Dundee went down to a narrow and slightly unfortunate 2-1 defeat to Aberdeen at Pittodrie this afternoon. The Dons took an early lead through Stevie May. Dundee came back strongly and fully deserved their equaliser early in the second half from Roarie Deacon. Although the Dee had the better of the second half they conceded a second goal to May while they were temporarily down to nine men through injury.
Dundee made three changes following last week’s defeat at Hamilton. Kerr Waddell, James Vincent and Roarie Deacon all started. 18 year old midfielder Jack Lambert was on the bench for the first time. Darren O’Dea and Randy Wolters dropped out because of injury while Paul McGowan was on the bench. Aberdeen’s only change was Ryan Christie replacing former Dee Greg Stewart.
Predictably Aberdeen started aggressively, taking the game to Dundee. Greg Tansey had the first shot on target, a 25 yard free kick that Scott Bain held at the second attempt. However, the first real chance fell to the Dee. Shay Logan’s pass back to keeper Joe Lewis was short, allowing James Vincent to intercept, but the Dee midfielder hesitated and Lewis blocked his shot.
The Dons took the lead after 10 minutes. New signing Stevie May, making his home debut, scored with a powerful near post header from Greg Tansey’s corner.
Dundee responded well to Aberdeen’s early charge and the early setback. After the 20 minute mark they matched the Dons for the rest of the first half. The only time the Dark Blues defence was troubled was when Cammy Kerr stumbled. Kenny McLean set up Ryan Christie, who got the ball stuck under his feet in front of goal and Scott Bain had enough time to seize the ball.
Within a minute the Dark Blues came within an inch of an equaliser. Roarie Deacon skipped past Andrew Considine and crossed for Haber to head against the crossbar, with the Dons able to scramble the rebound clear.
Neither side came nearly as close again before the break. Dundee’s hard work and pressing in midfield forced an unusual series of mistakes from Aberdeen’s midfield, who repeatedly lost the ball under pressure.
Dundee started the second half confidently, always keen to play the ball out from the back and trying to build moves through the midfield. At last the Dark Blues got their reward with an equaliser but it had its origins in another Aberdeen mistake. Christie’s reckless pass across the midfield went straight to Roarie DEACON, who raced for goal, took the ball wide of Considine and hammered a low angled shot through Lewis’s legs.
The home fans became understandably impatient as the Dons’ play became increasingly ragged. Dundee were more composed, making far fewer mistakes and playing the better football. In the Dee’s best move of the match Deacon and El Bakhtaoui ripped open Aberdeen’s defence with fast movement and passing, setting up Scott Allan, who should have scored but shot wide from 10 yards.
Aberdeen brought on Greg Stewart to replace Gary Mackay-Steven, who struggled against Cammy Kerr all afternoon. Christie moved to the Dons’ left and Stewart played on the right. Christie had no more success than Mackay-Steven, but Stewart posed far greater danger on the other side. Kevin Holt disposessed him with a great tackle in the penalty box, and then Scott Bain saved well at the feet of the other substitute, Nicky Maynard, who was chasing a clever reverse pass from Stewart.
Dundee wasted another tremendous opportunity when Kamara sent Haber clear on the right. Although Haber had ample time to pick out a team mate he overhit his cross aimed at the incoming El Bakhtaoui.
Neither Haber nor El Bakhatoui took any further part in the game. Both went down injured and had to leave the pitch. Danny Williams and Paul McGowan were stripped and ready to come on but Mr Clancy insisted that play restarted without them.
Dundee perhaps showed inexperience as Aberdeen tried to take advantage of their temporary numerical superiority, piling forward in the style of an ice hockey power play. Instead of launching the ball into the stands when they had the chance the Dark Blues kept it in play and lost possession. Graeme Shinnie’s shot rebounded to Stevie MAY, lurking on the edge of the penalty area, and he thrashed a fierce shot past Bain into the roof of the net. Dundee’s substitutes were then allowed to join the game.
Without a striker Dundee struggled to get through the Aberdeen defence in the chase for an equaliser. The goal lifted the Dons, and they had their best spell of the second half in the last few minutes when they could have added to their lead as Dundee pushed forward. Christie ran clear to shoot wide and Bain saved well from Greg Stewart, who had cut in from the right in the style so familiar to Dundee supporters.
This was a hard defeat to take after a good performance right through the team by the Dark Blues. Aberdeen are the second best team in the country these days, but for long periods of this game they were second best to the Dee. After conceding an early set piece goal the young defence coped calmly and impressively with Aberdeen’s attacks. The Dundee midfield won most of their battles throughout the afternoon and forced the Dons to look very careless and untidy. In attack the Dee played their way into numerous good positions, but took only the one chance and that meant they left Aberdeen pointless. Nevertheless, this was an improved performance and Dundee looked a cut above the sort of side you would expect to see at the foot of the table.
Logan, Reynolds, O’Connor, Considine
Tansey (Maynard 65), Shinnie (c)
Christie, McLean, Mackay-Steven (Stewart 56)
May (Rooney 81)
Subs Unused: Rogers (gk), Arnason, Wright, Stockley.
Goals: May (10, 78).
Booked: Logan (foul on Holt), May (foul on El Bakhtaoui), McLean (foul on Williams).
Dundee FC 4-2-3-1
Kerr (c), Hendry, Waddell, Holt
Vincent, Kamara (O’Hara 84)
Deacon, El Bakhtaoui (McGowan 79), Allan
Haber (Williams 79)
Unused subs: Parish (gk), Hateley, Spence, Lambert.
Booked: Kamara (persistent fouling).
Referee: Kevin Clancy. Assistants: David Roome, Gavin Harris. Fourth official: John McKendrick.
Report: James Christie.