The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
United went into the match on the back of two consecutive wins this year and were quietly confident. However, Dundee had won both'this season's derbies so both teams fancied their chances of success. With a sett-out crowd at Dens expected, there was huge anticipation in the city leading up to the match. United boss Alex Smith made two changes, both enforced to the side that won at Links Park in the Scottish Cup with Jamie Buchan at left back in place of David Partridge and Hugh Davidson replacing Hasney Aljofree in midfield, both absentees missing the match through suspension. There were derby debuts for youngsters Paul Gallacher and Jamie McCunnie, while no fewer than another three players, Jim Lauchlan, Danny Griffin and Derek Liltey were also making their first appearance in this fixture for United. Straight from the kick-off the United fans gave the team tremendous vocal support and the team responded by opening the match at an alarming pace taking the game to the home side. For the majority of the opening stages the game was played in Dundee's half with Easton, Miller and Griffin taking an early grip of midfield. That early promise came to fruition in 34 minutes when Easton played an excellent pass up the right for Lilley who's back post cross was headed superbly past Roccati by Hugh Davidson. It was a brilliant passing move and Davidson will have been delighted to score in the derby having grown up as a United supporter, The goal seemed to rattle Dundee who had been fancied to win this game. There was some joy for the home side on the stroke of half-time when, against the run of play, Artero's right wing cross was bundled home by Claudia Caniggia. Having lost an equaliser so late, there was concern regarding the reaction that the United players would have when the ream resumed for the second 45 minutes. Such fears were dispelled within a minute when Buchan played a through pass which released Craig Easton into the area and the midfielder kept his cool to score with a precise finish from 6 yards, United took almost total control of the match with an impressive work rate which Dundee could not cope with and it was no surprise when they went 3-1 up in 78 minutes when a Miller corner fell kindly in the box to Jim Lauchlan who easily sidefooted home for his third goal in two games. The game just petered out after that despite Dundee pulling a goal back through Willie Falconer in the 88th minute, It was a terrific result for United backed by a magnificent support who made themselves heard for the duration of the match and who would hope that this was a sign of things to come from their team. The fans have endured many difficult results this season, including two derby defeats, and there can be no doubting the importance of this result. For Alex Smith, it was a performance by his side to be very proud of and one which it's hoped the team can build on as they seek to climb the table away from relegation zone. Perhaps even more satisfying for the United boss will be the fact that his side were very young, with an average age of just 23.