Derek McInnes made two changes and tinkered slightly with tactics. Langfield was goal, Logan was at left back, Reynolds and Anderson were in the middle with Shaughnessy at right back. Ryan Jack was the only sitting player, Willo Flood joined Robson and Cammy Smith in midfield - Cammy playing wide left and Barry on the right, with Niall McGinn given the role just off Rooney.
The game kicked off in front of another very healthy Pittodrie crowd and a large United support helped create a very decent atmosphere. The early stages were as expected very lively. There was an early scare for the Dons when the ball fell nicely for Graham and Mackay-Steven in the box but the two players got in each others way and Logan was able to come round and clear the danger. The offside flag then went up though anyway.
The Dons first chance came on four minutes after Smith had done very well down the left. He cut it back for Robson but from a good position he failed to catch the ball properly and it went well over. Then on 4 minutes United took the lead. Graham gathered a long ball over the top. His cross was cleared by Anderson but the ball fell nicely for Paul Paton and he steered a low shot round Robson into the corner of the net. It was a very good finish that gave Langfield no chance.
On 8 minutes United almost made it two. Armstrong showed good pace going forward. He then played it wide to Rankin who hit a fantastic shot which looked to be heading in but at full strength Langfield got enough on the ball to push it wide. A fantastic save. From the resulting corner Langfield claimed the ball with confidence.
Robson and Flood both had shots from distance which did not trouble Cierzniak before a great ball in from McGinn looked to be heading towards Rooney but Watson did very well to clear the danger. Anderson was then booked for a foul on Stuart Armstrong. His pace was causing the Dons all sorts of problems. The resulting free kick landed at the feet of Graham after the Dons defence again failed to clear their lines but his shot from point blank range hit Reynolds. What a chance for United and what great defending from Reynolds.
The Dons at this stage were really under pressure.
On 16 minutes Robson had plenty of time to put over a cross. He put over a great ball which Dillon met. The defender stuck a foot out and the ball could have gone anywhere - he was therefore very relieved to see the ball going over the bar. A short corner was then played to Robson. He worked his way into the box and got away a powerful shot but it was straight at Ciezniak. Rooney then laid the ball off for McGinn who from distance tried to side foot it but the ball was always raising. On 20 minutes Logan's cross was cleverly dummied by Rooney but no one was coming in behind. Minutes later Robson then got on the end of a throw in and got a cross over but Rooney could not get a touch.
Much better from the Dons though. United were the better side in opening 20 minutes but Aberdeen would then go on and dominate the rest of the game.
There was controversy round about the 25 minute mark when Mackay-Steven's claimed for penalty after he was challenged in the box by Reynolds. The United player clearly fell over, there was very little contact and ref Murray correctly waved play on. On 29 minutes the very impressive Logan played over another good cross, McGinn got across his defender and did well to angle his header but Cierzniak claimed with an impressive diving save for the cameras. On 32 minutes Robson was taken down by Mackay Steven on the edge of the area. The free kick was taken by Barry but it hit the wall. Aberdeen appealed for hand ball but again Murray made the correct decision.
The Dons had plenty of the ball in and around the area but Rankin and Paton were doing a good job protecting their defence.
On 36 minutes the Dons very nearly found an equaliser. After a great knock down by Rooney, McGinn got in between two defenders and poked a shot goalwards. Cierzniak was slow to react but just managed to get a touch on the ball which put it onto the post. The ball then rolled along the goal line but McGinn, nor anyway else, could get to the ball in time. The Dons kept the pressure on and Robson played a lovely ball over the top for Rooney who was completely unmarked and onside but he agonisingly could not get a touch.
Although the Dons were now on top United still looked dangerous. On 38 minutes a free kick led to a chance for Graham but could not direct his header goal wards. Then a minute later a great challenge on Mackay Steven by Logan. He showed great pace to get back as the United player had five yards on him.
Just before the break Aberdeen again wasted a good opportunity. Jack got to the by-line before playing the ball over. His cross was well defended on the goal line. The ball was then cleared and Robson picked it up but his shot was blocked. United for once could not clear their lines and the ball landed at the feet of Jack inside the box. His shot though hit Rooney! Ryan did not catch the shot the way he wanted but it would still have been interesting to see where the ball would have landed had it not hit Adam.
The Dons were well on top at this stage and the half time whistle came at the wrong time. It has to be said it was a fantastic first half played at an incredible pace. There was also a lot of quality football played by both teams.
The Dons came out strongly at the second half. On 46 minutes a brilliant run by Logan almost set up a chance. He played it inside to Robson. He dinked it to the far post but the United keeper gathered. Robson and Paton then clashed inside the Aberdeen half. Robson had had enough. He had received some rough treatment from Paton and Co in the middle of the park and was getting no protection from the officials. Robson was on a mission this afternoon. He was simply outstanding.
The Dons kept on the pressure. They put together a great move when McGinn cut inside and played it to Smith, he laid it off to Jack but the midfielder blasted wide. Still the Dons came at United. Shaughnessy took a throw-in. he found Robson who turned on the edge of the area and hit an early shot. Cierzniak at his near post did well to tip it away.
On 51 minutes an Aberdeen corner was knocked away for a throw in. Robson this time took it and found Shaughnessy. The ball was played back to Robson and his cross was met by McGinn at the near post and Niall made no mistake. Goal! You could see what it meant to Niall and everyone in a red jersey. It was his first goal of 2014 and no one deserved a goal more. He has contributed so much to the team in recent months.
On 53 minutes Niall almost got a second when he turned on the edge of the area but his shot was well saved by Cierzniak. Two minutes after that he tired his luck again but his deflected shot went behind, not that the Dons were given a corner. On 61 minutes Robson again created another chance. He burst forward, leaving Rankin for dead. He played it wide for Smith who from a tight angle just put a shot over.
The first change of the game came on 63 minutes when Gauld replaced Mackay-Steven. You felt at this stage that the momentum had swung in Aberdeen's favour and it looked like there would only be one team who would now win the game. On 68 minutes Rooney's flick on was not far away from McGinn. The two players linked up well all afternoon.After a fantastic first hour the game then became a big more cagy and there was a bit of a lull in play. The time Cierzniak was taking with goal kicks suggested United were happy with the point.
On 76 minutes Cammy Smith hit the side netting with a shot. It was Cammy's last involvement because he was then replaced by Declan McManus. Cammy had a very good game playing wide on the left. On 84 minutes Logan cross just too high for Shaughnessy coming in at the back post and then Robson from distance shot wide. On 87 minutes Logan's long ball found Rooney. His early shot did not have much power on it but the ball almost crept in, another good save from Cierzniak. On 89 minutes the final chance when the Dons won a free kick but Rooney's backward header was easy for the keeper. It was the last chance because ref Murray only added on 2 minutes of injury time. Derek McInnes was not impressed!
A very entertaining game, and another very impressive Aberdeen performance.