Aberdeen coasted to a comfortable 3-1 win over Dundee United at Pittodrie, piling more pressure on Arabs boss Craig Brewster.
Dons striker Darren Mackie netted his first goal since August 12 to open the scoring after 39 minutes. The 24-year-old, who was backed by boss Jimmy Calderwood during the week, rolled the ball into the net after Arabs keeper Derek Stillie blocked Barry Nicholson’s 25-yard-shot.
The Arabs would have felt hard done by to have gone a goal behind as they came very close to scoring just two minutes earlier, when Jamie Langfield did well to save a downward header by David Proctor.
Perhaps because of the frustration, Aberdeen almost doubled the lead before the interval, but Mackie couldn’t get anything on a Chris Clark when he had the goal at his mercy.
However, the 10,747 fans didn’t have to wait long after the restart for Aberdeen’s second goal. Barry Nicholson curled a free-kick from the left-corner of the penalty box over Stillie and into the net after 46 minutes.
At this point, the home side were in control and kept putting pressure on the visitors, with a powerful Gary Dempsey drive forcing a fine save out of Stillie.
However, Dundee United managed to cut the deficit in the 70th minute after Dons skipper Russell Anderson, making his return from injury, was adjudged to have fouled Craig Conway inside the box. The home fans weren’t happy, and there didn’t seem to be much wrong with the tackle but a spot-kick was given and Barry Robson fired the ball home.
Any thoughts that the SPL’s basement club might sneak a point were almost immediately dispelled, though, when the Dons took the ball up the pitch from the kick-off and Nicholson headed home a Richard Foster cross on 71 minutes to restore the two goal lead.
Aberdeen’s sheer dominance of the game arguably deserved a fourth goal, but Chris Maguire’s late effort was ruled offside to leave the final score at 3-1.
The Dons are now sixth in the table, equal on points with Rangers who play tomorrow. Dundee United, meanwhile, are in trouble…