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Aberdeen 2 Kilmarnock 2: Comeback has sting in the tail

Youl Mawene scored his first goal for Aberdeen in this absorbing game, but then pronounced his team not good enough to win games.

The experienced French defender, whose header early in the second half earned the Dons a deserved point after they had gone two goals behind, was critical of their lack of consistency this season and failure to adopt a tougher psychological approach.

“It feels like a defeat,” he said. “We can’t seem to perform consistently over an entire game. I was looking for something better from us. In certain games some of our players go missing.

“We need to work harder, starting on the training ground. We need to be winners on the pitch and learn to grow up a bit.”

The former Preston North End and Derby County centre-back, a success among manager Craig Brown’s new signings, must also have been disappointed in his own defensive efforts as he failed to deal with Kilmarnock’s effervescent Irishmen Paul Heffernan and Dean Shiels, who put the visitors into an early lead.

Brown’s preference for a front pairing of Rory Fallon, a tall, rangy free-agent striker, signed three days earlier, and Mohamed Chalali, the Algeria under-21 international, was unsurprising.

Wth Darren Mackie and Scott Vernon relegated to the bench, the message from the manager was clear – that their return of two league goals from seven games almost beggars belief.

But, despite the early enthusiasm from the Dons new boys and some attractive build-up play by their team-mates, it was a stunning 14th-minute goal from Heffernan that shook the home supporters, a group decreasing in numbers by the week.

A wonderful long cross into the Aberdeen area from Shiels dropped for the former Sheffield Wednesday striker who executed his goal with a glorious diving header past the hapless Jason Brown in the Beach End goal.

The play from the Rugby Park side was as impressive as it was attractive and when Gary Hay split the home defence with a perfectly-weighted pass into the area, Shiels, unimpeded, picked his spot to beat Brown with ease.

But if that goal was a sickener for Brown, it didn’t appear to upset his players too much. Their approach was one of belief and when Kari Arnason’s speculative lob towards the Kilmarnock goal was punched clear by Cammy Bell, it fell for Andrew Considine, whose curling shot sailed into the unattended net.

That strike underlined the entertainment value of a pulsating first half, but left the Aberdeen supporters wondering if their team would be capable of overhauling the men from Ayrshire. They did not require much of a wait, at least for the Dons to regain parity. Arnason’s long throw into the Kilmarnock six-yard box put their defence in spectator mode as Mawene emerged to bullet his header into the net, a 55th-minute goal that set the ball rolling for a highly entertaining end to the game. Indeed, the Dons might have taken the lead soon after as Fallon, booked earlier for a penalty box dive, rose to head a Rob Milsom free kick, only for his effort to rattle the bar.

Post-match, Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels rubbished suggestions that a point was a welcome dividend away from home, and instead rued the loss of three points a win would have yielded. He said: “In our last three games we have conceded two in every game which means we would have had to have scored nine goals to have won each one.

“We were in a position to win today, but we proved that we have areas where we are fragile and weak. They scored two percentage goals, we scored two creative goals, which is a fair reflection on how the game was played.”

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