City were beaten by a solitary goal on a day in which hosts Huddersfield Town had every reason to breathe a huge sigh of relief.
Sean Scannell struck the winner two minutes before half-time after City had enjoyed the better of a largely uneventful first half.
The spectacle improved immeasurably after the interval, and Sam Baldock thought he had equalised when his close-range effort was stopped on the line by home keeper Alex Smithies.
The Robins pressed hard for an equaliser late on, but chances came and went and Town held out to claim three fortunate points.
Derek McInnes was not shy to mix things up after victory for Hull at Ashton Gate last time out extended City’s winless run extended to seven games, making five changes to his starting line-up.
The most notable of those was in goal, where Tom Heaton was replaced by Dean Gerken, while there were also recalls for Baldock and Albert Adomah
, as well as previously injured pair Liam Fontaine and Marvin Elliott.
Among those to miss out on the trip to West Yorkshire was in-form striker Steven Davies, sidelined by injury.
City made an encouraging start to proceedings, and had a first sight of goal on ten minutes when a mazy run from Huddersfield old boy Jon Stead offered Adomah the chance to test Smithies from the resulting free kick, but the winger’s effort sailed wide in the absence of set-piece specialist Davies.
The home side have adapted to life in the npower Championship impressively since winning promotion from League One last season, but City looked comfortable and the greater threat, as Richard Foster’s left-footed cross was glanced wide by Stead midway through the first half.
It had been far from a classic opening to the contest, but McInnes could only be pleased with the control his team seemed to have on proceedings.
Stead fired another warning shot towards goal from 20 yards but failed to test Smithies before Adomah was booked for kicking the ball away – symbolic of the stop-start nature of a turgid first period.
But rather than remaining scoreless until the interval, Scannell’s first goal since joining the Terriers for £900,000 in the summer flattered the hosts.
Lee Novak’s low delivery along the six-yard line begged for a touch, and the former Crystal Palace forward duly slid in at the back post to divert the ball back across Gerken and undo all of City’s good work in restricting Town to no clear chances up to that point.
There was still time for the Robins to string together a well-constructed move before the break, but Cole Skuse’s driven shot from Foster’s square pass took just enough of a deflection off the charging defender to evade the far post.
Having been so subdued throughout the first half Huddersfield looked a different proposition at the start of the second, and would have doubled their lead had Gerken not reacted well to turn aside Calum Woods’ shot at his near post.
City’s first meaningful passage of play since half-time culminated in another half-chance for Stead soon after, but the striker’s attempted curling effort on his left foot was always off target.
At the other end, Adam Clayton ran away from Stephen McManus before unleashing a powerful 25-yarder that whistled just over Gerken’s crossbar.
Suddenly it was a contest full of life with chances at both ends. City responded again with the best move of the game just shy of the hour, as Stead and Stephen Pearson combined to find Skuse, whose first-time pass found right-back Foster surging into the box, only for the Scot to frustratingly overhit his cross.
But McInnes’ side were soon indebted to Gerken, whose outstretched foot kept Clayton’s downward header at bay, before the moment of controversy which may well have swung the game in City’s favour.
More neat build-up play on the edge of the penalty area created an opening for Skuse, but when the midfielder’s shot was dragged across goal Baldock was perfectly placed on the corner of the six-yard box.
The striker had been starved of any sort of opening all day, but thought he had equalised when he diverted Skuse’s effort goalwards only for Smithies to claw the ball away from virtually on the goal-line – behind it in the view of the former West Ham United man – and the home side remained in front.
McInnes introduced Neil Kilkenny, Ryan Taylor and Martyn Woolford in search of an equaliser, and the latter fired narrowly over from the edge of the penalty area before some sustained City possession ensured a nervy finish for the hosts.
Scannell had the chance to wrap up the points on the counter-attack, but delayed too long, before Woolford’s agonising ball across goal somehow eluded everybody. There was still time for Stephen McManus to force a last-gasp stop from Smithies low to his left, but City were again lacking that timely stroke of good fortune.