended well. Kabamba then caused problems with neat control in the 50th minute, but his ball across the box had no takers. McGinn was then in the book after a collision with McGowan.
Neat football from Aberdeen won them a free-kick 30 yards out in the 55th minute, but in trying to bend the ball into the top corner, Flo Kamberi put his effort wide of goal.
Mulumbu put Pinnock on the run in the 56th minute and he tested Lewis from the corner of the box, the skipper saving well, Taylor tidying up the rebound. The Dons were on the front foot a minute later, Taylor's throw headed into McLennan's run by Hendry, the ball just getting away from him and allowing Doyle to scamper off his line to collect.
Ferguson was inches away on the hour, neat interplay between him, Hendry and Kamberi getting Ferguson into the box, flashing a shot through the six yard box and just wide. McGowan was then in the book for whacking the airborne Hendry in the back on halfway.
With a rapidly stiffening wind behind them, Kilmarnock were happy to smash the ball long to Lafferty and Kabamba, bombarding the box, but the Dons were defending solidly under the aerial assault. McGinn was replaced by Kennedy in the 70th minute as Aberdeen looked for some fresh legs in the final stages, the visitors responding three minutes later with their final changes, Kiltie and Whitehall on for Haunstrup and Kabamba.
With the Dons playing in midweek, and with the pitch getting heavier as the afternoon wore on, there were a lot of tired legs but the Aberdeen players had to dig deep in the final 10.
The Dons almost sealed it in the 82nd minute, McCrorie thundering a shot off the bar after a Kennedy cross had caused chaos in the Kilmarnock area, the ball scrambled to the edge of the box from where the midfielder crashed his shot beyond the goalkeeper but against the woodwork yet again.
Aberdeen made their final change with Miko Virtanen replacing Campbell in the 89th minute as the home side looked to see the game out. They achieved that and the Dons were on the up again. Credit to the defence who stood up really well to the physical challenge all afternoon.