Football: Scottish Coca Cola Cup - Aberdeen undone by Winters double

Aberdeen 1 Dundee United 3
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The Independent Online
Dundee United's victory will give them the chance to appear in next month's Coca-Cola Cup final with Celtic, but the last chance might have been lost for Roy Aitken, the Aberdeen manager.

His side is rooted at the foot of the Premier Division and despite a recent vote of confidence from his board, the manager's position cannot been deemed secure. On the night they had as much of the possession as United but were caught out badly at the back as they were forced to chase the game.

United, however, appear to have kept their best form for this tournament, having knocked Rangers out in the previous round. They will have to raise their game again for the final.

There was no lack of effort from either side although neither appeared to be able to retain possession for any period of time early on.

Aberdeen, with Joe Miller making a nuisance of himself, were able to create several opportunities than in the 16th minute Sieb Dykstra was first to leave his goal to intercept Stephen Glass before the Aberdeen man could shoot.

Yet it was Dundee United who almost opened the scoring when Maurice Malpas, the captain, headed the ball against the post from a 29th-minute corner.

It was the first opportunity they had created, after Tommy Maclean, their manager, had replaced Jamie Dolan with Andy McLaren in the 21st minute in an effort to provide an added threat. The move paid off with McLaren supplying the pass from which Robbie Winters turned and shot home the opening goal in the 34th minute.

Aberdeen came close to an equaliser before the interval when Dean Windass, from an unmarked position, headed straight at the goalkeeper. The former Hull City striker went one better three minutes into the second half when he scored Aberdeen's equaliser with a left-foot shot from close range.

However, the lead was to last just six minutes until Craig Easton collected a through ball, steadied himself, and shot into the bottom corner to put United into the lead once more.

Aberdeen's response was to increase the pace and work rate of their game and they were out of luck when Glass saw two attempts blocked, the first by Dykstra, the second by a defender. Their need for a second goal carried the Dons forward, at the same time allowing United the room to break, resulting in a more open game.

United effectively secured their place in the final in the 75th minute when Winters controlled a cross before shooting high into the net for a splendid third goal.

Aberdeen (4-4-2): Leighton; Smith (Gillies, 70), Inglis (Kombouare, 77), O'Neil, Tzvetanov; Miller, Rowson, Bernard, Glass; Newell, Windass. Substitute not used: Anderson.

Dundee United (3-5-2): Dykstra; Perry, Malpas, Pressle; Bowman, Easton, Zetterlund, Dolan (McLaren, 21), Pedersen; Olofsson (Skoldmark, 79), Winters. Substitute not used: McSwegan.

Referee: H Dallas (Motherwell).