Motherwell passed up the chance to strengthen their grip on third place as Aberdeen eventually cruised to a comfortable win to haul themselves to a point behind the Fir Park men.
With the Dons sitting fourth, the Steelmen were aiming to increase the gap between themselves and Derek McInnes’ men.
However, an early goal from Sam Cosgrove and a quick double from Niall McGinn and Zak Vyner at the start of the second half killed off the home side’s ambitions.
It might have been so different had Liam Donnelly been free of suspension as in the early stages, his presence was missed at both ends.
Within five minutes his deputy penalty taker James Scott failed to score from the spot.
Then 10 minutes later and with Peter Hartley off receiving treatment, Aberdeen exploited the defensive gap to take the lead and the initiative.
In an otherwise unchanged ‘Well line-up, Chris Long was rewarded with a starting place, following his goal after coming off the bench against St Mirren.
In an explosive start Joe Lewis was the first ‘keeper in action, firmly holding James Scott’s curling drive from 18 yards.
The Dons’ keeper was in the thick of the action a minute later. Under pressure from Sherwin Seedorf, Shay Logan was short with his pass back.
With Long racing to intercept, Lewis’ attempt at clearing the ball only succeeded in bringing down the ‘Well striker and concede a penalty.
James Scott’s effort had power and height, but Lewis redeemed himself with a sensational one handed save to turn the ball onto his bar and over.
James Wilson then tested Mark Gillespie with a powerful drive from 30 yards, which the ‘Well ‘keeper comfortably beat away from his goal.
A minute later a similar thumping effort from Wilson crashed off Peter Hartley’s head forcing the ‘Well captain off the field for treatment.
Unable to continue and before Bevis Mugabi could take his place, Aberdeen had punished the 10 men to open the scoring.
Cosgrove powered his way beyond Barry Maguire and into the penalty box before deftly clipping the ball over Gillespie and under the bar for a terrific finish.
Despite the setback the Fir Park side remained composed as they faced the prospect of breaking through the Dons’ five man defensive wall.
In the 21st minute the home side came close to the equaliser when Long nipped in front of Lewis at the corner of the six yard box but from a very tight angle he rattled the ball off the outside of the ‘keeper’s post.
Seven minutes later Cosgrove almost produced a copy of his opener. This time, though, Declan Gallagher matched his run into the box before his timely tackle deprived the Dons’ striker of the ball.
Although tight at the back, Aberdeen’s distribution from defence was sloppy and ‘Well enjoyed plenty of possession in the middle of the park – but half-time arrived with no real pressure on Lewis’ goal.
The Dons were perfectly placed for the second half, tightly holding onto their lead with the prospect of sneaking a second on the break as ‘Well pushed forward in search of an equaliser.
And the second goal duly arrived eight minutes into the half – as ‘Well contributed to their own downfall.
A series of short passes 50 yards from their own goal culminated in McGinn robbing Alan Campbell and the Northern Ireland international made the most of the chance by curling a stunning effort high beyond Gillespie’s reach and into the ‘keeper’s left hand corner.
A couple of minutes later Jermaine Hylton replaced Scott but by then the Pittodrie side and their fans were on song and on their way to a comfortable win.
As ‘Well wilted Zak Vyner hit a low 25 yards drive ball in off the bottom of the post to make it 3-0 and literally wrap up the points.
On the hour mark Barry Maguire made way for Devante Cole who arrived in time to see Liam Polworth drive a long and powerful effort just wide of goal.
Polworth then slipped the ball through to Long who turned McKenna at the edge of the box only to fire over the crossbar.
From the other corner of the penalty box Hylton fed the ball to Long and although his angled drive was on target it was a comfortable save for Lewis.
The Steelmen kept plugging away and ten minutes from time Cole got the better of McKenna at the edge of the six yard area to turn and force a shot which was blocked by the ‘keeper.
It was then Gillespie’s turn to produce a fine save low to his left, to deny Vyner a second goal.
Not to be outdone, Lewis was at full stretch to push away Cole’s angled drive, as the goalmouth action continued until the final whistle.