Aberdeen will be the slightly more disappointed camp as they twice gifted the visitors their goals. However, what will have pleased their boss Jimmy Calderwood was the spirit and determination shown by his players to twice fight back to get on level terms.
A bright start from the visitors saw them force three corners in the early minutes, however they failed to trouble the Aberdeen goal.
Aberdeen seized on a mistake by Danny Grainger on five minutes. His misplaced header fell to Darren Mackie who pulled into the ball into the path of Chris Maguire whose first-time effort from 16 yards flew just wide of the upright.
Dundee United took the lead in the 11th minute. It came from an absolute howler by Dons' centre-back Alexander Diamond.
He failed to take charge of the situation as he dithered too long on the ball, Francisco Jose Sandaza quickly intercepted, but as he raced into the area he was bundled over to leave referee William Collum no option but to award a penalty.
The big striker dusted himself down before slamming the ball home to give the visitors a deserved lead.
Chances were few and far between with play mainly consigned to the midfield with limited goalscoring opportunities being created. Only a fierce rising shot from 30 yards by Lee Miller in the 33rd minute, raised the hopes of the home fans.
Aberdeen passed up a great scoring chance on 41 minutes. Scott Severin nicked the ball away from David Robertson before playing a clever ball through to Maguire whose driven effort was brilliantly parried by Lukasz Zaluska.
The Dons couldn't have made a better start to the second half as they were back on terms within 30 seconds.
Sone Aluko out-paced Mihael Kovacevic to latch on to a pass from Miller. The wide man's driven low ball into the area was missed by both Mackie and Darren Dods at the near post, the ball falling into the path of Aberdeen skipper Scott Severin who coolly slotted the ball home from ten yards.
Minutes later United were denied by a fantastic instinctive save from Jamie Langfield. Grainger's free-kick was headed on by Sandaza with the ball falling to Warren Feeney who looked certain to score until the keeper somehow managed to get a left hand to his effort.
The visitors were gifted an unlikely lead on 56 minutes, Paul Caddis all too easily beat Mulgrew on the left before finding David Robertson on the edge of the penalty area. The midfielder steadied himself before smashing home an unstoppable right-foot effort in off the underside of the crossbar.
The home side thought they had got back on terms on 62 minutes, Maguire and Mark Kerr combined on the right before the latter teed the ball up for Lee Miller. The striker's headed effort cannoned off the face of the crossbar with nobody following up to net the rebound.
Aberdeen's relentless second-half pressure finally paid off on 72 minutes when they again got back on level terms. A long free-kick from Mulgrew saw Diamond climb above Zaluska to head home from eight yards into the unguarded net.
The closest either side came to netting a vital winning goal fell to Aberdeen on 85 minutes. Severin and Kerr played a neat one-two in midfield before ex-Dundee United man Kerr smashed a fierce low 20-yard effort just wide of the post.