Dundee had to settle for a point after Aberdeen came from two goals down to grab a late point in a thrilling 3-3 draw at Pittodrie this afternoon. David Goodwillie gave the Dons an early lead. The Dee fought back to lead 2-1 at the break with goals from Gary Irvine and Greg Stewart. Gary Harkins made it three early in the second half, but a Hayes penalty after 87 minutes and a Ryan Jack goal in injury time squared the match.
Dundee made two forced changes following the victory over Motherwell; Tankulic coming in for the injured Clarkson, and Harkins replacing the suspended McGowan.
The signs were worrying for the Dark Blues when Aberdeen got off to a flying start and scored after six minutes. Niall McGinn pinched the ball from Gary Irvine and sent Rooney clear on the right. The Dons' top scorer unselfishly rolled the ball across goal for David GOODWILLIE to blast home the opening goal.
Dundee were moving the ball around smoothly in the Aberdeen half, but apart from one good Stewart run and shot, they failed to trouble the home defence. In contrast the Dons looked dangerous every time they moved forward. Dundee were fortunate not to be two down when Aberdeen opened up the defence with a move similar to the goal.
Goodwillie ran onto Pawlett's pass and pulled the ball across goal to Hayes, whose shot was brilliantly saved by Bain. The ball broke to Adam Rooney, but he screwed his shot wide from three yards out.
Iain Davidson was then judged to have handled just outside the box, but McGinn's fierce drive deflected off the defensive wall and over the bar.
The confident Dons looked very much like a top of the table side for a spell as they threatened to sweep Dundee away. The Dark Blues dug in, defended well and managed to survive the storm.
Dundee had always looked capable of creating chances when they came forward, and they stunned the hosts with two beautifully crafted goals late in the first half.
Harkins and Stewart worked a patient move on the left, then Harris laid a pass into the path of IRVINE, bursting into the box. The full back took a touch and lashed a shot high past Brown to level the match.
Two minutes later the Dee were in the lead after carving open the Dons' defence again. STEWART played a clever, quick exchange of passes with Luka Tankulic and ran on to score with a low shot from 15 yards.
Only two minutes into the second half Dundee had another big escape when Rooney swept a shot against the outside of the post after Pawlett burst down the left. Dundee took full advantage of the let off by racing away to add a third goal.
Stewart crossed low and Tankulic's flick put the ball dangerously into the goalmouth. It was cleared only as far as HARKINS, lurking just inside the 18 yard line, and he instantly sent a raking shot flashing straight back into the Dons' net.
The goals rattled the Dons, who struggled badly for a long spell. Dundee pressed effectively in midfield and kept the Dons quiet in their own half. When Aberdeen did manage to attack they couldn't hold possession and Dundee looked dangerous on the break. Stewart led one break with a fine long run that ended with a shot that lacked the power to trouble Brown.
Inevitably Aberdeen raised themselves to put Dundee under fierce pressure in the later stages. There were some hair-raising scrambles in the Dee's penalty area as the Dons tried frantically to get back into the game. Gadzhalov did well to clear off the line after Goodwillie had finally beaten Bain.
Gadzhalov had less luck when he clipped substitute Shankland as he turned to give Aberdeen a penalty, which HAYES crashed home after 86 minutes, though Bain came very close to reaching it. Gadzhalov had to go off after that, and Thomas Konrad came on as the Dee tried to hang on through four minutes of injury time.
After 92 minutes Logan found space on the left of the Dundee box. He lofted the ball into the crowded goalmouth where Shankland nodded it on. Ryan JACK was hovering at the far post and stabbed in the equaliser.
That was the end of the excitement, and Dundee were able to see out the last couple of minutes deep in the Dons' half.
Losing two late goals is always disappointing, but a draw with such a depleted squad at the table topping Dons is unquestionably a good result. Certainly no Dundee fan would have turned it down before the match.
A draw was perhaps a fair outcome because Aberdeen started and finished the match looking a very good side indeed. Dundee did tremendously well to come back from the poor start and shocked their hosts with three excellent goals. It's wonderful to see a Dundee team capable of going away to the best teams in Scotland and playing football that can rattle them. The three goals today made great viewing and delighted the noisy travelling support.
Dundee's most eye catching performances today were inevitably in attack, where Stewart, Harkins, Tankulic and Harris all did well, combing cleverly and offering plenty of threat. However, the defenders deserve plenty of credit too, having to deal with ferocious pressure.
Dundee's ability to score three fine goals today is all the more pleasing and impressive when one remembers that the Dons had gone eight league games without conceding a goal till today. In just 11 minutes either side of half time the Dark Blues managed to fire in three goals. It might feel like two points dropped right now, but Dundee emerge from this tough and exciting match with huge credit, and this performace should give their confidence a big boost.
Aberdeen FC 4-4-2
Logan, Taylor (Flood 62), Reynolds, Considine
McGinn, Jack, Hayes, Pawlett (Smith 62)
Goodwillie, Rooney (Shankland 82)
Unused subs: Langfield (gk), Shaughnessy, Robson, Masson
Goals: Goodwillie (6), Hayes (86 pen), Jack (92)
Dundee FC 4-2-3-1
McGinn, Gadzhalov (Konrad 87), Davidson, Irvine
Thomson (Dyer 91), McAlister
Harris, Harkins, Stewart
Tankulic (Ferry 74)
Unused subs: Schenk (gk), Carreiro, Roberts, Black
Goals: Irvine (37), Stewart (39), Harkins (48)
Booked: Davidson (handball), Gadzhalov (foul on Goodwillie)
Referee: Alan Muir
Report: James Christi