Dundee United 1 - 2 Aberdeen: Kari Arnason thunderbolt earns Dons rare away win

Aberdeen manager Craig Brown admitted his side rode their luck as they earned their second away win of the season.

Jon Daly had given United the lead after six minutes with his 50th goal for the club before Aberdeen substitute Mohamed Chalali equalised with his first touch. Kari Arnason struck a spectacular winner for the Dons with a long-range shot three minutes from time. The result moves the Dons, who have lost only once in six matches, ten points above bottom side Dunfermline as they continue to head in the right direction up the table following their poor start to the season.

Brown said: “We are delighted that we managed to recover from a shocking first half. Some harsh words were said to the lads at the interval and they responded very well. The substitutions helped us and you couldn't make a more fortunate one than someone coming on and scoring with his first touch.”

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Dundee United manager Peter Houston was angry that his side were not awarded a penalty towards the end of the first half when Johnny Russell looked to have been brought down by Andrew Considine. He also felt the officials had made a wrong decision in the lead-up to Chalali’s equaliser. He said: “Johnny Russell was ready to pull the trigger and his legs were taken away from him. The opposition players were even saying to our players that it was a stonewall penalty kick. I can see that from the side even though I don’t have a great view. If he'd tapped that into the net it would have been 2-0 so I feel aggrieved about that.”

United kept the same starting XI for the fourth successive match with Irishman Richie Ryan handed a place on the bench after gaining international clearance following his move from Sligo Rovers in November. Aberdeen made two changes with Peter Pawlett returning following his two-match suspension for simulation and Fraser Fyvie started after recovering from a knee injury.

There was also a place on the Dons bench for goalkeeper Jamie Langfield following his return from a short spell on loan at Forfar as he continued his comeback after suffering a seizure in the summer.

The hosts almost broke the deadlock with only six minutes gone when, after a poor punch out from Aberdeen goalkeeper Jason Brown, John Rankin’s shot fell kindly to Daly and the Irishman slotted the ball home in off the post for his 14th goal of the season. Aberdeen midfielder Robert Milsom, who was celebrating his 25th birthday, played an intelligent pass to Fallon on the edge of the area after 27 minutes but the New Zealander’s low drive was ably handled by Dusan Pernis in the United goal. The visitors almost handed United a second when Considine’s back-pass nearly caught out Brown but the Welshman managed to clear the ball to safety before it crossed the line.

United had a strong appeal for a penalty turned down when Considine looked to have brought down Russell with the goal at his mercy just before the interval. The first real chance of the second half fell to United after Gary Mackay-Steven was fouled by Pawlett on the edge of the area but Paul Dixon’s shot from the resulting set-piece deflected wide.

The Dons introduced Chalali for Fallon and the change had an immediate impact as the Algerian headed home with his first touch after fellow sub Rory McArdle had flicked on an Arnason long throw in the 67th minute. Milsom should have given the Dons the lead after 74 minutes when, with the goal gaping, he somehow missed the target with a diving header from a perfect Scott Vernon cross.

United threw Ryan on for his first appearance in place of Stuart Armstrong with 10 minutes remaining as they looked to regain the advantage.

But it was the Dons who ended the game on top and Arnason scored a wonderful winner after 87 minutes with a thunderous shot from 30 yards, which Pernis could not keep out, as it crashed off the crossbar and into the net to the delight of the 4,000 or so travelling supporters.