Aberdeen collected three points for the first time in 2013 with a 1-0 victory over bottom of the table Dundee at Pittodrie. A Niall McGinn strike on 17 minutes was enough to give the home side the points as Friday Night Football returned to the Granite City.
The Dons made one enforced change for this game with Scott Vernon replacing the suspended Mark Reynolds following his two yellows in the previous match. They lined up- Langfield, Osbourne, Shaughnessy, Anderson, Robertson, Hayes, Rae, Hughes, Pawlett, McGinn & Vernon.
And the home side made a bright start to the game- defying the condition of the Pittodrie pitch and passing the ball about well. There was drama just 4 minutes in- a great run and cross from Johnny Hayes fell kindly for Scott Vernon. The Englishman hesitated for a second before eventually firing towards goal. The shot looked like it was goal bound until the intervention of what looked like a hand but referee Brian Colvin waived play on.
Johnny Hayes then slashed a shot wide of the post soon after and McGinn's movement was beginning to cause Dundee problems but despite plenty of possession the Dons weren't creating too many clear cut chances.
Jamie Langfield was forced to make a good save from Brian Easton's low drive but on the 17th minute the Dons took the lead. Following a Dundee attack the ball fell kindly to McGinn who drove from his own half and from 30 yards hammered a low shot past Rab Douglas into the back of the net. It was McGinn's 17th goal in a prolific season for the hitman, who scored a hatrick the last time these sides met in December at Dens.
The game then descended into a bit of a lull but on 34 minutes referee Colvin allowed play to continue when it looked like Peter Pawlett had been fouled. McGinn picked the ball up on the left and drove into the box before pulling the ball back but it was just too far behind Vernon for the striker to make any contact and Dundee cleared.
4 minutes later the Dons were on the attack again- this time Johnny Hayes was the architect with a good run then cross into box but Rab Douglas did well to punch away and deny the leaping Vernon from contacting with the ball. Douglas' punch landed at the feet of Isaac Osbourne and he unleashed a shot that went wide of the right hand post.
With a minute remaining of the first half Dundee hit the bar after Reily set up Jim McAllister while at the other end the Dons ended the half with Hayes forcing Douglas to clutch a dangerous cross.
Dundee came out for the second half in a much more attacking formation and started the half well. Langfield had to look sharp to parry a McAllister shot away, Osbourne knocking the ball out of play for a corner to avert any further danger.
The game became bogged down in midfield with neither side creating anything in the way of decent opportunities. Aberdeen had a few free kicks that were wasted before Craig Brown decided to change things with Gary Naysmith making his comeback from injury- replacing Clark Robertson on 61 minutes.
2 minutes later McGinn was fouled in a decent position by McAllister and referee Colvin awarded the Dons a free kick. McGinn stepped up to the take kick but fired well over the bar- failing to replicate his spectacular strikes against St Johnstone and Dundee United earlier in the season.
On 65 minutes, Rob Milsom replaced Pawlett in midfield but the game remained a scrappy affair. McGinn hammered a shot across the face of goal with no one there to turn it into the net and on 75 minutes, Josh Magennis came on for Joe Shaughnessy who had been suffering from a dead leg for most of the week leading up to the game.
The Dons received yet another injury blow a few minutes after making their 3rd substitution. Isaac Osbourne appeared to fall victim to a hamstring problem and had to leave the field- leaving his side to continue with just 10 men for the remainder of the game and for the second time in a week.
Despite being down to 10 men the home side were rarely troubled by Dundee who are cut well adrift at the bottom of the SPL table. A Rob Milsom shot that went well over was the only action in the final few moments as the Dons held on to claim victory and three points that keeps them in touch with the sides above them ahead of the remaining 5 SPL of the weekend.