Dundee Utd 1-1 Aberdeen

By Keir MurrayBBC Sport Scotland

Dundee United and Aberdeen earned a point apiece after producing an enthralling match at Tannadice.

United scored their first league goal since late August when Johnny Russell's shot was parried by goalkeeper Jamie Langfield and John Rankin fired home.

Home keeper Radoslaw Cierzniak saved superbly from a Scott Vernon header then Mark Millar cleared a Russell Anderson header off the goalline.

Niall McGinn levelled for the Dons and neither side could find a winner.

The contrast in the teams' form could hardly have been more pronounced prior to kick-off, which was delayed by 15 minutes because of an accident on the main road that links Aberdeen and Dundee.

United began second bottom in the Scottish Premier League, having failed to score a league goal since the 3-1 defeat at Kilmarnock on 25 August.

Scott Vernon and Gavin Rae rush to congratulate Aberdeen goalscorer Niall McGinn
Scott Vernon and Gavin Rae rush to congratulate Aberdeen goalscorer Niall McGinn

Craig Brown's Aberdeen, however, were unbeaten in 10 games in all competitions since the opening day of the season.

United were first to register a shot on goal, Millar finding some space to ping a shot at goal that Langfield smothered easily.

A few minutes later, his long-range strike was much more ferocious, but Langfield was well positioned.

Aberdeen sprung to life when striker Scott Vernon set up Gavin Rae, but the veteran midfielder ballooned his shot high over the home team's goal.

United made the breakthrough thanks to the pace and vision of Russell, who eased past Mark Reynolds on the left wing and had his shot parried by Langfield.

However, Rankin latched on to the loose ball and knocked it home - and, minutes later, the United hero was booked by referee Iain Brines for a heavy challenge on Chris Clark.

With Gary Mackay-Steven recovering from knee surgery and Jon Daly playing as centre half, United looked to others to add to their lead.

Stuart Armstrong showed his attacking talent when he slipped past Isaac Osbourne and passed across goal, but there were no takers.

There followed a trio of dramatic moments at Tannadice.

Vernon arrowed an effort from eight yards but was denied by the impressive Cierzniak at the near post with a top-class save.

And Aberdeen captain Anderson rolled back the years to make a fantastic saving challenge on Russell as the striker was about to unleash a shot from 12 yards.

Anderson moved into attack for a Ryan Fraser corner and his well-timed run and header looked sure to produce the leveller, only for Millar to head the ball off the goalline.

In the second half, a powerful McGinn shot was parried for a corner by Cierzniak and the Dons had a penalty claim turned down when the ball seemed to strike Willo Flood's arm.

McGinn sent the Red Army into raptures when he tapped the ball home from three yards at the back post after Anderson had flicked on Fraser's outswinging corner.

Langfield matched Cierzniak's wonder save when he somehow kept out a prodded, close-range shot by Keith Watson.

Russell's dinked pass through to Armstrong set him racing into the box, but he blazed wide into the United fans behind Langfield.

The United goal was next to be threatened when Stephen Hughes timed his run perfectly into the box, but Cierzniak was off his line sharply to block the shot from the Dons midfielder.

And the see-saw nature of the contest was typified when Russell waltzed through the white-shirted Aberdeen defence and fizzed a low shot that Langfield dived to his right to save.

Defeat would have been harsh on either side and, in terms of the point earned, neither set of fans was complaining when the referee blew to end a pulsating match.

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