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Dundee 1 - 2 Aberdeen

HT Score: Dundee 0 - 0 Aberdeen

Dundee scorers: Milne 87
Aberdeen scorers: McGuire 50, Smith (OG) 64.

26/12/2002 | KO: 15:00

Dons win festive thriller at Dens

Dens Park once again proved to be a happy hunting ground for the Dons as Steve Paterson enjoyed the first win of his reign. The first half failed to produce any goals but ended in controversy when Wilkie was dismissed after collecting two yellow cards in the space of a minute. The Dons proved too powerful for ten men Dundee as goals from McGuire and an own goal from Smith gave the Dons the vital win. Despite a late strike by Milne Aberdeen held on to collect all three points. Hernandez was sent off in the last minute in an incident that resulted in the Dons being awarded a spot kick. However Speroni saved McGuire's effort to keep the score at 2-1.

Aberdeen created the first chance of the match when Kevin Rutkiewicz set up Chris Clark in the third minute. The youngster appeared to delay as Speroni came off his line and the ball rolled harmlessly through for a goal kick. Dundee didn't take long to respond and Novo was looking dangerous on the left side of the Dundee attack. It was Novo who carved out the first chance for the home side in the 7th minute when he was given too much space but hit a powerful shot inches over the Dons bar.

A minute later Preece was forced to make a terrific save from Mair. The Englishman had to be at full stretch to tip the powerful shot round the post. The resultant corner saw Tiernan head the ball back into the danger area rather than clear, allowing Brady to get another header at goal. Aberdeen were looking dangerous going forward and McAllister went close in the 12th minute when his free kick was deflected wide of the target. The kick had been awarded when Smith felled Chris Clark and a minute later Clark was taken out by the same player giving the referee no option but to produce the first yellow card of the game. It certainly wasn't going to be the last.

The Dons should have taken the lead in the 14th minute. After good build up play McGuire found himself with only Speroni to beat, but the defender hit the ball well over the bar amid claims of an infringement. Deloumeaux was next to have a pop at goal when he hit a dangerous shot which Speroni did well to hold in the 19th minute. Dundee should have taken the lead four minutes later when Lovell steered a shot wide of the target under severe pressure from McNaughton.

Derek Young was forced out of the match on the half-hour mark after picking up a head knock. His place was taken by Scott Michie. Seconds later, Deloumeaux went close when his free kick evaded everyone forcing Speroni to deperately punch the ball clear. It was Deloumeaux again that went close in the 35th minute when he continued his shoot-on-sight policy. Speroni spilled this effort, but recovered before D'Jaffo could pounce on the loose ball. Seconds later McNaughton was booked for a late challenge.

The Dons upped the tempo in the closing minutes to try and grab the elusive opener. A Deloumeaux free kick caused bedlam in the Dundee area in the 43rd minute before Speroni managed to punch clear. Then in the final minute Wilkie collected a yellow card after dumping Chris Clark onto the ground as he made a direct run at the home defence. A minute later the Dundee defender was off the park when he collected a second yellow following an incident with Scott Michie.

The Dons started the second half positively and Michie forced the first corner of the second half in the 50th minute. Eric Deloumeaux swung the corner in and Phil McGuire rose to head the ball past Speroni to give the Dons the lead. Dundee were not finished yet and Preece was forced to punch a Hernandez free kick clear in the 53rd minute, but unfortunately he injured Phil McGuire in the process.

D'Jaffo became the fifth booking in the 55th minute as the referee failed to take the conditions into consideration. A minute later Preece was called into action again as he smothered the ball at the feet of Novo. Steve Paterson had to make his second enforced change in the 57th minute when Mackie replaced the injured McAllister.

Clark was causing problems for the home side and he was subject of a very late challenge from Novo on the hour mark. The Spaniard was lucky to escape with just a yellow card for what was an unnecessary challenge. The Dons went further ahead in the 64th minute following good work by Deloumeaux. The Frenchman found Mackie on the right and Dundee's Smith, under severe pressure from Michie, turned his cross into the net. Two minutes later McGuire showed his class with a tremendous last gasp challenge on Novo after the Spaniard, looking a yard offside, was allowed to continue his run.

Leon Mike replaced D'Jaffo in the 78th minute, as the Dons now looked comfortable with their two-goal advantage. Substitute Robertson was lucky to escape with only a yellow card after a horrendous tackle on Fergus Tiernan in the 83rd minute. However Dundee grabbed a late consolation in the 87th minute when Milne got the break of the ball inside the Dons penalty area and steered it past Preece. Hernandez became the second Dundee player to be shown a red card when he was sent off in the final minute. The incident resulted in the award of a late spot kick for the Dons, but McGuire missed the chance to add a third when Speroni saved his effort.

Dundee Teamsheet
Speroni, Hernandez, Mair, Wilkie, Brady, Rae, Khizanishvili, Smith, Lovell (Robertson 58), Caballero (Robb 75), Novo (Milne 67) Unused Subs: Langfield, Hutchinson,

Bookings:  Smith 13,   Wilkie 45,   Wilkie 45,   Novo 60,   Robertson 83   Wilkie 45,   Hernandez 90
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Preece, McNaughton, McAllister (Mackie 57), McGuire, Anderson, Tiernan, Rutkiewicz, Deloumeaux, Young (Michie 30), Clark, D'Jaffo (Mike 76).

Unused Subs: Esson, O'Donoghue.

Bookings:  McNaughton (36),  Michie (45),  D'Jaffo (55),  Preece (65).
Attendance: 8,574
Venue: Dens Park, Dundee
Referee: Iain Brines