Miller Sinks Killie At Rugby Park
Aberdeen survived two penalty claims in injury time to hold out for their first win of the season. After a fairly uneventful first half the Dons went ahead through an overhead kick from Lee Miller early in the second half. Not for the first time this season Aberdeen were pushed further back and were left hanging on near the end. A claim of hand ball against Touzani deep in injury time was dismissed and a Nish tumble minutes later was more hopeful than expectant as the Dons held out for their first win.
Aberdeen kicked off as both sides lined up in a 4-4-2 formation. Aberdeen threatened in the 3rd minute after Foster was taken out of the play 18 yards out. Jamie Smith’s free kick was whipped in, but the home side scrambled the ball clear. Two minutes later Hart had to look sharp to deny Nish as both sides continued to probe without creating too much. Kilmarnock had settled better and were enjoying more of the ball in the early stages although the windy conditions didn’t help matters.
Lilley was then forced to scramble the ball clear in the 14th minute after Nicholson broke into the box. The Dons pressure was eventually eased when Foster took a foul throw as they attempted to peg the home side back. Kilmarnock came close in the 16th minute when Gibson did well on the flank and Jarvis headed his cross wide. At the other end Combe had a comfortable save from a deflected Jamie Smith shot.
McNamara was getting involved in everything as he tried to urge his teammates forward, but there was a scare for Aberdeen in the 25th minute. Nicholson went down with a head knock after a challenge and he had to leave the field of play. Two minutes later a mistake from Hart almost let Nish in, but he recovered to retrieve the situation. On the half hour mark Killie came close again as Dodds lobbed the ball inches over the bar after reacting first to a blocked shot. In the other penalty box Miller failed to collect a Jamie Smith cross as the game moved from one end to the other.
The Dons were being let down by their final delivery and this was highlighted in the 33rd minute when Foster made a great run, but ruined it with a poor cross that was too heavy and went harmlessly out for a goal kick. At the other end there was a hopeful appeal for a spot kick when Nish went to ground far too easily. Lovell wasted a chance a minute later then a total miss kick by Smith in the 38th minute saw the ball go harmlessly wide. Aberdeen should have gone ahead two minutes from the break when Lovell headed the ball wide from six yards out with Combe all at sea after McNamara and Nicholson carved out the chance.
Aberdeen made a positive start to the second half and both Foster and Clark had decent shots at goal in the opening five minutes. Combe made a comfortable save from both attempts and two minutes later Aberdeen tried to break, but as Nicholson attempted to thread a ball through it was cut out. The game had picked up in tempo and Derek Young looked to have put Aberdeen ahead in the 53rd minute after he rounded the keeper and his shot spun inches wide after Combe managed to get a hand on it. The Dons took the lead from the subsequent corner when the ball was half cleared, headed back into the danger area by Hart and was turned into the net by Lee Miller with a clever overhead kick.
Killie tried to get back into the match and Soutar was forced into a fine save from Wright in the 58th minute. Two minutes later the home side introduced Fernandez and Kilmarnock had a good spell of pressure that saw the Dons stand firm. Aberdeen should have added a second in the 66th minute as McNamara combined well with Nicholson and the ex-Pars player drove his effort inches wide of the post. At the other end Wales was given too much space at the back post and forced a fine save from Soutar. Seconds later Dodds was lucky to escape a yellow card after a poor challenge on Chris Clark.
Darren Mackie replaced Derek Young in the 70th minute and a minute later Lovell took advantage of a Ford mistake and tried to lob the ball over Combe but the keeper held it well. In the 73rd minute Nish went close again before the home side won their first corner, which resulted in Mackie blocking a Johnston shot. Fernandez was making a huge difference to the home side and not for the first time this season Aberdeen were being pushed further back as they attempted to defend a lead.
Fernandez had the ball in the net but the flag had already been raised much to the disappointment of the home fans. Fraser Wright collected the first yellow card of the game in the 83rd minute and two minutes later Soutar was quick off his line to deny Fernandez as the Spaniard looked to pull the trigger. Gary Wales then picked up a bad injury and was unable to continue. Koudou replaced the striker and almost levelled with his first touch before Foster headed a Johnston effort off the line. Touzani then replaced Lovell in the 89th minute as the Dons looked to hold on to their slender lead.
There was drama in injury time as first Combe was allowed to take the ball up to the half way line and as he played it into the Aberdeen penalty area there was claims for handball. The referee signalled that the ball had come off the shoulder of Touzani and Aberdeen broke up field. Two minutes later the home side were looking for another spot kick when Nish went down and the game was held up for a head knock. In the closing seconds a free kick was swung into the Dons penalty area and Ford headed the ball inches over the bar as Aberdeen held on for their first win of the season.