This was the ultimate game of two halves as Dundee United totally dominated the opening 45 minutes and the Dons totally dominated the second half. That domination was controversially ended in the 75th minute as Mark Kerr was shown a straight red card for a word out of turn to the referee. Aberdeen had grabbed the lead in the 33rd minute against the run of play. Scott Severin heading a Charlie Mulgrew corner back across goal and Lee Miller celebrated his return with a fine finish. United must have felt shell-shocked after dominating the opening half hour, but they were level within five minutes as Goodwillie was given far too much space in the Aberdeen box. Aberdeen then dominated the play after the interval as they created chance after chance. It was surely just a matter of time until they made the breakthrough, but Mr Boyle intervened and left the ten man Dons with a mission impossible.
Aberdeen kicked off, but the home side were first to threaten as Goodwillie fired wide in the opening minute. Good play between Aluko, Kerr and Miller created a chance for the Dons in the 5th minute, but the final ball to Maguire was too heavy. United won the first corner of the match a minute later and a second quickly followed, but Aberdeen defended well. A slip by Duff in the 8th minute almost allowed Bauben in, but the defence recovered to clear. It was all United at this stage as Aberdeen struggled to get into the game.
Mulgrew had a chance to put a ball into the danger zone in the 15th minute, but it was too near the keeper. A minute later another mistake from Duff presented Bauben with another chance, but he fired inches over. A Maguire shot in the 17th minute failed to test the keeper and United won another corner a minute later. Aberdeen failed to clear their lines and the Dons had to withstand enormous pressure. The reds were struggling to get out of their own half as they were forced onto their back foot and were struggling to string any passes together.
Shala and Goodwillie combined well again in the 22nd minute and the youngster fired inches over with the Dons defence chasing shadows. Lee Miller collected a yellow card in the 25th minute for an incident that was only spotted by one of the assistants then Langfield was forced into a save on the half hour mark as United continued to force Aberdeen back. Maguire forced a save from Zaluska after some fine play from Aluko then Aberdeen won their first corner in the 33rd minute and it produced the opening goal of the match.
Scott Severin headed a Charlie Mulgrew corner back across goal and Lee Miller celebrated his return with a fine finish. United must have felt shell-shocked after dominating the opening half hour, but Aberdeen only held the lead for five minutes, as United didn't have to work too hard for the equaliser with Goodwillie netting far to easily. A minute later McDonald was scythed down, but the referee ignored the incident and seconds later he booked Foster for pushing his own team mate.
Goodwillie then committed his umpteenth foul, but the referee kept his card in his pocket. United continued to cut through the Aberdeen defence like a hot knife through butter as the Dons continued to look shaky. A cross from Aluko found Kerr, but Duff was harshly adjudged offside as the ball came into the box. The half ended with little further incident as the large red army were left hoping for improvement after the interval and they weren't to be disappointed.
Vidal replaced the injured Mair at the interval with Foster moving into central defence alongside Scott Severin. A reckless challenge by Shala on Severin went unpunished in the 47th minute and a minute later United won the first corner of the half. Aberdeen were all over the place again a minute later as first Severin was forced to boot the ball clear and then Langfield grabbed the ball to ease the pressure. At the other end Miller hurried his shot with little pressure on him then Zaluska was forced to tip an Aluko cross over the bar as Aberdeen started to take control..
Two minutes later Duff set up Aluko, but the young Englishman squeezed the ball wide of the post. Sone went close again in the 56th minute as Zaluska was forced into a fine save. From the resultant corner Kerr had a shot deflected wide. Seconds later Severin had a great chance, but fired into the side netting. The Dons were looking lively now and Aluko was causing the United defence some real problems. Dods pushed Lee Miller to the ground on the hour mark, but there was no spot kick award and a minute later Zaluska made another fine save from Aluko.
A Mulgrew corner caused all sorts of problems in the 64th minute as Kenneth almost turned the ball into his own net. A shocking assault by Dods on Chris Maguire went unpunished in the 66th minute and the subsequent free kick was punched clear by the keeper. Another Mulgrew free kick in the 70th minute caused more problems as Zaluska was forced to punch clear again. It was all Aberdeen now, but they still hadn't found the breakthrough. Two minutes later United won a corner in a rare foray forward, but within seconds Langfield had set up an attack and the Dons won their own corner.
The game was raging from end to end now as United won another corner followed by a very controversial decision that was to change the outcome of the match. Kerr was penalised on the edge of his own box for a very soft challenge then the midfielder obviously spoke out of turn and was incredibly shown a straight red card. From the subsequent free kick Conway smashed the ball off the upright. Pawlett replaced Maguire in the 76th minute as referee Boyle presented Aberdeen with an almost impossible task to qualify for Europe.
The red card had completely changed the match and United were now on the ascendancy after playing second fiddle for the whole of the second half. The referee continued to enrage the large red army in the Tannadice crowd as Aluko was mysteriously penalised as he threatened the home defence in the 82nd minute. A minute later United were eventually awarded a corner after a barrage of protest from the home players. In the 84th minute Miller won a free kick and the keeper took two attempts to gather the ball from the subsequent free kick.
Caddis was booked in the 85th minute for a foul on McDonald then referee Boyle held the game up for about a minute shouting at both sets of players before Mulgrew could finally take the free kick. Unfortunately the ball was scrambled clear as time started to slip away from the Dons. A poor delivery from Aluko ended a potential attacking threat in the 88th minute and a minute later Langfield made an important punch to keep the home side at bay. The three minutes of injury time failed to produce a winner for either side and the Dons were left wondering at what might have been.