Cove were given a warning that they won’t get things all their own way in League 2 after taking just a point from a topsy-turvy game they should have won but came dangerously close to losing.
Paul Hartley’s side bounced back from going behind in the second minute to have a firm grip on things at the break when they led 3-1.
However, they were second best after the break and fell 4-3 behind before a late Mitch Megginson goal secured the draw.
Jamie Masson, who scored a bizarre goal to put Cove 2-1 ahead, said: “We came off at half-time winning well, but we needed to start the second half better.
“We never managed it well enough and at times we were poor.
“We did show good grit to get back into it, but it feels like a defeat,” he added.
The Aberdonians were stunned after just 75 seconds when Scott Roberts broke free and his low cross was turned in by Declan Byrne from six yards.
Cove hit back on 17 minutes when Masson’s curling 35-yard free-kick was pushed wide by Chris Smith and from the resulting corner Harry Milne rose to nod firmly into the net.
As the visitors upped their tempo, Megginson was denied by a goal-line clearance from Sean Fagan and Aron Lynas did likewise to keep out a Declan Glass effort.
The visitors did edge ahead on 38 minutes when Smith had a nightmare moment, inexplicably allowing Masson’s low cross to spin through his legs and crawl over the goal-line.
Masson said: “I never even saw the ball go in. I turned around and walked away as I was expecting someone to run in for it, but no one ran in.
“I was happy with that, but it does not really matter now as we dropped two points.”
A third arrived three minutes later when Glass smacked a 25-yard shot off the underside of the bar, but Cove started to get uneasy when Euan East sent a 12-yard shot past Stuart McKenzie 12 minutes after the restart.
It was 3-3 on 73 minutes when Lewis Wilson headed in after McKenzie had fumbled a corner with referee John McKendrick ignoring an assistant’s offside flag to award the goal.
Cove’s defence crumbled again on 83 minutes when substitute Smart Osadolor broke clear and after his initial shot was blocked, he tapped the rebound over the line.
Megginson rescued his side when he glanced in a header four minutes from time and manager Hartley said: “It could have been 6-1 at half-time as we were so in control.
“The second half was about managing the game and we were well off doing that.
“We did not pass the ball well enough and we were second to everything. We could have lost, and I was concerned at 4-3 as we were not playing well.
“We have goals in our team but losing four goals is not like us.
“It is a wake-up call as we will not get an easy game in this league.
“I’m not going to go overboard, let’s not forget we didn’t lose at what is always a tough venue, are still top of the league and have scored nine goals in our first two games at this level.
“But you can’t defend like we did in that second half and expect to win matches.
“I wasn’t in the dressing room at the end ranting and raving because the players know that themselves.
“We have to sort that out.”