Arnason strike earns Dons win

United skipper Jon Daly had given his side an early lead when he

slotted the ball home after six minutes. But Mohamed Chalali

equalised with his first touch after 67 minutes only seconds after

replacing Rory Fallon. Iceland international Arnason gave the Dons

their second away win of the season three minutes from time with a

long-range strike which crashed off the crossbar and into the net

to the delight of the large travelling support. United kept with

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 within three minutes of kick-off when Scott Robertson was

afforded too much time to pick out Johnny Russell in the box but

the United striker’s header deflected off Andrew Considine and

trickled past the post for a fruitless corner. But Peter Houston’s

side did make the breakthrough 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. Aberdeen made their first change after 60

minutes when Pawlett was replaced by defender Rory McArdle before

Mackay-Steven made way for Willo Flood for United. The Dons then

introduced Chalali for Fallon and the change had an immediate

impact when the Algerian headed the ball home with his first touch

only seconds after coming on after McArdle had flicked on an

Arnason long throw with 67 minutes gone. 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.