Aberdeen made their first trip to Dingwall in the SPL and it proved to a fruitless one as Ross County ran out victors by 2 goals to 1, in the process ending the Dons magnificent 11 game unbeaten run.Dons boss Craig Brown made several changes to the side following the midweek cup exit to St Mirren including the return to the starting XI of Ryan Fraser. Also included were Andrew Considine and Gary Naysmith after their respective injury layoffs. The side lined up with Langfield in goal, Russell Anderson, Andrew Considine, Mark Reynolds and Gary Naysmith in defence, Gavin Rae, Issac Osbourne and Stephen Hughes in midfield with Niall McGinn and Ryan Fraser just behind Scott Vernon up front.
In front of yet another large travelling support amongst a crowd of just over 6,000, the game started at a frenetic pace and the Dons began the game passing the ball about well without creating anything significant. County did manage to win a free kick early on and it needed only a touch to send it into the net past Langfield but no one was there to capitalise.
The Dons' best chance in the opening stages came from a Gary Naysmith cross into the box from which Vernon's header failed to trouble Michael Fraser. Rocco Quinn was booked for a tackle on Ryan Fraser as the Dons continued to dominate but they were dealt a blow on 10 minutes when Stephen Hughes had to be replaced after picking up a knock. He was replaced by Chris Clark.
The Highlanders then began to see more of the ball and Richard Brittan went close with an effort from 35 yards out which flew just over the bar. At the other end a superb free kick from Ryan Fraser caused havoc in the County box but again no one was in the right place at the right time to give the Dons the lead. Kettlewell became the second County player to be booked- this time for a challenge on Isaac Osbourne.
Following a Ross County attack, Niall McGinn picked up the ball on the edge of the Dons box and went on a fantastic run right up to the County goal line but the Northern Irishman couldn't conjure up anything and the chance was lost.
The Dons were lucky to remain on level terms soon after when Andrew Considine sent the ball back to Langfield who tried to take a touch and control the ball but was immediately put under pressure. His ball out was short and headed towards the empty net by Rocco Quinn but the Dons keeper recovered to punch the ball on to the cross bar and out for a corner.
There were few clear cut chances for either side although a great tackle was all that prevented McGinn from giving the visitors the lead. It was the home side who took the lead though 9 minutes before the interval. A dangerous free kick into the box was inadvertently headed into the back of his own net by Mark Reynolds.
The Dons responded positively and they nearly got back on level terms immediately after a poor ball across his own box by Fitzpatrick fell to Gavin Rae but he curled his shot off the cross bar. They then tried to take advantage of another mistake. This time Brittain's back pass to Fraser was short and Scott Vernon nipped in but prodded his shot just wide of the post.
Gavin Rae was booked just before the interval for a foul on Stuart Kettlewell in midfield.
Aberdeen started the second half well and created a few early chances as the result of pressure on the County defence. Russell Anderson had a chance before McGinn went on a run down the left that won his side a corner on 49 minutes. But it was the home side who doubled their advantage just a few seconds later.A through ball from Brittan was collected by Stephen Ross who ran clear of the defenders and blasted the ball past Langfield.
Craig Brown reacted to the second set back by replacing Andrew Considine with Cammy Smith on 59 minutes. This resulted in a reshuffle across the pitch with Russell Anderson moving to central defence and Chris Clark moving to right back.
After Ryan Fraser was tackled illegally again, a free kick was floated into the County box but unfortunately for the Dons, Scott Vernon headed weakly at Michael Fraser.They continued to press Ross County and an excellent cross from Osbourne was turned behind for a corner. From that, Osbourne swung it in for Vernon but he headed wide of the post with the goal gaping.
Vernon was then replaced by Jonny Hayes as the Dons again looked to get themselves back into the game. McGinn shot wide of the post as time slipped by before a great run and cross from Hayes got the Dons back into the game. Hayes picked up the ball in midfield, ran to the byline, cut into the box before crossing expertly to allow McGinn to sweep the ball into the net and score in his 6th consecutive league game for Aberdeen on 74 minutes. And they could have levelled things on 80 minutes but Russell Anderson headed over after another superb cross into the box.
McGinn then managed to dig out a cross into the box but there was no one there in a red shirt before Hayes did well to cross into the box and County defended well on that occasion. When the fourth official signalled just 2 minutes of added time it was clear that it wasn't the Dons day and the excellent 11 game unbeaten run came to an end in the cold surroundings of Dingwall.