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Aberdeen 1 - 1 Dundee

HT Score: Aberdeen 0 - 0 Dundee

Aberdeen scorers: Whelan 63.
Dundee scorers: McManus 73

19/03/2005 | KO: 15:00

Super strike cancelled by schoolboy defending

The Dundee jinx continued this afternoon at Pittodrie as Aberdeen plucked a draw from the jaws of victory when they conceded a crazy late goal. Aberdeen had the best of the early play and finally broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute with a touch of brilliance from Noel Whelan. The striker lobbing the Dundee keeper from 25 yards to give the Dons a deserved lead. Aberdeen then undid the good work with a piece of schoolboy defending that had the entire defence looking at each other as McManus nipped in to poke the ball into the net. This gave the visitors a lift and they looked the likelier to go on and win it. After one week back at third the Dons slip back to fourth and let Hearts gain ground on them as both Edinburgh clubs recorded comfortable wins.

Dundee kicked off but it was Aberdeen who carved out the first chance in the 3rd minute following a neat back heel from Whelan. Clark collected the pass on the left and sent over a cross that was only half cleared. Winter fired in a volley but he was closed down quickly. Three minutes later McNaughton found McGuire with a deep cross but his effort was also blocked. Aberdeen were playing some nice passing football and in the 7th minute Soutar fumbled a Mackie cross, but Clark was unable to capitalise on the chance. A minute later Dundee carved out their first chance when Brady controlled the ball well, beat McGuire and fired in a low drive straight at Esson.

In the 10th minute Whelan sent in a dangerous ball over the Dundee defence but Soutar was off his line quickly to deny Mackie. Seconds later Soutar was again in action saving from Whelan then preventing an own goal from Kitamirike. Aberdeen had the upper hand at this stage and won the first two corners of the match after 17 minutes. Once again the Dundee defence marshalled by Wilkie and Mann held firm. Mackie went close again in the 21st minute when he collected a clearance on the left and drove forward before hitting a decent effort from 20 yards that sailed inches wide.

There was an almighty scramble in front of Soutar after 27 minutes as Whelan tried to bring the ball down under pressure but the keeper eventually collected to ease the situation. A great tackle by Severin on Caballero seconds later set up another chance but once again the Dens Park men held firm. Esson easily collected a Dundee free kick on the left after 32 minutes as Aberdeen failed to sustain their early promise. This was illustrated by a weak Winter effort in the 36th minute. Whelan was again causing problems in the 40th with neat flicks but it was McNaughton who almost broke the deadlock with a fierce 25-yard shot that crashed off the bar. On the stroke of half time Jamie Winter again went close with another effort from distance.

The Dons forced the first corner of the second half after 49 minutes but the ball failed to beat the first defender as the frustration continued. Four minutes later Anderson dwelt on the ball for too long and almost allowed Dundee in before Esson rushed to retrieve the situation. At this stage Aberdeen's passing had deserted them and the only chance created in the early stages of the second period was a long range effort from Clark that was fired straight at Soutar. Aberdeen finally carved open the Dundee defence in the 58th minute but a combination of the assistant's flag and a fine stop from Soutar ended the action.

A quickly taken free kick on the hour mark had the Dark Blue's defence scrambling then Foster replaced McGuire as Calderwood looked to try and unlock the back door. Three minutes later the Dons finally cracked the Dark Blue wall with a brilliant effort from Noel Whelan. The striker spotted Soutar off his line and lobbed the ball over him from 25 yards. Dundee came out of their shell and tried to hit back quickly. A corner in the 66th minute saw Wilkie head inches wide and a minute later Winter had to clear off the line as the same player out jumped Esson. Stewart then replaced Winter in the 68th minute before a comedy of errors allowed Dundee back into the match.

If the Dons goal was the beautiful game at its best then the equaliser was defending at its worst. A long free kick was floated into the box and as the Dons defence played statues McManus nipped in to roll the ball into the net. After being in total control of the match Aberdeen were suddenly looking vulnerable. Clark burst into the box in the 83rd minute but Soutar blocked his effort and from the resulting corner a free kick was won and Severin fired inches wide of the target. In the closing minutes Dundee looked to have more confidence and looked the likelier side to grab the winner. Deep in injury time a Foster cross was headed back across the goal before being scrambled clear with an overhead kick.

Aberdeen Teamsheet
Esson, Hart, McGuire (Foster 60), McNaughton, Anderson, Heikkinen, Winter (Stewart 68), Severin, Whelan, Mackie, Clark.

Unused Subs: Craig, Considine, Morrison, Muirhead, Preece.

Bookings:  McNaughton (79).
Dundee Teamsheet
Soutar, McDonald, Wilkie, Mann, Smith, Robb, Barrett (Sutton 73), Brady, Kitamirike, McManus, Caballero (Sancho 85)

Bookings:  McManus 42
Attendance: 11,138
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: Stuart Dougal, Burnside
Today's Match Programme.
Michael Hart drives forward this afternoon.
Wilkie eases Darren Mackie off the ball at Pittodrie.
No way through for Russell Anderson today.
Scott Severin battles in midfield this afternoon.
Jimmy Calderwood also can't look as the Dons struggle to break down Dundee.
Whelan and Wilkie in a tangle this afternoon.
Whelan looks pleased with himself after his great strike this afternoon.
This effort from Severin scraped past the post.
Heads are in hands as McManus accepts his gift with glee.
Anderson is back in the thick of the action.
John Stewart tries to make a breakthrough for the winner.