A late Sam Cosgrove penalty helped Aberdeen progress to the fifth round of the Scottish Cup with a narrow 1-0 win against League 1 Dumbarton.
The Dons drew 1-1 with Stenhousemuir at Pittodrie at the same stage of the competition 12 months ago before easing to a 4-1 win in the replay.
History looked set to repeat itself as the Dons dominated proceedings but were unable to find a way past Dumbarton goalkeeper Conor Brennan until five minutes from time when Cosgrove was fouled by Rico Quitongo and netted the spot-kick for his 21st goal of the season.
The Dons supporters bought into the club’s initiative to turn the Merkland Stand into a standing and singing section with the enclosure sold out and making a mighty din ahead of kick-off.
Dylan McGeouch was handed his competitive debut for the Dons in place of the suspended Lewis Ferguson.
Derek McInnes made five changes in total from the side that drew 1-1 with Hearts prior to the winter break with Andy Considine, Niall McGinn, Connor McLennan and Sam Cosgrove stepping in for Zak Vyner, Jon Gallagher, Dean Campbell and Curtis Main.
There was little in the way of goalmouth action to excite Aberdeen’s new singing section in the opening exchanges, although their loud appeals for a penalty when Cosgrove tumbled to the ground under pressure from Morgyn Neill but referee Gavin Duncan was unmoved.
McGeouch showed a touch of quality to release McLennan with a cleverly disguised pass but his effort was blocked before former Sunderland midfielder McGeouch’s low drive was held by Conor Brennan.
The Aberdeen pressure was increasing but Dumbarton were holding firm. A Cosgrove effort was blocked and Anderson lacked composure as he fired wildly over on the rebound.
The hosts went close on the stroke of half-time with an Anderson effort diverted wide with Considine’s header from the resulting corner too close to Brennan.
The Dons passed up an early chance after the interval with McGinn failing to convert from six yards from an enticing McLennan delivery.
Another McGinn corner presented Scott McKenna with the chance to break the deadlock but the Scotland international headed over under no pressure.
They went even closer from McGinn’s next corner kick delivery but Taylor’s downward header was kept out by a combination of Brennan and the post.
The frustration continued for Aberdeen as Anderson fired over from a McGinn cross in the 63rd minute as the home support began to grow restless.
A rasping drive from Funso Ojo was spilled by Brennan but Anderson was unable to capitalise on the rebound.
Brennan made a superb save soon after to deny Anderson before Dumbarton made a rare foray forward but Stefan McCluskey’s inviting cross found no takers.
But Aberdeen were not to be denied with Cosgrove calmly slotting home the winning spot-kick after being fouled by Quitongo, much to the relief of the home support.