Aberdeen suffered their second straight defeat in a controversial encounter at Tannadice that saw manager Mark McGhee sent to the stand in the first half. All the action took place in that opening forty five minutes as Aberdeen started at a blistering pace forcing Pernis into a great save in the opening minute. Two minutes later United broke into the Aberdeen half for the first time and slack defending allowed Daly to open the scoring. The game then became a series of controversial incidents as United doubled their advantage in the 6th minute when Howard punched the ball into his own net amid claims of an infringement. Two minutes later Conway fell over as Hartley made a challenge and Goodwillie netted the contentious penalty award. 3-0 down after ten minutes proved too big a handicap to overcome, but the Dons did create several chances, especially in the first half. Vernon did find the net in the 27th minute, but two big penalty claims were denied as Kenneth appeared to illegally challenge the Dons hit man inside the box. The perceived injustices were too much for manager Mark McGhee and an angry outburst saw him sent to the stand by referee Mike Tumilty. The Dons can only dust themselves down after this and move on to next week. Positives were first starts for Vernon and Megginson who both impressed and a debut for new signing Vujadinovic who replaced the injured Ifil.
Aberdeen kicked off in front of a huge travelling support and they won a free kick inside the first minute. Hartley swung the ball into the danger area where it was half cleared. Maguire collected and hit a great shot that produced a tremendous save from Pernis. Aberdeen continued to put the United defence under pressure with Megginson looking impressive. After the blistering start by the Dons they suddenly found themselves a goal down after only three minutes. United made their first venture into the Aberdeen half and good play from Goodwillie and Conway combined with poor defending set up an opening strike for Daly.
Worse was to follow in the sixth minute when United won the first corner of the match after a fine save from Howard. The ball was swung in and Howard punched the ball into his own net amidst strong protests from the Aberdeen players and management. The controversy continued when United were awarded a very soft penalty two minutes later after Hartley made what looked like a perfectly good challenge on Conway. The captain was booked amid further protest and Goodwillie stepped up to score. Aberdeen tried to hit back against the odds and won two corners before Pernis saved from McArdle.
In the 13th minute Megginson fired inches wide as the Dons tried to haul themselves back into the game. Two minutes later a Considine cross was over hit then Conway won another free kick as once again he went down too easily. Considine was booked for a poor challenge on Robertson in the 17th minute and two minutes later Folly went close with a great strike. In the 24th minute Maguire sent in a cross, but Pernis was quick to smother. At the other end Howard saved well from Daly as the Dons defence continued to look shaky.
A Hartley free kick was punched clear by Pernis then Megginson forced a corner with 26 minutes on the clock. The ball was cleared, But Aberdeen were quickly back on the attack and after referee Tumilty failed to award a spot kick Vernon continued and hooked the ball into the net to pull Aberdeen back into the match. The Dons continued to push forward and Maguire was denied an obvious free kick on the edge of the box before a Vernon header went for a corner. The corner was claimed by Pernis, but Aberdeen certainly had their tails up again.
Vernon was denied a free kick in the 31st minute before Maguire broke and was penalised when a United defender slipped in front of him. A minute later the red army were quick with the ironic cheers as Hartley was awarded a free kick following an infringement from Severin. Maguire got behind the United defence again before Kenneth hoofed the ball away. They then won a free kick 35 yards out, but it failed to produce a scoring chance. Ifil conceded a needless free kick in the 38th minute, but the free kick was easily defended.
Quick feet from Megginson won Aberdeen a free kick at the other end and as the ball was swung in by Hartley Kenneth was all over Vernon, but nothing was given. This clearly incensed the manager and he kicked the ball away in anger and was sent to the stand. Seconds later Kenneth again fouled Vernon inside the box, but to the consternation of the red army referee Tumilty awarded a free kick to United. Tensions were high now and it looked for a moment as if things could get out of control.
Megginson left Kenneth for dead before being taken cynically out of the play. A free kick was awarded, but no action taken against the United man. At the other end Howard made a fantastic finger tip save in the final minute of the half that kept Aberdeen in the match. The home side were finishing the half well as they won a series of corners, but Aberdeen held firm. In injury time Pernis made another fine save from Pawlett.
Aberdeen started the second half well and Megginson continued to impress as he gave the United defence a hard time. Maguire forced a throw in after 49 minutes, but Ifil required treatment before McArdle could launch one. The defender was unable to continue and Vujadinovic made his debut. Despite the officials informing the crowd that it was number 3 (Richard Foster) who was coming on. Nothing came of the throw-in and four minutes later Diamond earned a yellow card after conceding in a dangerous position. Howard punched the delivery away for a corner that was eventually cleared.
United at this stage were happy to slow things down and break up the play with Aberdeen chasing another goal. This in turn meant that the game went flat and a touch of magic was needed to re-ignite the play. Mackie replaced Pawlett and Magennis replaced Megginson in the 62nd minute as the Dons lined up a free kick. Hartley swung in a great cross that was being begged to be netted, but no one made the move and it went out for a goal kick. At the other end Vujadinovic conceded a free kick on the edge of the box and Douglas missed the target by inches.
A promising move in the 65th minute ended with a poor pass from Considine that also left him out of position as United broke. A minute later a Mackie shot was deflected wide, but a goal kick was awarded. Aberdeen then built up a head of steam, but the United defence held firm. Another soft free kick came United's way in the 71st minute, but the Aberdeen wall did its job. Aberdeen won their first corner of the half in the 75th minute and a second quickly followed, but the home side dealt with the danger comfortably.
Maguire won a free kick on the edge of the box with 12 minutes left on the clock and Hartley went so close to pulling another one back only to be denied once again by Pernis as he turned the ball round the post. In the 81st minute Vujadinovic became the fourth Dons player to be booked as he was cautioned for complaining about a foul awarded against him as his opponent tried to exchange jerseys early. A minute later a United free kick produced another scoring opportunity for the home side, but Douglas sent the effort wide.
Pernis denied Considine then Mackie in the final five minutes as Aberdeen continued to look for a way back into the match. A Maguire effort in the final minute failed to emulate his midweek strike for the Scotland U21 side as time ran out for the Dons. In injury time a Hartley free kick produced a late corner that was scrambled clear by the United defence and another corner followed a minute later, but the elusive goal failed to materialise and the first ten minutes was too big a hurdle to overcome.