The opening match between Aberdeen and Dundee, under the auspices of the First Division of the Scottish League, drew a large crowd together at Dens Park. There was a welcome change in the weather, for, although on some parts of the ground the players found difficulty in keeping their feet, still the overhead conditions were all in favour of a good game. A keen, frosty atmosphere prevailed, and when the teams lined up at 2:40 the sun shone out brightly. At the start the crowd was not of large dimensions, but gradually the enclosure presented an animated appearance, and before the game was many minutes old there were fully 12,000 spectators on the ground. Both sides turned out as advertised, and were as follows:-
Aberdeen: Macfarlane; Boyle, Gault; Halkett, Strang, Low; Robertson, Edgar, ward, McAulay, Lennie.
Dundee: Muir; McKenzie, Jeffray; Henderson, Dainty, McDiarmid; Bell, Macfarlane, Webb, McLuckie, Fraser.
Referee - Mr. Baillie, Edinburgh.
There was little or no wind when Dundee kicked off. Play at the commencement was somewhat slow, the players being afraid to run any risks, especially on one side of the ground, next the reserved portion, where the sun had not melted the hard surface. Dundee were the first to show any aggressive work, and twice the ball was driven towards Macfarlane from about 20 yards range. Strang opened out the game for Aberdeen, but Dundee were smarter on the ball, and played with more spirit than was the case with the Aberdeen. A run by the Dundee left wing almost brought disaster to Aberdeen, Boyle falling while in the act of clearing. McLuckie was early prominent with neat dribbling, and a quick pass from the inside left to Fraser looked promising for the home team. Nearly eight minutes of the game had passed when Halkett, in attempting to get the ball, strained the muscles on his right thigh, and had to leave the field. His injury turned out rather serious, and Aberdeen had to play with 10 men during the remainder of the game. It was just at this point that Aberdeen completely broke down, and Dundee after 10 minutes play score their first goal. Macfarlane (inside right) beat his namesake in the Aberdeen goal with a shot that took the goalkeeper completely by surprise. The Dundee forward drove the ball from about 25 yards out, shooting with his left foot, the ball landing high up in the net, just under the crossbar. The goalkeeper might have saved the situation, but even had he done so it would have been a miraculous save. Then Dundee settled down to a fine, open, swinging game, their forwards keeping wide apart, and very often adopting individual methods, which met with success. With Halkett off, the Dundee left wing got plenty of scope, and made the most of it. Fraser got clean away, and when finely place he centred right in front of goal, where McLuckie found himself with a rare opening, and easily beat Macfarlane with a fast grounder. Only 2 minutes had elapsed between the first and second goals, and consequently the Dundee team played like a winning combination. Aberdeen adopted the one-back game, Gault going to write half. The visitors got away on the right, but Robertson shot high over the bar from about a dozen yards out. Try as they might, Aberdeen could make no impression on the Dundee defence. For one thing, the Pittodrie forwards invariably got rid of the ball far too soon, while the Dundee men played with a purpose - that is to say, the forwards generally made a beeline for goal whenever they had a chance, and only parted with the ball when they were blocked. Lennie and McAulay at times raised the hopes of the Aberdeen supporters - and there were three train loads on the ground, and they certainly made themselves heard. The left wing pair infused a little life into the Aberdeen attack, but there was a pronounced weakness when a certain point was reached. Edgar, too, worked hard - indeed, his play was in advance of any of the others, but all over Dundee were masters. Strong kicking by the backs kept the game in the Aberdeen quarters. McLuckie was the outstanding forward on the field, and fed Fraser with rare skill. Bell, on the right, was also dangerous with his sprints along the wing. On one occasion Macfarlane cleared from a melee in front of goal, following a beautifully-placed corner by Fraser, and a second later the Aberdeen goalkeeper repeated the feat. Then the Dundee inside right shot with great force close in, and the Aberdeen goal was only saved by the ball rebounding off Webb - a lucky escape. McDiarmid next tried a long shot, which came in on Macfarlane at a great pace, the goalkeeper saving by getting down on his knees. Dundee's play deserved a goal at this time, and after several players had missed a centre from Bell, McLuckie came along and banged the ball past Macfarlane from about ten yards out. Three goals up, and full of running, Dundee fairly outplayed their opponents, who were now thoroughly disorganised owing to Halkett's retirement. But it must not be inferred that this misfortune to Aberdeen was the reason of Dundee's superiority. To some extent it contributed to their success, but still they played fine football, and Aberdeen were too often defending to allow of them becoming dangerous. Dundee scored a fourth goal, which ought not to have been allowed. It happened this way. Fraser took a corner kick, and while Low was attempting to clear by heading the ball, McLuckie jumped up and sent the ball into the net with his outstretched hands. Mr. Baillie did not see the incident - at least, he appealed to the linesman farthest away - why so? - from the scene, who decided in favour of Dundee. Four goals ahead, Dundee were apparently well satisfied. Edgar was continually forcing the pace for Aberdeen, but got no support. Lennie tried hard to get through, and once he got away, but was fouled by Henderson.
Aberdeen resumed with ten men, Halkett being still unable to turn out. Play for a time was evenly divided, and, if anything, Aberdeen were the most aggressive. Weakness in the front rank, however, was early apparent, and even although Dundee were confined to their own half of the field, the defence was of such a nature that Aberdeen never really settled down. Jeffray and Dainty were prominent in repelling the Aberdeen attacks, and Muir was rarely troubled. Jeffray kicked with rare power, while Dainty repeatedly cleared in front of goal. Dundee, however, got into their stride once more, and a splendid shot from McDiarmid just skimmed the cross-bar. Then Ward had a glorious chance of bursting through owing to McKenzie hesitating to clear a long shot. Ward, however, passed out to Lennie instead of going straight ahead. The left winger picked up the pass, and shot for goal, but his effort lacked direction and sting. Still, Aberdeen played up pluckily for a time, only to be met with a stubborn defence. Ultimately Dainty and Macfarlane opened out the play for Dundee, with the result that Bell got away on the right at top speed. He beat all opposition, and when nearing the Aberdeen goal he let drive, but his shot went wide of the posts. Back again came Dundee, and this time Henderson(right half) dribbled right through the Aberdeen defence, and did not stop until he planted the ball in the net, Macfarlane having no chance. Five goals to the good, the Dundee men practically did as they liked. Webb got on the ball near midfield, and, dribbling with rare skill, combined with a fine turn of speed, he raced straight for Macfarlane, leaving opponents and fellow-club men far behind. A few yards from goal he shot with terrific force, the ball skimming the cross-bar, greatly to the relief of Macfarlane. Strang, Edgar, and Boyle did capital work for Aberdeen, but three men could not be expected to stop the goal-scoring, not to speak of opening the account for Aberdeen. Boyle blocked Webb while the latter was starting on one of his lightning runs, but Bell caught up a pass on the right, and made straight for goal. The Aberdeen claimed offside, and while vainly appealing, the defence allowed Bell to pass back to Macfarlane, who, from short range, added a sixth goal. The collapse was now complete, and although Aberdeen strove hard for a goal towards the close, no such luck came their way. Dundee won by superior football although Halkett's breakdown certainly disorganised the team. Which all due allowance, however, the winners deserved their victory. It was Aberdeen's day out. Dundee played to win, and the wonder is that they did not score more than 6 goals to 0. The gate amounted to £239 9s 6d; stands, £45 7s 9d - total, £278 17s 3d.
The team and officials of the Aberdeen Club travelled by a special Caledonian train, which left Aberdeen at 11:45 on Saturday forenoon, with over 400 supporters, while a couple of North British specials, which left almost immediately after, conveyed about 800 more to the venue of play. Many of the travellers showed signs of having come direct from work to the train, but notwithstanding the neglected toilet of some, the excursionists kept busy the street urchins who were selling badges of the Aberdeen colours, and very few supporters failed to exhibit an emblem of the club.
Source: Aberdeen Daily Journal, 20th November 1905