Match ends, Dundee United 0, Aberdeen 1.
Simon Church's goal was enough to give Aberdeen a win over Dundee United and close the gap on Premiership leaders Celtic to four points.
The first-half header was the Welshman's third goal in five games since joining Aberdeen in January.
The Dons also had two goals chalked off and manager Derek McInnes was sent to the stand for protesting about one of the disallowed goals.
Defeat for United leaves them eight points adrift at the foot of the table.
Both sides have 10 games left but, crucially for United's hopes of survival, they hold a game in hand over second-bottom Kilmarnock.
Dons do just enough
It was a fairly timid early period for both sides as they struggled to create any clear-cut chances.
A free-kick was played into the Dons box and fell to recalled striker Flo Sinama-Pongolle, who knocked the ball to Gavin Gunning but the defender's effort was weak and saved easily by Scott Brown.
Aberdeen, playing with the benefit of a strong wind at their back, always looked dangerous going forward with Niall McGinn and Church causing the United rearguard problems at every opportunity.
There was a let-off for United when Church tapped home from close range following a Kenny McLean cross with the offside flag raised.
However, the same two players combined to give Aberdeen the lead moments later.
The home defence stood off McLean and allowed an inch-perfect cross to be delivered for Church to glance a header into the corner.
A major flashpoint came after Graeme Shinnie had forced his way into the United box and tumbled to the ground under Gunning's challenge. The ball continued to McGinn, whose effort found the net courtesy of a deflection off Paul Dixon but referee Bobby Madden had already blown his whistle for a free-kick to United.
Shinnie was booked for simulation - a decision that infuriated McInnes, who vented his frustration at fourth official Barry Cook and was sent to the stand by Madden for his continued protests.
United boss Mixu Paatelainnen made a change at the break with the ineffective Sinama-Pongolle making way for Henri Anier, who almost made a dramatic impact with his first action in the game.
The striker was through on goal and only a last-gasp challenge by Ash Taylor denied a shot on target.
Eiji Kawashima made a great stop to deny Church his second of the night while at the other end Anier tested Brown after latching on to a Billy Mckay cross.
With 10 minutes left, Brown came to Aberdeen's rescue with a dramatic diving save to deny Coll Donaldson. The defender picked the ball up eight yards out after the Aberdeen defence failed to clear a long ball and looked certain to score before Brown made the excellent stop.
United kept pressing and Gunning had one last effort on goal but once again Brown saved the day for Aberdeen.
- 6PatonBooked at 90mins
- 3DixonSubstituted forErskineat 79'minutes
- 7MckaySubstituted forOfereat 86'minutes
- 54Sinama-PongolleSubstituted forAnierat 45'minutes
- 3ShinnieBooked at 36mins
- 15RobsonSubstituted forStorieat 90+4'minutes
- 16PawlettSubstituted forReynoldsat 62'minutes
- 10McGinnSubstituted forFloodat 82'minutes
- Bobby Madden
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Dundee United 0, Aberdeen 1.
Substitution, Aberdeen. Craig Storie replaces Barry Robson.
Attempt saved. Gavin Gunning (Dundee United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Paul Paton (Dundee United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Willo Flood (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Paul Paton (Dundee United).
Foul by Henri Anier (Dundee United).
Andrew Considine (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Coll Donaldson (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen).
Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Coll Donaldson.
Substitution, Dundee United. Edward Ofere replaces Billy McKay.
Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Andrew Considine.
Substitution, Aberdeen. Willo Flood replaces Niall McGinn.
Attempt saved. Coll Donaldson (Dundee United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Mark Durnan.
Substitution, Dundee United. Chris Erskine replaces Paul Dixon.
Foul by Mark Durnan (Dundee United).
Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.