It was not a classic, and at times it was a frustrating afternoon, but the Dons showed great patience and were rewarded with another important three points.
In an even first period, Rooney fired a rebound over and Goodwillie smashed a shot off the bar. At the start of the second half a Pawlett shot clipped the post and Goodwillie fired a shot from close range over the bar - at that point you felt it might be one of those days. Aberdeen kept creating chances but the ball would not fall to a red shirt in the box.
The Dons players deserve great credit for sticking to their task and in the 69th minute they got the goal. Pawlett intercepted a Hammill pass on the half way line. Jonny Hayes then produced a great direct run before unleashing a powerful shot which Samson could only parry. This time the ball did fall to an Aberdeen player and Peter produced a great first time finish.
Kilmarnock deserve credit for the way they played today and put quite a bit of pressure on at the end but the Dons defence and Ryan Jack were excellent again and held on to record another clean sheet.
The fourth game in a row Derek McInnes named the same starting XI. They again set up with Scott Brown in goal, Shay Logan was at right back with Ashton Taylor and Mark Reynolds in the centre of defence with Andrew Considine at left back. Ryan Jack was the sitting midfielder with Hayes and Pawlett playing alongside him. McGinn played wide right, Rooney wide left and Goodwillie was upfront.
The game got off to a slow start and the visitors, who have only won one point in their last seven games, probably had the better of the early play. Credit to Killie, they had not just come North to stick men behind the ball. Ex Dons Lee Miller and Josh Magennis were certainly going to pose a physical threat all afternoon.
On 10 minutes the first real chance of the game. Jonny Hayes hit a shot from outside the area. It was a very well struck and Samson could only parry it into the direction of the on rushing Adam Rooney. Adam made good contract however the striker could not direct his effort on target and it just went over.
The next ten minutes or so were fairly even without much happening, both defences were on top.
Then on the 20 minute mark the Dons came very close to opening the scoring on the break. David Goodwillie, who looked very lively all afternoon, picked the ball up about 30 yards out. He drove into the box before from a slight angle he smashed a shot which crashed off the bar. Four minutes later the striker was close to scoring again. Another quick break left the Kilmarnock defence struggling. Adam Rooney ran into the box and then cut the ball back across the face of goal for Goodwillie, however with his back to goal and under pressure from the last defender he could not get a touch.
Around the half hour mark the Dons stepped it up a notch. Jamie Hamill did well to clear a good cross from Jonny Hayes. A minute later a low shot from McGinn was saved comfortably by Samson. Then on 34 minutes Peter Pawlett broke free after a really strong run into the area however his shot was weak and Samson saved comfortably.
With about five minutes of the half to go David Goodwillie was booked for a tackle on Darryl Westlake. The Killie right back sadly had to be stretchered off and the game was held up for about four minutes. Before the end of the half the home support appealed for a penalty when Rooney went down in the area but referee Dallas correctly gave a corner instead and then Logan won the Dons a free kick in the good position but Hayes' ball in was well held by Samson.
Aberdeen started the second half very strongly.
On 48 minutes Pawlett flashed in a shot from the left of the area which beat Samson but hit the bottom of the post and rebounded to safety.
It was not all one way traffic, as the Ayrshire side were still trying to get bodies forward whenever they could and on 55 minutes Logan did very well to avert the danger after Slater put in a dangerous ball. Then two minutes later at the other end a cross was knocked on by Logan to Goodwillie but from about 10 yards out, and under extreme pressure from Pascali, Goodwillie fired a shot over the bar.
You wondered at that stage if it was just not going to be the Dons day.
On 59 minutes more pressure from the Dons as the ball was fired into the area but again real frustration as it would just not fall to a red shirt even though there were plenty of bodies in the box. On the hour mark the ball did fall to McGinn about 30 yards out but his shot was always rising.
Then on 69 minutes the goal arrived.
Peter Pawlett intercepted a Jamie Hamill pass on the half way line, the ball was needlessly given away by Hamill. Aberdeen broke quickly and momentarily the Killie defence had lost their shape. Recognising this Hayes produced a brilliant direct run and beat a couple of players.
Pawlett's movement pulled defenders over to him and left space for Jonny who made his way to the edge of the area and then cracked in a shot which took a slight deflection. Craig Samson could only parry the shot back out into the centre of his area and this time the ball did fall to a red shirt. Peter Pawlett still had quite a lot to do but he did really well to keep his first time effort down and put the ball into the corner of the net away from the keeper. A really good finish from Peter. Hamill looked distraught when the Aberdeen players celebrated as he knew he had undone all the good work the midfielder and his defenders had done up to that point.
With about 20 minutes to go Jeffrey Monakana replaced David Goodwillie. Jeffrey certainly helped light up the final period of the game and he made some great runs down the left that created a number of chances. The Dons did have chances to make the game save, Ryan Jack probably had the best of them but his shot was deflected behind. Ryan, who became a dad this week, was again outstanding and was deservedly named the man of the match by the sponsors.
In the closing stages Killie threw everything at the Dons and with the physical presence they had they created a couple of half chances. On 85 minutes Barbour fired a shot narrowly wide of the far post. Pittodrie was becoming slightly nervous especially when a corner came over and was headed just past the post. However the Dons defence held tight and Scott Brown was able to claim another clean sheet.
Not the prettiest of games but another great three points for the Dons who may spend Christmas in second spot depending on the outcome of tomorrow's Dundee United- Celtic match at Tannadice.