On the subs bench there was a first appearance for U20 central defender Michael Rose. United made six changes to their side. Former Don Jackie McNamara put Marc McCallum in goal instead of Cierzniak. Gary MacKay Stevens missed the game with illness.
The opening stages were extremely lively and very open. Probably too open for both managers.
On five minutes Dow claimed for a penalty when Anderson got the better of him in the box but ref Calum Murray correctly waved play on. United had started the game very well but it was the Dons who took an early lead. Langfield played it forward and the ball was flicked on by Robson and Vernon to Pawlett. Peter used his pace to get behind the United defence. He could have gone himself but he allowed Scott Vernon to take the ball off his toes, the striker made an angle for himself before hammering a low shot under McCallum.
Back came United. On 11 minutes Jamie Langfield, who is enjoying a fantastic season, produced a brilliant save. The ball broke kindly for the impressive Nadir Ciftci and he fired in a shot on the bounce but the keeper dived to his right and pushed the ball to safety. On 15 minutes Pawett set up Vernon again. The striker stepped inside and had an opening but he put his left footed shot over the bar. A good chance missed.
There were a few battles going on all over the park, none more so than Barry Robertson and young player of the year Andy Robertson. Barry was looking well up for this and on 20 minutes he was booked after going up for a challenge with Gavin Gunning.
Then on 22 minutes another good chance for the Dons. McGinn did really well down the left flank. He was able to beat his man and put over an enticing cross. Robson rose really well to meet it but his header went inches wide with McCallum rooted to the spot.
Midway through the first half the Dons were in control and dealing with anything United were producing going forward. It was a really open and frantic game still.
On 28 minutes a Robson free kick saw Vernon and McCallum collide. Referee Murray penalised Vernon even though the keeper took him out. Thankfully after some treatment Scott was able to continue. Unfortunately seconds later on the half hour mark Willo Flood limped off and had to be replaced by Cammy Smith.
On 32 minutes amazingly the first corner of the game, which went to United. Gunning headed it behind but a minute later the home were level. Ciftci played a good cross field pass to Armstrong. The Dons did not defend well over on the left. Armstrong played the ball back to defender Sean Dillon who beat Jack and his shot deflected off Reynolds and went past Langfield into the net. It was the United captain's first goal of the season. A poor goal to lose from the Dons point of view.
On 35 minutes Paweltt and Vernon combined again but this time Peter was flagged offside. It looked a very tight decision especially when it looked like Vernon had been impeded in the box. A minute later Jamie Langfield produced one of the saves of the season. The ball came over again too easily from the left. Logan missed his header and the ball fell kindly for Andy Robertson who had made a good forward run. The left back hit a perfect volley which looked to be heading into the net but Jamie diving to his left managed to get a strong hand on it and touch the ball round the post.
The home side dominated the last 20 minutes of the half. United had gained momentum after the goal and Aberdeen were still trying to sort themselves out after losing Flood. The defence were now not looking so much in control.
Just before half time there were chances at either end. On 43 minutes Cammy Smith did well to steal the ball from Robertson, the ball was eventually laid back to Hayes but he fired his shot over. Then on 44 minutes Jamie Langfield produced another world class save. The ball again came over from the left after Reynolds clearance had not found touch. The cross found Mark Wilson only about 10 yards out. Somehow Jamie managed to tip his effort from close range onto the bar.
A very entertaining first 45.
There was no let-up in the action at the start of the second half. On 47 minutes Hayes did really well to intervene at the back post after Robertson had made a great run and put over a brilliant ball. Jonny though was in the right area to avert the danger and stop Graham from having a tap in. Then at the other end Robson's looping header just went over.
On 49 minutes Cammy Smith made some room for a shot on the edge of the area. He fired in a left footed effort which McCallum did not deal with particularly well. Niall McGinn was first to the ball and headed it into the unguarded net but the goal was disallowed for off-side. It looked a tight one. It was also very nervy looking goalkeeping. Then United claimed for a penalty when Graham went to ground after he and Anderson tussled when the ball was played into the box from a free kick.
United then gave away a couple of needless corners as McCaullum again looked shaky. Aberdeen won a corner on 54 minutes after Pawlett's cross found Vernon at the back post and the ball hit the United keeper who did not know much about it. Robson swung in a great ball and McCallum completely misjudged the flight of the ball. Vernon read it and timed his jump perfectly and headed the ball into the net from a few yards out. From United's point of view it was a gift of a goal to give away.
United though should have levelled straight away. The ball was played to the back post area. Hayes was caught ball watching and Cifcti ran off him and was unmarked six yards out. Instead though of trying to place his shot he went for power and blasted the ball over.
On the hour mark Dow has the ball in the net but the offside flag was up. Replays showed the United player was actually onside. A let off for the Dons.
Dundee then had a good little spell. Anderson and Reynolds did just enough to crowd out Graham and then Langfield punched clear. Then from a corner Graham headed over but Reynolds did well to give him no space to direct the header. The game was by now really open and it was end to end stuff. On 70 minutes Langfield made another great stop. United, with Ciftci at the heart of it, put a great quick break together. The ball was played across the box and when Logan missed it the unmarked Graham looked certain to score but his first time effort was saved at point blank range by Langfield with his foot.
Derek McInnes had seen enough. The game was too open. McGinn came off and was replaced by Alan Tate. A minute later it was game over. Langfield's long ball was missed by Souttar who slipped and Vernon was able to waltz round McCallum and roll the ball into the empty net. For a second it looked like a defender might get back to clear the ball off the line but thankfully the shot had enough on it to get over the line. United look great going forward but defensively they do look fragile at times - they have only had one clean sheet all season.
In the final 15 minutes the Dons went to a 3-5-2 formation with Tate sitting in the middle of Anderson and Reynolds. The game became stretched but Aberdeen never looked in any danger. In the final stages Scott Vernon was replaced by Calvin Zola. The Aberdeen centre forward was given a tremendous reception by the red army.
Aberdeen had to weather a number of storms in this game which they did with real tenacity and thanks to the outstanding performances of Scott Vernon and Jamie Langfield they claimed a massive three points in the race to finish second.