Fowler fuels Dons' revival

Kilmarnock 0 Aberdeen 1
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The Independent Football

The remarkable revival of Aberdeen under Jimmy Calderwood continues, as they extended their unbeaten run under the new manager at Rugby Park yesterday, albeit with a slice of fortune that saw Kilmarnock's James Fowler contribute an own goal.

The remarkable revival of Aberdeen under Jimmy Calderwood continues, as they extended their unbeaten run under the new manager at Rugby Park yesterday, albeit with a slice of fortune that saw Kilmarnock's James Fowler contribute an own goal.

Calderwood has turned perennial strugglers into a side who are second in the Scottish Premier League and their fans may soon require oxygen masks to counter altitude sickness - the last time the Dons were this high in the table, Alex McLeish was playing for them over a decade ago.

Indeed, Aberdeen could add to McLeish's current predicament at Rangers, who are due to visit Pittodrie on Wednesday in a CIS Cup tie in which failure could cost McLeish his job.

Aberdeen's best start in 12 years has been built upon their mean defence, which had conceded just one goal in the opening five games. However, the emergence of Steven Craig as a striker has been a notable feature.

His modest record at Motherwell before his summer move to Pittodrie did not hint at three goals in as many games for his new club and Craig had an early chance to extend that sequence when he struck the post after just three minutes as he re-directed Kevin McNaughton's pass.

Just four minutes later, the woodwork again denied the visitors. Scott Severin's fine pass over the top of the defence released Ricky Foster whose angled shot was touched onto the inside of the far post by goalkeeper Alan Combe before being cleared.

Though Kilmarnock exerted some control with a confident passage of possession, the best chances continued to fall to the visitors. Michael Hart's vision picked out the run from midfield of Derek Adams, who gathered the ball and advanced on Combe, only for the goalkeeper to turn his shot wide.

Kilmarnock might have sensed it was not going to be their day when their experienced midfielder, Gary Locke, was taken off on a stretcher with a nasty head injury.

If their luck held out before the interval, when Foster combined with Steve Tosh only for the latter's cutback to narrowly escape being turned into his own net by substitute Stevie Murray, it was merely a prophecy of the doom that would descend upon Kilmarnock in the second half.

Tosh's adventurous run on the right saw him skip past three tackles in the 53rd minute en route to the box before driving a fierce ball across the face of the goal which struck Fowler, who had no chance of getting out the way, and beat Combe to put Aberdeen in front.

Kilmarnock were visibly wounded, and though Kris Boyd almost restored parity just after the hour with a curling left-foot shot just over the bar, it was Aberdeen who showed greater menace.

Combe was forced to parry Severin's shot wide from a tight angle eight minutes from the end and then Darren Mackie appeared to be brought down by Frederic Dindeleux, but no penalty was awarded.

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