The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
Peter Houston made one change to the starting line-up that had defeated Hibs 2-0 at Easter Road. Right-back Robbie Neilson was restored to the starting eleven after serving his suspension with Keith Watson dropping out of the squad altogether.The first half started brightly for the home side with United creating the only chances in the first half hour. The best of the Tangerines’ chances fell to Paul Dixon, Robbie Neilson and Gary Mackay-Steven. Thirteen minutes in, a Willo Flood cross produced an unnecessary punch from Chris Smith in the Pars goal. The ball fell to Dixon, left centre, on the edge of the area and his low shot flew untouched through the bodies on the six yard line when a deflection so easily could have turned it goal bound. The best chance arguably came a minute later for Robbie Neilson, back from suspension in place of Keith Watson, following some great work down the left from Gary Mackay-Steven. His cross aimed in at both Johnny Russell and Jon Daly evaded the deadly duo. However, Neilson came powering into the box but he failed to meet the target. Dunfermline managed to get in the game after half an hour with Joe Cardle crossing to Martin Hardie who headed harmlessly over. The game was starting to become scrappy with Gary Mackay-Steven on the receiving end of what can only be described as a kicking.Nevertheless, the winger was not to be fazed and just a minute after Dunfermline’s rare first half attack on Dusan Pernis’s goal, he tested Pars’ keeper Smith with a fine effort from just outside the area. John Rankin was trying to a find a way through the Dunfermline bodies but instead played the ball to Mackay-Steven who having cut inside, wriggled to find some space and from 25 yards and unleashed an excellent shot that had Chris Smith diving to his right and successfully deflecting the ball away and behind.United didn’t have to wait too long into the second half to take the lead. A Robbie Neilson long throw on forty-nine minutes found the captain in the area; the ball bounced and bobbled amongst Daly and the Pars defenders until Scott Robertson’s telling touch allowed the ball to fall into the path of Jon Daly and he unleashed an unstoppable volley to send the ball past Smith and United 1 – 0 up. A special goal from an outstanding player achieving his 45th career SPL goal. On sixty-nine minutes Joe Cardle had a chance with which he should have done a lot better. In a good central position with space, the midfielder ballooned his shot over. The pressure of being locked in the battle for survival for the visitors was beginning to show as Jim Jefferies was getting more animated as the half wore on and his players were showing more frustration. If Dunfermline weren’t out of it at 1 – 0 they certainly were at 2 – 0. In the eightieth minute Mackay-Steven burst like lightening past Dowie to hit the byline. His cutback evaded Daly, however the chance wan’t gone and it was converted thanks to the late arrival of Scott Robertson into the area, blasting the ball into the back of the net. On eighty-five minutes Johnny Russell out-muscling the close attentions of Rutkiewicz holding the ball up for Rankin. However, the midfielder was too quick and the ball played behind him to the big Irishman Jon Daly, who set about blasting home from 15 yards. Another professional victory, ensuring that United’s push for Europe continues and the team remains unbeaten in the SPL since the first half of January.