Aberdeen battle back to extend unbeaten run at Kilmarnock



Posted Thursday, March 05, 2020 by PA

Aberdeen battle back to extend unbeaten run at Kilmarnock

Aberdeen produced a spirited comeback to preserve their long unbeaten run at Kilmarnock in a highly entertaining Ladbrokes Premiership encounter.

Kilmarnock were on course for their first Rugby Park win over Aberdeen since December 2011 as they raced into a 2-0 lead after just 23 minutes through an Eamonn Brophy penalty and Greg Kiltie’s strike.

But the Dons hoodoo over the home side continued as Derek McInnes’s men battled back to claim a point. Niall McGinn halved the deficit before the interval with Connor McLennan drawing them level five minutes into the second half.

They are now unbeaten in 17 games at Rugby Park.

A fortnight ago these side produced a seven-goal extra-time Scottish Cup replay thriller and this league outing was as action packed.

Kilmarnock started on the front foot with fast, incisive, attacking football and deservedly broke the deadlock after 18 minutes through Brophy’s penalty.

Had it not been for Aberdeen captain Joe Lewis the opener would come a lot earlier as the goalkeeper was at full stretch to keep out Rory McKenzie’s swerving drive from 25 yards.

Kilmarnock threatened again when Brophy robbed Mikey Devlin, who was in for the injured Scott McKenna, of possession and darted down the left flank. The hitman could have squared for the unmarked Chris Burke but elected to go it alone and his angled drive beat Lewis but struck the base of the far post.

Lewis then denied Brophy with a reaction save after the striker lashed in a shot from close range.

Kilmarnock were awarded a penalty when Brophy made space inside the area and rolled possession back to McKenzie, whose powerful shot struck the arm of Ash Taylor and referee Alan Newlands pointed to the spot.

From 12 yards Brophy made no mistake as he calmly sent Lewis the wrong way with his penalty.

Kilmarnock doubled their advantage just five minutes later when Stuart Findlay fizzed a pass into the feet of Kiltie and he evaded a Taylor challenge and then lashed the ball beyond Lewis.

Seven minutes before the interval the Dons were back in the game as McGinn halved the deficit.

McLennan got to the bye-line and his cut-back was perfect for McGinn, who sent a crisp half-volley beyond Kilmarnock goalkeeper Laurentiu Branescu.

Five minutes into the second half Aberdeen were back on level terms through McLennan.

Matty Kennedy displayed some great touchline trickery as he made space on the left flank and then delivered an inviting cross to the far post, where McLennan was perfectly placed to plant a downward header past Branescu.

Lewis prevented Kilmarnock reclaiming the lead when he produced a brilliant save to keep out Stephen O’Donnell’s volley and he made another smart stop when Brophy let fly from 30 yards after Burke rolled a free-kick into his path.

Aberdeen had Lewis Ferguson, Shay Logan and McLennan booked in quick succession. McLennan was fortunate his punishment was not more severe when he then hauled down Kiltie and Dons manager McInnes quickly replaced the midfielder with Bruce Anderson.

Played raged from end to end in the closing stages but neither side were able to produce a winner.

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