The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
What a game this was! So often, past matches with Aberdeen have resembled chess on a football park with both sides cancelling each other out. There were no such inhibitions in this end-to-end encounter, however. As early as the fourth minute Gillhaus took a Bett cross, wheeled and somehow knocked the ball past the far post. In keeping with the trend of the whole match, Duncan Ferguson, starting a match for the first time, broke clear but was robbed just as he reached the edge of the penalty box. Brian Welsh cleared a dangerous cross from Gillhaus with his head but in doing so clashed heads with goalkeeper Alan Main. Immediately, Duncan Ferguson won a corner at the other end and when Ray McKinnon's corner came over Stewart McKimmie won a race between Duncan Ferguson and Michael Watt to the ball and his header sailed into the far corner. Our lead was short-lived. First Van De Ven's shot was well saved by Alan Main, but there was nothing he could do about Eoin Jess's goal two minutes later. The youngster drove at the United defence on the left and his shot took a deflection off Maurice Malpas and went in at the near post. Jess almost put the Dons further ahead two minutes later when he met Bett's right wing cross at the near post, but his flick ran just past the far post. Four minutes later better fortune awaited Eoin Jess when he ran through and hammered in a low shot to put Aberdeen ahead. A minute later Alan Main palmed away another Jess effort. At this stage Maurice Malpas and Alex Cleland switched wings and we gradually took a grip on proceedings. In the 27th minute Ray McKinnon laid the ball off to Billy McKinlay and only an inspired save kept out his dipping shot. A minute later Alex Cleland hooked narrowly past. Aberdeen's threat wasn't entirely subdued though because Alan Main had to tip a Mason shot round the post and then the woodwork came to our rescue when Gillhaus hit the post from close range and Alan Main pounced on the loose ball. Still the frantic pace was maintained when Watt turned Christian Dailly's shot round the post. Seven minutes from half-time Jim Mclnally was brought down by Connor and whilst the referee waved play on, an upraised flag prompted the official to consult his linesman and award a penalty. Once the Dons' protests had died down, Maurice Malpas stepped up to score his first penalty for United. As one spectator was heard to remark as he went for his halftime cuppa, "it was a half of two halves!" The crowd had barely settled down for the second half when Aberdeen took the lead again. Connor laid the ball into Eoin Jess who had a simple task of tapping in his hat-trick. The post-interval action wasn't quiet as fast and furious, but that was understandable. We did have the better of the second half chances, but couldn't breach the Dons defence once more. Despite that we kept plugging away and right at the death Billy McKinlay fired in a shot which dipped just over. So ended a quite classic encounter which had everyone enthusing. From our point of view the only drawback was that Aberdeen had captured both points!