The Scotland striker's 65th-minute winner was the fourth time he has found the net against his old team since being sold against his will, and it provoked plenty of wailing around Pittodrie as Aberdeen slid to their seventh straight Scottish Premier League defeat. Unlike on the previous six occasions, Ebbe Skovdahl's side played well but, when you are down, luck is never on your side.
In a quest to resolve the now-famous goal drought, Aberdeen brought back Jim Hamilton, whose attitude had so upset the manager that he has been languishing in the reserves. His hunger was obvious, and the robust forward threatened twice in the opening 15 minutes with headers that drifted just over the bar.
Alan Combe, United's goalkeeper, had declared his intention of not wanting to be the man who finally conceded a goal to Aberdeen, but there were few moments when he had to sweat in the first half.
The same could not be said for Combe's counterpart, David Preece. Dodds induced mild panic when he ghosted behind Thomas Solberg to latch on to a deft flick from Joaquim Ferraz, but his lob was just too strong and Preece was grateful to see it clear the bar.
There was to be no reprieve, though. In the 33rd minute, a corner from Jan Talasnikov was headed on forcefully by Ferraz for David Hannah to glance the ball into the roof of the net.
Andreas Mayer, Aberdeen's midfielder, admitted on Friday that a suffocating fear meant the bottom club were dead as soon as they went behind, but for once they bucked that trend and Mayer played his part in the 50th- minute equaliser which brought Aberdeen's first goal of the season.
The German's run was halted on the edge of box when Hannah tugged his shirt, allowing Andy Dow to step up and curl a left-foot free-kick around the wall and beyond Combe. Two Aberdeen fans were taken away by police for over-exuberance, while Dow received a booking for his wild celebrations.
The relief was visible but the optimism was punctured just 15 minutes later and it was Dodds who plunged in the knife. Again Aberdeen struggled to combat the height of Ferraz, as the giant Portuguese striker flicked on Jason De Vos's free-kick and Dodds deftly lofted his shot over Preece from a tight angle.
Hamilton almost fashioned a dramatic equaliser, but Combe parried Solberg's fierce shot in injury time. Aberdeen's agony goes on.Reuse content