Aberdeen scorers:Jarvie 41, Watson 72. Dundee United scorers: Kirkwood 56
15/03/1980 | KO: 15:00
Young Andy Watson came to Aberdeen's rescue as the Dons sought revenge for the League Cup Final defeat three months earlier. The home fans were stunned at the bizarre manner of United's equaliser but the midfielder's winning goal kept Aberdeen in touch with Celtic in the race for the flag. 10,000 were at the game.
Aberdeen started with an unfamiliar 5-3-2 line up and United took the game to the home team right away. They forced a corner in the opening minute and then appealed for a penalty when Sturrock and Willie Miller collided. Then Aberdeen mounted two or three concerted attacks and, in a crowded goalmouth, United were grateful to Bannon for clearing off the line. Out of the blue Gordon Strachan almost caught McAlpine unawares with a snap 20-yard shot which the keeper took two attempts to hold. Pettigrew then demonstrated why the visitors had scored only 3 goals in the past 7 league games when, with only Clark to beat, he slid the ball past the post.
Andy Watson almost scored on the half hour mark. McAlpine punched a Stuart Kennedy cross straight to Watson but his net-bound shot squirmed off a defender's leg and trickled just past. Four minutes from half time the home team gained the lead they probably deserved. There was a scramble once again in the United goalmouth and this time Drew Jarvie was successful as he prodded home the ball. It had been a dour first period.
A sharp piece of clever play cracked open the visiting defence straight from the kick-off. Watson found Steve Archibald running free with a quick pass and the latter just as quickly trans¬ferred the ball into the goalmouth but there were no takers.
The play generally was uninspiring and, in an effort to change the pattern, Mark McGhee was sent on to take the place of Derek Hamilton in 54 minutes, Two minutes later the home team and the fans were shocked when United gained an unusual equalising goal. From far out on the right wing Kirkwood swung over a long cross, With no one in the goalmouth except Bobby Clark there appeared to be no danger but the keeper quite amazingly allowed the ball to drop over his hands and into the net off the far post.
This goal rocked the Dons and certainly put a spring in the United steps. Alex McLeish and Miller had to be on their toes and the home team
went through a sticky spell for a quarter of an hour. However the Dons regained the initiative when Watson scored what proved to be the winning goal. McGhee foxed the United defence as he moved to an Archibald cross and Watson was unmarked as he rammed the ball past the unprotected McAlpine.
Doug Bell then took over from the limping Watson and United fielded both substitutes in a desperate attempt to save the game - Milne and Addison for Holt and Fleming respectively. Addison even managed to get himself booked.
The home team and fans were boosted by the news that Kilmarnock had forced a draw with Celtic.