Aberdeen departed Dens Park with all three points but this game reinforced the pressing need for the Dons to bolster their attack before the transfer window shuts.
The encounter appeared destined to end in a stalemate until Dee defender Genseric Kusunga handled in the area allowing Gary Mackay-Steven to slot home from the penalty spot and earn the Dons a 10th successive victory against the Dark Blues.
Despite coming off the bench to score an injury-time equaliser against Rangers, Bruce Anderson was overlooked for a starting berth with Sam Cosgrove and Stevie May preferred to lead the line.
May had one of his more productive games in a red shirt, while Cosgrove was largely ineffective and it wasn’t until Anderson was introduced 10 minutes into the second half that the Dons began to look livelier in the final third.
Anderson’s emergence has been a major positive so early in the season but McInnes knows he can’t rely on a 19-year-old with only two substitute appearances to his name to spearhead his attack and will be desperate to land a centre forward before this weekend’s Betfred Cup second round tie against St Mirren.
There was plenty of perspiration but precious little inspiration in a keenly-contested first period.
The Dons enjoyed plenty of the ball down both flanks but struggled to turn their territorial dominance into goalscoring opportunities.
Dundee, looking for their first points of the season after a 2-1 reverse against St Mirren on the opening weekend, threatened first with Kharl Madianga fizzing an attempt over from 25 yards.
Mackay-Steven was Aberdeen’s most dangerous outlet and his trickery helped conjure an opening for May whose low drive was well blocked by Nathan Ralph. The visitors could easily have fallen behind after 21 minutes when Jesse Curran rampaged down the right wing before finding the unmarked Sofien Moussa but the Tunisian lacked any composure and blasted wildly over from 12 yards out
May was unfortunate not to open the scoring two minutes before the break when he displayed quick footwork to manufacture a yard of space in a packed penalty area but Jack Hamilton came to the rescue for Dee with a fine stop.
Dundee were forced into a change at the break with former West Brom midfielder Adil Nabi coming on for his debut in place of the injured Lewis Spence.
The Dark Blues were again left to rue their profligacy within two minutes of the restart when Josh Meekings, only three yards out, somehow failed to convert from an Elton Ngwatala corner when a goal looked certain.
Ferguson volleyed over at the other end before the Dons made their first change with Anderson replacing Cosgrove.
It proved a shrewd move with the industrious Anderson quickly proving a nuisance and unsettling the Dundee rearguard.
Anderson went close to making it two goals in two games after 65 minutes when he pounced on some slack Dundee defending but his blistering volley crashed off the crossbar.
It looked like a goal was never going to come but the Dons were given a helping hand in the 74th minute when referee Bobby Madden pointed to the spot after Kusunga used an arm to block Dominic Ball’s goal-bound header.
Mackay-Steven, who netted a penalty against Burnley in the Europa League, kept his cool to send Hamilton the wrong way from the spot and calim all three points for the Dons.
ABERDEEN (4-4-2) – Lewis 7, Ball 7, Devlin 7, Considine 7, Shinnie 7, Gleeson 6 (Forrester 73), Ferguson 6, McGinn 6, Mackay-Steven 7, May 6 (Wright 80), Cosgrove 5 (Anderson 55). Subs not used: Cenry, Ross, Campbell, Harrington.
DUNDEE (4-4-2) – Hamilton 6, Ralph 5 (Kerr 67), Kusunga 6, Moussa 5, Ngwatala 6, Mendy 5 (Wighton 71), McGowan 5, Madianga 6, Meekings 6, Curran 6, Spence 5 (Nabi 46). Subs not used: Parish, Caulker, Moore, Henvey.
Attendance – 7,581
Referee: Bobby Madden 6
Man of the match: Gary Mackay-Steven