This was certainly a game of two halves as Aberdeen sealed the fate of Dundee with a hard earned draw at Dens Park. The home side deserved their lead at the interval courtesy of a deflected 20 yard drive from Jim McAlister. Aberdeen improved after the break, but their chances took a setback when Rory Fallon was shown a straight red card after the assistant spotted an off the ball incident. However Pawlett was upended inside the box and Niall McGinn blasted the penalty down the middle for his 21st goal of the season. Dundee desperately tried to force a winner, but found Jamie Langfield in fine form as the match ended 1-1. A result that keeps Aberdeen in seventh place and unbeaten under Derek McInnes.
Dundee kicked off following a short delay as both sides lined up in a 4-4-2 formation. The early play was peppered with poor passes from both sides as neither goal came under any threat. An error from Reynolds in the tenth minute resulted in Dundee being presented with the first chance of the match, but the execution was woeful. Two minutes later Langfield did well to claim a dangerous cross as Dundee pushed for an opening goal. The home side were opting for the long punt up the park, but the closest they had come was a Harkins volley that went well wide. Aberdeen had yet to threaten the home goal until the 16th minute when Shaughnessy tried to play McGinn in, but the pass was a bit too heavy.
Dundee converted the early pressure into a goal in the 20th minute when McAlister hit a fierce shot from 20 yards that took a deflection before flying into the Dons net. It was no more than the home side deserved as they were quicker to every ball and hungrier than Aberdeen. The goal appeared to waken Aberdeen from their slumber as they raced up field and won two quick corners. A Dundee free kick was comfortably cleared in the 24th minute and despite the initial flurry after the goal, the Dons were still second best at this stage.
Langfield pulled off a great save from Harkins on the half hour mark after Rae and Hughes lost possession in the middle of the park. Two minutes later saint became sinner when the keeper made a hash of a clearance, but Dundee were unable to take advantage. Dundee were working hard and getting into the faces of the Dons players and at this stage they looked more likely to increase their lead. Aberdeen then created their best chance in the 35th minute with a real stramash inside the Dundee box that forced Simonsen into two great saves from Jack and Pawlett.
At the other end Dundee forced a corner, but Langfield was quick to claim the ball. Langfield was then forced to save a stinging shot from Baird after Fallon dithered on the ball. Lockwood was lucky to escape a yellow card following a cynical foul on Fallon, but Aberdeen failed to capitalise with the free kick as Fallon's flick on was comfortably gathered by the keeper. A late Osbourne free kick was easily dealt with by the Dundee defence and Aberdeen needed to pick up the tempo after the break.
Nicky Low replaced Hughes at the interval and Aberdeen won the first corner of the second half when a long ball from Langfield created a mix up in the Dundee box. The corner put the home side under pressure and a second quickly followed. Dundee half cleared the danger before Pawlett fired a fierce shot inches wide of the target with 50 minutes on the clock. Two minutes later the Dons were pressing again when the referee decided to award Dundee a free kick, much to the wonderment of the travelling support. This was a much better start by the Dons and Low was showing a real appetite for the game.
Aberdeen forced another corner in the 56th minute, but the threat ended with the referee blowing for an infringement. Following the positive start the game was getting bogged down as neither side seemed capable of retaining the ball. Then just after the half hour mark Fallon was handed a straight red after the assistant referee spotted an off the ball incident. Dundee took heart from the red card and immediately won a corner kick, but Low cleared the ball for a second corner. Once again Langfield kept the Dons in the match with another fine save then Aberdeen were thrown a lifeline in the 69th minute when Pawlett was upended in the box.
McGinn made no mistake from the spot and despite not leaving the field of play he was booked for celebrating in front of the home fans. It was no different to Mulgrew's antics at Pittodrie earlier in the season when no action was taken against the Celtic man. Magennis then replaced Pawlett in the 74th minute. Tempers were getting frayed inside Dens Park and Dundee had to go for it now or their SPL adventure would be over. John Brown responded with some positive substitutions and Langfield was then forced into another great save from a McAlister header.
Magennis was a battering ram up front and when the Dons broke he was causing real problems for the home side. A long clearance found McGinn, but he was taken out of play by Toshney and the Dundee man was lucky to escape a caution. A Low effort went wide as ten men Aberdeen started to take control of proceedings at this stage. A free kick in the final three minutes found Magennis, but his effort was comfortably gathered. At the other end Dundee won a corner, but Aberdeen broke quickly and Simonsen had to race from his goal to clear the danger.
Easton then fired tamely wide for Dundee before Cammy Smith replaced McGinn in the final minute happy with his 20 SPL goals and 21 overall. McAlister then had a chance of hero status, but headed wide of the target. The fourth official indicated four minutes of injury time as Dundee prepared to throw everything at the Dons in their fight for survival. However it was Aberdeen who won a corner, but they appeared unwilling to press for a winner and tamely conceded a goal kick from the short corner. Dundee failed to carve out another chance and their fate was sealed.