There were three changes to Jim Goodwin's starting XI following the 4-1 win at Annan Athletic on Tuesday evening. Back into the side came Hayden Coulson, Jonny Hayes and Leighton Clarkson, with Jack MacKenzie, Shayden Morris and Matty Kennedy all starting from the bench.
After their 4-1 defeat at home to Celtic in the League Cup in midweek, there were six changes for County with Jake Eastwood, Dominic Samuel, Josh Sims, Victor Loturi and Keith Watson starting from the bench, George Harmon missing out altogether. In came Ross Laidlaw, Jack Baldwin, David Cancola, Ross Callachan, Yan Dhanda and Jordy Hiwula.
The Dons opened with a brisk breeze behind them and Hayes got everyone out of their seats on two minutes. His skimming shot from 30 yards took an awkward bounce in front of Laidlaw, the goalkeeper pawing it behind.
Aberdeen should have been in front on eight minutes. Clarkson sent Vicente Besuijen on the run down the right on the counter-attack with Hayes and Bojan Miovski keeping pace in the middle. Besuijen chose to take it on himself but advanced a shade too far and left himself a tight angle, Laidlaw saving at his near post. A ball across the box looked the better option.
Ross McCrorie tried to replicate Duk's headed goal at Annan on 20 minutes, running beyond the near post to get on the end of a Clarkson corner, but his effort flashed over the bar. Aberdeen were enjoying much the better of the game, but that first goal had yet to arrive.
County had their first real opening on 40 minutes, a move started with a counter-attack from an Aberdeen corer. Eventually Purrington put in a low ball but, coming onto it at the near post, White could only stab it wide. Aberdeen responded and Jayden Richardson picked up a loose ball 25 yards out. Advancing into the box, his shot took a deflection as it flew wide.
On 43, as everyone formed up for an Aberdeen throw high up the pitch, there was a. pause as there seemed to be some kind of coming together between Iacovitti and Bojan Miovski off the ball, the County man ending up on the ground. The referee gave the pair of them a talking to and the game carried on.
HALF-TIME: ROSS COUNTY 0 ABERDEEN 0
Akio and Olaigbe replaced Hiwula and Dhanda for County at the break. A bout of head tennis ensued in the Dons' box in the opening minute before Aberdeen scrambled the ball clear. A long throw into the area caused further chaos but again the visitors fought a strong rearguard action to clear.
The Dons were on the front foot on 57, Coulson and Clarkson combining. The left-back went deep into County territory before finding Miovski, but his first touch was a bit heavy and the angle for his shot was gone. Clarkson was booked moments later for a poor challenge.
Richardson got into a good position on 64 minutes but put too much on his cross for anyone to get on the end of it, that incisive final ball still lacking for the Dons. Duk replaced Clarkson on 67 minutes as Aberdeen went looking for that vital goal. Three minutes later, Owura was on for Cancola as the hosts reshuffled their pack, Morris replacing Besuijen for the Dons on 71.
Duk was on the charge on 75, darting into the box to win a corner. Aberdeen kept the home side penned in and there were claims for a penalty as Miovski was beaten to the loose ball by Laidlaw who took plenty of the striker as well as the ball.
Ross McCrorie went down under challenge from Callachan on 77 minutes. He took some running repairs to his left knee but then carried on. Callachan had a swing at goal from 20 yards five minutes later, but it was wide of the frame.
Coulson was the next to need treatment on 83 minutes, Kennedy replacing him after treatment. He was straight into the action, receiving a pass from Duk and then cutting inside and firing off a 20 yarder that Laidlaw scrambled clear at the near post.
Duk scored a remarkable goal, one fit to win a far better game than this one on 88 minutes. From inside his own half, he set Kennedy on the chase forward and the winger then found Hayes on the left of the penalty area. At full stretch he crossed in to Duk. Back to goal, he flicked the ball up in the air and hurled himself into an acrobatic volley that flashed the ball into the top corner, an unstoppable finish. Off came the shirt, off came the undershirt, into the crowd it all went, leaving the striker to go hunting for his clothes once the celebration had died down. Fortunately, you only get booked once, however many layers you dispense with.
County weren't done though and they kept Aberdeen pushed back into their own half. Baldwin's final throw-in came in in the fourth minute of added time and the Dons didn't deal with the first ball, glanced across the box by White. Kelle Roos parried the ball as Purrington got his head on it, but as the ball squirted across goal, Akio was there to jab it over the line to equalise - a devastating end to the game.