Ten man Aberdeen held out at Tannadice for a deserved three points as they beat Dundee United 1-0 thanks to a Charlie Mulgrew goal. Paul Marshall was handed a debut and he was the provider as Mulgrew claimed the winner after fifteen minutes. Marshall collected a pass from Pawlett and steered the ball into the path of Mulgrew who drilled it low past Weaver. United dominated the second half after Davide Grassi was shown a straight red in the 64th minute following an off the ball incident spotted by the assistant referee. It appears the Aberdeen player was elbowed by Webster and retaliated. If this was the case it is hard to defend the Italian, but you have to wonder why Webster escaped with a yellow. Aberdeen showed great spirit after this and their work rate was tremendous as they held on for the win despite the home side twice hitting the woodwork.
Aberdeen kicked off and Kerr tried to release Mackie straight away as the Dons tried to get off to a flyer. Pawlett went on a great run in the 5th minute and fed the ball to Fyvie who in turn forced the opening corner of the match. Fyvie delivered a decent ball, but it was cleared by Dillon as Aberdeen made a positive start. Mulgrew and Fyvie combined well again two minutes later, but the United back line was looking solid after their nightmare in midweek. Aberdeen were looking the better side at this stage and Paul Marshall was looking good in his debut.
Fyvie went close in the tenth minute as he latched on to a Pawlett pass and was denied by a great tackle from Kenneth as he was set to pull the trigger. A minute later Mackie won a free kick in a dangerous area. Marshall made a decent delivery and Mulgrew just failed to connect with the deep delivery. Kerr was forced into some defending in the 15th minute, but he quickly turned defence into attack that ended with Aberdeen taking a deserved lead. Pawlett found Marshall and the debut player spotted Mulgrew on the overlap and played a perfectly weighted pass that was driven low into the net by Mulgrew.
Aberdeen's defensive frailties were highlighted in the 19th minute when they failed to deal with a delivery and Webster hit the ball into the side netting. A minute later Mackie was shown a rather soft yellow card following a tussle with Webster. Seconds later Mackie showed great pace and fired a low cross into the middle that was booted clear for a corner with Fyvie waiting to pounce. Mulgrew looked to have been impeded as he made his way into the box, but the officials failed to spot this.
A Kerr shot was fired wide as the Dons kept up the pressure then Fyvie delivered another great cross in the 25th minute. Pawlett was cynically taken down in the 28th minute by Conway, but no booking was handed out. From the set play Weaver was forced to palm the effort from Mulgrew round the post. At the other end Gomis had a gilt edged chance, but hit the ball into the Aberdeen crowd. A good passage of play in the 36th minute saw Fyvie feed Marshall, but Weaver was smartly of his line to deny the Manchester City man.
Two minutes later Fyvie was taken out of the play by Kenneth on the edge of the box, but once again the card stayed in the referee's pocket. Marshall took a quick free kick that was headed over by Buaben with the keeper beaten. The inconsistencies continued as Pawlett was cautioned for another soft challenge after United were not punished for a couple of cynical challenges. A long throw from United was cleared in the 42nd minute, but the home side were enjoying more possession at this stage. With a minute remaining Marshall had a great chance to score on his debut when he headed a Foster cross wide. In injury time Weaver made a terrific save to deny Mulgrew a second from a well executed 25 yard free kick.
United made a better start to the second half and in the 49th minute Kerr was penalised in a dangerous position. Langfield made a comfortable stop from the free kick then two minutes later Kenneth was eventually booked as he prevented Mackie running in on goal. The free kick was fired inches wide by Mulgrew with Weaver well beaten. The shot was so powerful that the ball was burst and had to be replaced. Pawlett latched on to a Kerr header in the 54th minute, but drilled wide from a tight angle.
United won their first corner of the match a minute later, but it was cleared by the Dons defence. A second corner followed in the 57th minute, but Mackie used his pace to break forward and won a foul from Conway. Seconds later the same player finally collected a caution for a second cynical foul on Pawlett. A yellow ball was introduced on the hour mark as the snow started to fall quite heavily. The game flared up in the 64th minute when the assistant referee spotted an off the ball incident and Grassi was shown a straight red in an incident with Webster. Apparently the United player elbowed Grassi and he reacted.
You can't complain about the red for Grassi however the fans questioned why Webster was only shown a yellow. Three minutes later the home side were awarded a free kick and Langfield held the effort and almost found Mackie on a quick break. United had been handed the initiative and won another corner in the 69th minute. Ifil blocked a Daley effort two minutes later then Langfield collected the ball as two United players got in each other's way. Mulgrew then defended well as United turned up the heat. At the other end Mackie just failed to find Fyvie with a cross then Paton replaced Pawlett in the 73rd minute.
Langfield was called into action again in the 75th minute then at the other end a great run from Foster set up Marshall and Weaver made another magnificent save to deny the Dons a second. United were awarded a free kick as Fyvie and Gomis went shoulder to shoulder and the resultant set play produced another corner. Langfield claimed the ball to ease the pressure as Aberdeen braced themselves for another attack. United went close in the 83rd minute when Webster had a free header from a corner, but fortunately the effort hit the post.
A minute later Daley fired inches wide as the Dons were forced to work their socks off to try and keep United at bay. With five minutes to go Dixon drilled a low cross over, but Langfield fell on to the ball. With two minutes remaining Maguire replaced Marshall and a minute later Swanson headed over. Aberdeen were guilty of firing in crosses in the later stages rather than holding on to the ball and running down the clock. United were awarded another corner as the fourth official declared three minutes of injury time.
Aberdeen had another let off as United hit the bar then Langfield made another fine save. Deep in injury time Fyvie made a great run, but couldn't produce the finish before Mulgrew fired wide. Aberdeen held out and picked up a deserved three points. There can be little complaint about the red card for Grassi, but it will be interesting to see why Webster was let off with only a yellow.