Pyro, scenes and silence: Aberdeen miss top six trick and Dundee's relegation 'hole' deepens
The only word to describe it was scenes. A pile of red bodies lay stacked on top of one another in front of the away stand at Dens Park. An over-exuberant Aberdeen fan was being led away by a couple of police officers. Then there was Jim Goodwin bounding onto the pitch in sheer delight.
Ross McCrorie picked up the ball in the Dundee half as he had done time and again throughout the Premiership encounter. He drove forward under pressure. If it was a cartoon he’d have had three or four opponents hanging off his back and limbs. Still, he drove. With Vicente Besuijen lying in the ground in the box, he simply ignored his team-mate and fired in a low shot past Ian Lawlor into the bottom corner.
Some goals are bigger than others and that seemed like a big one, for both clubs and for different reasons. Until it wasn't.
Five minutes later and with 86 minutes on the clock, Dundee, who looked dead and buried, grabbed an equaliser in what was a madcap final ten minutes. Danny Mullen flicked a Charlie Adam free-kick past Joe Lewis. 2-2.
Still, Aberdeen could have won it. Twice.
Ultimately, it was a captivating match with the end result not doing much for either side.
“We are in a hole, we have to get ourselves out of the hole.”
Dundee managing director John Nelms has spoken with fans and local press a lot across the last couple of weeks, addressing fan frustration and anger but nothing he could say was more accurate than commenting on the team's precarious position in the cinch Premiership.
They showed plenty of battling qualities to earn a point, coming from behind twice, aided by the return of talisman and captain Charlie Adam, but if they thought they were perhaps edging up towards the hole’s opening it was only getting deeper and more perilous with St Johnstone winning at home to Livingston.
The gap is now six points and such a result in the City of Discovery did very little for either side. While Dundee look at a return to the Championship, Aberdeen remain outside the top six with one pre-split fixture remaining.
The teams traded blows in the first 15 minutes, after a delayed start due to some pyro on the pitch, with Connor McLennan rattling the bar and Lawlor being forced into an acrobatic stop from David Bates. Up the other end Declan Gallagher made a huge intervention to stop Zak Rudden scoring, while Mullen flashed a shot just over the bar from the angle.
Calvin Ramsay, who moments before had cut onto his left and tested Lawlor, opened the scoring just before half-time. Cutting onto his left and firing a low shot into the corner. Such defensive frailties is a key reason Dundee are where they are.
If they had Adam fit throughout the season their position may well have been different. He came on after the break and they improved instantly. He set up Jordan McGhee to equalise.
It will be Aberdeen who will be kicking themselves, however. They could have been sitting top six but the silence which met the full-time whistle summed up the deflation and perhaps exhaustion of both sets of fans.
Dundee (3-4-3): Lawlor; Kerr, Sweeney, McGhee; Elliott (Adam), Byrne, McGowan, Marshall; McMullan, Rudden, Mullen.
Aberdeen (4-3-3): Lewis; Ramsay, Gallagher, Bates, Hayes; Barron, Ferguson, McCrorie; Besuijen, Ramirez, McLennan (Watkins 57’).
Referee: John Beaton
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