With just one defeat in eight matches – admittedly, the 6-3 trouncing by Inverness – Kilmarnock are at last finding the consistency that has eluded them all season. And in Gary Harkins, they have a player growing in stature.
mix-up between Dons defender Andrew Considine and
keeper Jason Brown in the fifth minute allowed
Harkins to slide the ball in from close range.
Although the visitors responded positively, Dayton,
on minutes earlier for Paul Heffernan, made sure of
the points in the 65th minute when he beat Brown
from the edge of the box. It was another
disappointing afternoon for Dons boss Craig Brown,
who witnessed a lacklustre display while Kilmarnock
chief Kenny Shiels watched his side move into the
top half of the table without excelling.Killie went
into the game buoyed by
last week's win over Rangers, their first at
Rugby Park against the Light Blues
in over 17 years.
Sandy's Match Pic's are HERE
The struggling Dons, one point ahead of bottom side Inverness at kick-off, were less confident and that showed when Harkins was gifted the opener. A long punt by Killie defender Jamie Fowler looked aimless but with the swirling wind it had Dons defender Andy Considine in trouble as he raced towards his own penalty area chased by the Rugby Park striker.The Dons defender's headed pass-back was fumbled by Brown, allowing Gary Harkins to collect the loose ball and slide into the net from close range.It was a needless error which instantly made it an uphill task for the visitors.The rest of the half was scrappy to say the least, although the conditions did make it difficult for either side to play football.The Dons threatened little. In the 18th minute Vernon looked to be caught off-guard when Ricky Foster's cross from the left made it past Killie defender Mo Sissoko and the ball bounced off his head from six yards and was grasped by Kilmarnock keeper Cammy Bell.
In the 34th minute Killie midfielder Dean Shiels sent in a curling shot from 25 yards but Brown gathered comfortably.Three minutes before the break Aberdeen right-back McArdle caused Bell some alarm when he sent a cross from wide on the right just over the near post but it was more in error than judgement.Brown started the second half for the Dons by almost making a mess of a Youl Mawene pass-back, which did not bode well for Aberdeen, but they had Killie on the back foot moments later.Midfielder Fraser Fyvie's curling free-kick missed everyone and skipped just past Bell's left-hand post seconds before the Killie keeper had to tip a McArdle drive from distance over the bar for a corner, but again the Pittodrie men could not take advantage.
As the crowd of 4,367 cowered in the stands from the swirling wind and rain the Dons remained on top without creating anything clear-cut.Killie boss Shiels replaced striker Heffernan with Dayton in the 58th minute to try to get his side back into the game, before Magennis came on for Vernon minutes later.However, the substitutions worked best for the home side who went further ahead after Harkins had sent James Dayton racing clear.
The Killie sub was pursued by Considine and as he slipped at the edge of the box he still got his low drive away which was powerful enough to beat Brown.The visitors looked down and out and minutes later Foster was booked for a cynical foul on Dayton as the home supporters cried for a more severe punishment.The game petered out with not even a late rally from the Pittodrie men to give succour to their small but hardy band of fans who suffered yet another miserable afternoon.
Sandy's Match Pic's are HERE