Any hopes of a top six finish ended tonight when Aberdeen were well beaten by United at Tannadice. Two defensive blunders presented the home side with a two goal cushion at the interval. The Dons made a great start to the second half and substitute Magennis pulled one back six minutes after the break. A minute later Pernis made a terrific save to deny Milsom from 25 yards, but United restored their two goal advantage with a well taken goal and Aberdeen were unable to make a second comeback. Aberdeen will now be looking to extend their run in the Scottish Cup to keep interest in the season alive.
Aberdeen kicked off and Hartley played the ball deep towards Vernon winning the Dons an early throw in. A minute later Bauben tried to threaten, but neither keeper was involved in the opening exchanges. United won the first corner in the 4th minute when Goodwillie threatened, but Diamond was across quick to close him down. Nothing came from the set play and at the other end Young ghosted in at the back post, but Pernis was on hand to block the effort. A long throw from McNamee caused all sorts of problems and the Dons won their first corner.
Milsom took the corner and Diamond put his head in where it hurts and forced a save from the keeper. He had to leave the field for treatment with blood pouring from a head wound. It had been a lively start and in the 9th minute a Goodwillie shot failed to find the target as United tried to take advantage of the ten men. Goodwillie and Conway then combined, but they couldn't get a shot at goal. Diamond returned with his McArdle headwear in the 12th minute and within a minute he collected the first yellow card of the game.
He caught Gomis following his first challenge since returning. Smith followed Diamond into the book in the 16th minute following a challenge on Swanson. A quick free kick caused the United back four problems before it was booted clear. At the other end Langfield had to look sharp to clear a weak pass back from Considine. In the 19th minute a Milsom shot was blocked as play raged from end to end. A minute later Aluko got a rare touch of the ball and Aberdeen need to get him involved if they are to create chances.
A glancing header from Goodwillie went wide and at the other end Young was caught by the studs of Bauben and the Dons fans were angry that the United man was not cautioned following the early bookings of Diamond and Smith. There were hopeful appeals for a spot kick by United in the 28th minute, but referee Winter was not interested. Meanwhile Diamond had to go off for treatment on a second injury. While he was getting treatment United won a corner and Douglas headed home unchallenged. Diamond was unable to return and McArdle replaced him.
United won another corner and United hit the woodwork before it bounced off Langfield for another corner. This time McNamee was able to clear, but minutes later the same player made a poor clearance that fell to Conway. He stepped forward and hit a fierce shot that Langfield got his fingers to, but couldn't keep the ball out. He should really have done better, but Aberdeen almost hit back immediately as they won a corner. The ball fell to Jack and Pernis had to make another good save to keep Aberdeen out.
Aberdeen had a sustained period of pressure, but a poor cross from Hartley ended the threat against a back four that didn't look too comfortable. In the 42nd minute Young was caught late by Swanson to present Aberdeen with a chance, but Milsom only played the ball straight out of play. The half ended with United in command, but Aberdeen were able to hold out. A big change in fortunes is required in the second half if Aberdeen are to take anything from this match.
Magennis replaced Aluko at the interval and in the 47th minute he had half a chance but was halted by Douglas. The Dons reverted to a 4-4-2 formation as the 4-3-3 was binned. At the other end Conway had a decent effort from 25 yards and it wasn't too far over. The Dons then won a corner in the 49th minute and when the second ball came back into the box McArdle was in an offside position. A minute later Aberdeen pulled one back when the United defence was in disarray as a long ball came into the box.
Vernon won the ball and hooked it back to Magennis who had an easy nod in from close range. A minute later Milsom was unlucky as he hit a fierce shot that had Pernis at full stretch to make the save. Aberdeen were on the up now and another corner followed before Conway was replaced by Shala and almost immediately Robertson fired inches over Langfield's bar. In 58 minutes Milsom and Smith forced a corner, but the ball was scrambled clear. A minute later an overhead kick from Goodwillie smashed off the post with Langfield beaten.
Langfield was beaten again on the hour mark when Swanson collected a Goodwillie pass inside the box and drilled it past the keeper. It was a great goal that gave the keeper no chance. Two minutes later Langfield fumbled a Shala shot and at the other end Aberdeen forced another corner. A second quickly followed and Pernis was lucky to win a free kick as he struggled to get to the ball. The third goal had restored the United confidence and Aberdeen needed a break to claw their way back into the match for a second time.
Aberdeen won a free kick in the 68th minute, but Magennis couldn't control the ball allowing United a quick break. That threat ended with an offside decision and three minutes later Aberdeen produced a good passing move as they forced their way forward. United threatened again in the 74th minute, but Robertson couldn't get the telling touch. Brown made his final gamble when Blackman replaced McNamee in an attempt to get the goals. He made an immediate impact as he forced Aberdeen forward.
He then won a free kick and when the ball was played in Vernon flicked it to Magennis and Pernis was forced to turn the ball round the post. Unfortunately Milsom slipped as he took the corner and the pressure was eased. Aberdeen were leaving themselves vulnerable with three at the back, but the home defence did not appreciate the aerial attack offered by the Dons. There was another loud shout for a penalty as Goodwillie went down at a McArdle challenge. The referee waved away appeals and at the other end a Magennis shot was comfortably held by Pernis.
In the 84th minute Considine failed to win a long ball and Goodwillie almost made him pay. Two minutes later a Vernon cross was easily cleared and at the other end Considine had to block a Gomis effort. The fourth official indicated three minutes of injury time as the game slipped away from the Dons. There was little goalmouth action in the closing stages and now Aberdeen must lick their wounds and prepare for their Scottish Cup visit to Paisley this weekend.