ABERDEEN were unable to make their chances count as Kilmarnock battled back to earn a 1-1 Clydesdale Bank Premier League draw at Rugby Park.
Scorers: Kilmarnock: Heffernan (40) - Aberdeen: Fallon (7)
Referee: Euan Norris
Rory Fallon’s brilliant volley gave the Pittodrie side the lead they deserved before Paul Heffernan got Kilmarnock back on terms five minutes before half-time.
After passing up a number of chances in the opening 45 minutes the second half brought more chances for the visitors. However, an inspired performance from Cammy Bell in the Killie goal ensured the game ended in a stalemate.
The visitors made a good start and Fallon should have done better after getting on the end of Stephen Hughes’ pinpoint delivery.
Kilmarnock then had Bell to thank a minute later as he produced an excellent stop from Robert Milsom.
It was not long before the opening goal arrived and Fallon made up for his earlier miss when he looped a volley high into the net.
Kenny Shiels’ men looked incapable of retaining possession and Gavin Rae almost capitalised when he intercepted a slack pass before rocketing a shot over the bar.
The hosts finally managed to crate a chance of their own after 16 minutes - Heffernan dragging a shot just wide after good work by Ross Barbour.
Aberdeen responded immediately at the other end, Niall McGinn breezing into the box and unleashing a shot that beat Bell before striking the post.
Bell bravely blocked at the feet of Milsom following some excellent build-up play by Fallon and the New Zealand international wasted a chance from the resulting corner - heading over the top after rising unchallenged to meet Hughes’ cross.
Jamie Langfield made his first save of the match when he turned Heffernan’s shot round the post.
The Dons spurned another golden opportunity when Joe Shaughnessy prodded past the post from Ryan Jack’s cross.
With five minutes remaining in the first half Aberdeen were punished for their failure to take the numerous chances that had come their way.
Mohamadou Sissoko’s pass found William Gros and his heavy touch made its way to Heffernan, who flashed the ball past Langfield.
Injury forced Borja Perez to be replaced by Garry Hay three minutes into the second half.
Killie had yet another close escape as Sissoko made a fantastic clearance form McGinn’s goalbound strike.
Langfield comfortably gathered from James Dayton as the hosts began to demonstrate an attacking threat at the other end.
Aberdeen made their first change when Gary Naysmith made way for Clark Robertson and soon after Johnny Hayes was introduced in place of Milsom.
Kilmarnock fans breathed a sigh of relief when referee Euan Norris booked McGinn for diving after the striker hit the deck inside the box following a tackle from Bell.
Bell was involved again as he pulled off another fantastic point-blank save from Hayes with nine minutes remaining.
McGinn was the next Aberdeen player to be denied by the Scotland international - and he had two free-kicks blocked by the defensive wall during the three minutes of injury-time as Killie held on for a point.
Kilmarnock: Bell, Barbour, Sissoko, O’Leary, Tesselaar, Fowler, Clingan, Perez, Gros, Heffernan, Dayton. Subs: Letheren, Hay, Racchi, Sheridan, Ibrahim, McKeown, O’Hara.
Aberdeen: Langfield, Shaughnessy, Anderson, Reynolds, Naysmith, Jack, Hughes, Rae, Milsom, McGinn, Fallon. Subs: Twardzik, Robertson, Vernon, Hayes, Pawlett, Magennis, McManus.