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Dundee United 4 - 1 Aberdeen

HT Score: Dundee United 3 - 1 Aberdeen

Scottish Cup Quarter Final
Dundee United scorers: Archibald 19, Grady 29, Crawford 40, Grady 47
Aberdeen scorers: Byrne 33.

27/02/2005 | KO: 12:00

Dons crash and burn at Tannadice

Shocking defending sunk the Dons without trace at Tannadice today as any dreams of a Hampden date had evaporated after 47 minutes. Trailing 3-1 at the interval Grady added a fourth two minutes after the break to end the game as a contest. Aberdeen did little after that final hammer blow and in Truth Ryan Esson made some fine stops in the later stages to prevent more embarrassment. The Dons have to return to Tannadice on Wednesday and will be looking for a massive improvement in their performance.

United kicked off in front of a crowd that had Aberdeen supporters considerably outnumbering the home crowd. The home side created the first half-chance in the opening minute Jason Scotland set up Grady inside the Dons box. Fortunately the United man stumbled and seconds later the Dons won the first corner of the match but failed to press the advantage. United had the upper hand in the opening exchanges and Robson tested Esson in the 4th minute but the keeper made a comfortable stop. Two minutes later there was a goalmouth scramble in the Dons box before the ball was eventually hacked clear.

At the other end Winter released Mackie in the 9th minute and it took a well-timed tackle from Archibald to deny the striker a glimpse of goal. A Winter free kick two minutes later was only half cleared and when the ball was delivered into the danger area again Mackie steered a header wide. Aberdeen broke again quickly in the 14th minute and only a tight offside decision denied Mackie a clear run on goal. Two minutes later United threatened with a couple of corners but Aberdeen held firm and carved out the best chance so far in the 18th minute. A good passing move ended with Whelan laying the ball into the path of Winter and his low 20 yard drive was gathered at the second attempt.

Dundee United then grabbed the lead a minute later courtesy of a very soft free kick awarded by the linesman. United tried to take the kick quickly before Anderson had time to retreat and Kenny Clark decided to book the Dons captain for this misdemeanour. Aberdeen then defended the free kick poorly and although Whelan cleared an initial effort off the line Archibald was first to react and fired the ball into the net. Five minutes later there were chances for both Heikkinen and Byrne but neither were converted. Aberdeen were then delivered another blow when Heikkinen hobbled off to be replaced by Foster.

Aberdeen?s defending was not up to the usual standard and they fell further behind in the 29th minute when they failed to deal with a deep cross and after Robson hit the woodwork Grady reacted first and turned the rebound in to the net. Aberdeen stepped up the pace and were thrown a lifeline in the 33rd minute when Byrne ghosted in at the back post to power a Winter free kick into the net for his first goal for the club. Good interplay between Mackie and Whelan released McNaughton in the 36th minute but the keeper cut out his cross and a minute later Winter had another pot at goal but his effort was well off target. United still looked dangerous going forward and Aberdeen conceded a third five minutes before the break when Crawford got between the two central defenders and beat Esson.

Aberdeen started the second half and within seconds Diamond gifted the ball to the home side who were quick to take advantage when Grady fired in a great shot on the turn in the 47th minute to virtually seal the win. Three minutes later Aberdeen made their second enforced substitution as Stewart replaced the injured Chris Clark. With Kenny Clark constantly struggling with the concept of advantage the game was dragged back for a free kick in the 53rd minute and Diamond headed the set play well wide of the target. Two minutes later Brebner was lucky to escape a second yellow when he cynically took McNaughton out of the play. The fourth goal had taken the stuffing out of Aberdeen and nothing was going right for the Dons as Diamond collected a yellow card in the 57th minute.

United were now totally in control and Esson was forced to make a fine block in the 62nd minute to deny Robson. A minute later a free kick for Aberdeen came to nothing as the tie slipped further from their grasp. Another error in the 73rd minute allowed Robson through on goal but Esson denied him again before Morrison replaced Byrne a minute later. Esson again kept the score down with a save from Samuel in the 77th minute before the same player and Crawford squandered other chances.

Two minutes from the end Esson denied Robson for the umpteenth time with a fine fingertip save. A minute later Diamond headed another Robson effort of the line as the Dons continued to huff and puff towards the final whistle. At the end of the day they were a well-beaten side in what must rank as one of their worst performances of the season in an away match that saw the red army outnumber the home crowd by a considerable amount.

Dundee United Teamsheet
Bullock, Duff, Wilson, Ritchie, Archibald, Kerr (Cameron 87), Brebner, Scotland (Samuel 63), Crawford, Robson, Grady.

Bookings:  Brebner 45
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Esson, Hart, Byrne (Morrison 75), McNaughton, Anderson, Diamond, Winter, Heikkinen (Foster 27), Mackie, Whelan, Clark (Stewart 50).

Unused Subs: McGuire, Blanchard.

Bookings:  Anderson (19),  Diamond (57).
Attendance: 8,661
Venue: Tannadice Park, Dundee
Referee: Kenny Clark, Paisley
Jamie Winter tries to evade Dundee United players today.
Michael Hart drives forward this afternoon.
Archibald drills the ball into the net to put United ahead.
Winter escapes the attentions of Grady.
Grady celebrates United's second goal.
Steve Crawford tries to escape the attentions of Hart and McNaughton.
Richie Byrne puts Aberdeen back into the match with a goal.
Byrne then celebrates with Noel Whelan.
No way through for Noel Whelan as Aberdeen look to level.
Crawford celebrates the third goal...
...and two minutes after the break Grady makes it four and it's goodnight Vienna.
Calderwood shouts instructions from the sidelines as Aberdeen crumble.
United threaten Esson's goal at Tannadice.
John Stewart tries to make a breakthrough.
Ryan Esson produced some good saves to prevent further grief.