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Last Updated: Monday, 27 December, 2004, 16:50 GMT
Aberdeen 0-0 Inverness CT
John Stewart went close to scoring for Aberdeen
Aberdeen lost their grip on third place in the SPL as Inverness held on for a point at a blustery Pittodrie.

Aberdeen enjoyed the better of the first half with Zander Diamond hitting the post with a header and Markus Heikkinen's shot cleared off the line.

Dons striker John Stewart headed wide from a great position as the home side continued to look dangerous.

But Aberdeen keeper Ryan Esson saved his side with a great double block to deny Graham Bayne and Juanjo.

Aberdeen had an early opportunity to take the lead, but were denied by a combination of first Grant Munro's leg and then the post.

Richard Foster's shot from the edge of the box cannoned off the Caley Thistle defender and, from the resultant corner, Zander Diamond headed Chris Clark's dead-ball off the post.

The visitors went close when Roy McBain burst beyond Richard Hart and flashed a cross through the six-yard box that Juanjo was inches away from connecting with.

Dons midfielder Scott Severin was unlucky to have his shot from 16 yards out deflected over the crossbar after Foster's well-worked corner.

Stuart Golabek then came to his side's rescue in the 17th minute, clearing Heikkinen's shot off the line.

Darren Mackie and Stewart combined well in the 33rd minute, but the young forward was too slow to catch his partner's through ball before it ran on to Mark Brown.

McBain saw his diving header flash narrowly wide a few minutes later in a rare Inverness attack.

Foster appeared nervous and blazed over from only six yards out in the dying minutes of the first half.

Set pieces looked like their best opportunity to score and Aberdeen came within inches in the 54th minute when Severin blasted a 20-yard free-kick wide.

The visitors look dangerous on the break and Esson made a wonderful stop at Juanjo's feet after a sloppy back pass by Diamond sent the Spaniard through on goal.

Stewart then passed up another great opportunity after being picked out by Foster's pinpoint free-kick from the right.

Inverness were unlucky not to have scored in the 74th minute when Bayne intelligently took the ball past Russell Anderson and homed in on goal.

Esson beat his shot away and followed it up with an brilliant block to deny Juanjo, who tried to capitalise on the rebound.

Aberdeen tried to push on and get a late winner, but could not break through and steal the points.

Aberdeen: Esson, Hart, Anderson, Diamond, McNaughton, Clark (Muirhead 72), Heikkinen, Severin, Foster, Mackie, Stewart (McGuire 79). Subs Not Used: Blanchard, Morrison, Considine, O'Leary.

Inverness CT: Brown, Tokely, Dods, Munro, Golabek, Hart, Duncan, Keogh, McBain, Juanjo (Prunty 90), Bayne. Subs Not Used: Fraser, McCaffrey, Wilson, Hastings, Proctor, Fox.

Booked: Dods, Munro.

Att: 18,250

Ref: J Underhill


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