The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
Faced with the prospect of trying to retrieve a two goal deficit, United suffered a blow when Andy McLaren was ruled out because of flu and John Clark was drafted in up front. The experience of Dave Bowman and Dave Narey was a welcome boost to our chances. On the evidence of the opening few minutes, you'd have thought it was the Danes and not United who were two goals in arrears! Alan Main had to pull off a superb save at full stretch to keep out a Kristensen free-kick and Strudel was twice only inches away from getting on the end of two very dangerous crosses. All his with only seven minutes on the clock! Gradually, United fought their way into the game, but a series of corners was as much as we could muster. There were grounds for guarded optimism on the half time whistle as Rieper just managed to cut out a ball intended for John Clark.Five minutes into the second period Paddy Connolly replaced Christian Dailly, but the Danish defence still showed no signs of being breached. With a little under half an hour left John O'Neil came on for Freddy van der Hoorn and three minutes later United achieved the breakthrough. John Clark played the ball into Scott Crabbe and his superb lay off fell into Billy McKinlay's path and he struck a low right foot shot into the far corner from the edge of the box. The relief was infectious and very soon afterwards Krogh blocked a shot by Paddy Connolly and Villort blocked a John Clark shot on the turn as United stepped up the pace. Then with 11 minutes remaining United hauled themselves level with another beautifully worked goal. Scott Crabbe played a one-two with Paddy Connolly and ran on to the return and swept it over Krogh's body in fine style. However, the Danes held on and almost made extra-time superfluous when that man Kristensen met a Vilfort cross and only Alan Main's spread-eagled body kept out his header in the last minute of normal time.Less than a minute of extra-time had been played when the Danes delivered a body-blow, Kristensen thumping home a vicious 25 yard shot into the top corner leaving United the uphill task of again having to score twice. They did manage one, but that was in the very final minute of the game when Billy McKinlay found John Clark in the middle of the goal and took advantage of the gap in front of him to drive the ball past Krogh to tie the aggregate scores, but leave the Danes winners on the away goal ruling.
Within the space of a week we suffered our first two defeats of the season in the UEFA Cup in Brondby and in last Tuesday's League Cup semi-final against Hibs, yet the manner of our demise in those two games couldn't have been more contrasting. The first meeting with Brondby was undoubtedly our poorest showing of the season and to some extent showed up the lack of European experience in the team, so that game will been a valuable lesson to the many youngsters in the side. Even though it also ended in defeat, the lads confidence is high after playing so well against Hibs and they are more determined than ever to continue from where they left off against Hibs. To be successful in this game you must get into the winning habit and if the quality of performance against Hibs can be maintained then results will inevitably come. The players, I know, are capable of achieving this more regularly and they must believe in themselves if they are going to be successful. There is a mood of determination in the squad to help each other and this augurs well for the future. Tonight we have 90 minutes to try and pull back a two goal deficit and I am sure that the lads will do their utmost to atone for their performance in Denmark where didn't do themselves justice. Going into a situation like tonight makes you all the more determined.