Mark Reynolds' late winner over Kilmarnock handed Aberdeen a fourth straight away win and lifted them into second place in the Premiership.
Until then, it looked like two in-form sides would cancel one another out.
Kilmarnock's Kris Boyd had the ball in the net only to have it ruled out for a foul, while the Dons' Ryan Jack sent a header against the crossbar.
Both keepers produced fine saves before Reynolds' 83rd-minute header preceded a red card for the visitors' Nicky Low.
There was not enough time for Kilmarnock to deny 10-man Dons the reward for their domination of possession after the break as Derek McInnes' side secured their seventh win in their last eight outings.
While McInnes had unsurprisingly named an unchanged side, home manager Allan Johnston had been forced to alter his formation as he sought a fourth straight home win when on-loan Celtic utility man Jackson Irvine was ruled out through illness, with Sammy Clingan being called into midfield.
An uncertain home rearguard was breached almost immediately when Peter Pawlett put Niall McGinn clear, but the striker sliced his 14-yard drive wide of the near post when he should have at least tested goalkeeper Craig Samson.
Robbie Muirhead, the 17-year-old Kilmarnock striker, was handed a first start in place of Michael Gardyne and his partnership with Boyd looked to have paid dividends after 11 minutes.
The Scotland striker chipped the ball over the advancing Jamie Langfield, but Boyd had laid a hand on the shoulder of Russell Anderson in the foot race that preceded it and a foul was given.
Russell Anderson is challenged by Kris Boyd ahead of the Kilmarnock striker hitting the net
Aberdeen responded almost immediately and, after the jinking Barry Robson left Jeroen Tesselaar's head spinning, Jack rose to meet the cross only for his 12-yard header to rebound clear off the underside of the crossbar.
Boyd showed his strength again to rob Willo Flood just outside the Dons penalty box and ought to have done better than fire his low drive off Langfield's legs.
Kilmarnock, with impressive teenager Craig Slater controlling midfield, passed up another great opportunity when a Sean Clohessy cross found its way to Chris Johnston at the back post.
However, the winger's powerful drive skimmed the top of the crossbar from only eight yards and Rory McKenzie also ought to have done better than shoot wildly wide after pouncing on a poor Jonny Hayes pass-back.
It took until a late long-range effort from Michael Hector shortly before the break for Aberdeen to test Samson, but they used the strong wind at their backs to apply most of the second-half pressure.
They still had Langfield to thank for remaining level as the goalkeeper's fingertips came to the rescue from two powerful Clingan free-kicks.
Samson followed suit after Pawlett outmuscled Manuel Pascali before setting up McGinn for a low drive from 12 yards that the goalkeeper turned for a corner.
Pawlett was next to be denied by Samson, parrying the midfielder's powerful effort from close range, but the goalkeeper was finally beaten from the resulting McGinn corner as Reynolds headed home from 12 yards.
Dons substitute Low was shown a straight red card for a two-footed, stoppage-time lunge on Clohessy, but Aberdeen were never in danger of losing a grip on the three points in the remaining seconds.
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