The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
Simon Murray, Edward Ofere and Blair Spittal all came into Mixu Paatelainen’s starting side with Guy Demel missing through injury and Ryan Dow and Billy Mckay left on the bench. The previous week’s loss to Hamilton coupled with Kilmarnock taking all three points over the weekend meant the maths were simple – United had to win tonight to avoid relegation being confirmed at the home of their city rivals.Having endured so much adversity this season there was a larger band of Arabs in attendance than had been mooted prior to the game and they were certainly making themselves heard. The game immediately flowed from end to end with Eiji Kawashima the first goalkeeper called into action however he had a simple task of hanging onto a deflected shot form Paul Mcgowan. Ofere then glanced a Paul Paton delivery straight into the hands of Scott Bain before Paul Dixon received an early yellow card for taking out Greg Stewart on the touchline. Murray then had a shot blocked from close range by Darren O’Dea following Spittal’s low cross as the visitors looked to strike the first blow.Injury ended Dundee man McGowan’s afternoon in 16 minutes with the midfielder being replaced by Etxabeguren. After the somewhat frantic start the pace of the game then tailed off, influenced by a couple of stoppages, with neither side managing to take control of proceedings. Despite looking nervous on occasions the United rearguard were largely keeping Stewart and Kane Hemmings at bay while Murray and Ofere were putting the Dark Blues defence on their toes. As the game edged towards half time Hemmings had a sniff at goal when a dangerous delivery from the right was watched by Kawashima but Dundee’s top scorer instead turned the ball away from the direction of the goal. In 40 minutes Hemmings should have done far better after the hosts broke forward when Dixon gave the ball away in midfield. Unmarked at the edge of the box all the Englishman could do was hook the ball several feet over. On the stroke of half time Mark Durnan flashed a near post header high over from Spittal’s corner before Craig Wighton shot low into the arms of Kawashima meaning the half ended goalless.There was an early penalty shout following the restart for United when Murray went down inside the area but in fairness it was one of those that was neither a foul nor a dive. Kawashima then did well to claim a cross in front of his goal with Hemmings at close quarters before in 54 minutes the breakthrough was made – by the Terrors with an excellent move which started on the left through Murray who played a clever ball to John Rankin to tee up perfectly for Edward Ofere to slot home from 6 yards. Just after Murray had a shot on the angle deflected for a corner as the Tangerines looked to double their advantage. The home fans were voicing their discontent at the decision just prior to the goal from Willie Collum who deemed Ofere’s challenge on O’Dea just inside the box to be a legitimate one. Eager as ever to drive towards the Dundee goal, Murray won his side another corner in the 69th minute after receiving the ball from Dow. Spittal’s kick was headed towards the far corner by Durnan and despite not having much power Etxabeguren’s clearance was necessary to prevent another goal. Ofere was then denied by an alert stop from Bain with quarter of an hour remaining as he poked first time a Kyle Knoyle through ball towards goal from 8 yards. The Tangerines were left to rue the missed opportunity in 77 minutes as Dundee levelled the game. A Gary Harkins corner was headed towards goal by Gadzhalov and through a crowd of bodies including Kane Hemmings on the goal line managed to squeeze into the corner of the net. Sub Chris Erskine went close after taking Ofere’s flick on and turning inside before firing in a shot which Bain got a touch to on the way over. Ofere then won a the first of three corners in the space of a minute. From the second of these Sean Dillon lofted a high ball to the back post which was heading in but for the touch from Bain. With under 10 minutes remaining Kawashima did really well to turn Hemmings’s header over the bar before Stewart was booked for a late tackle on Dixon which sparked a melee from which Kawashima also saw yellow. Paton was next to get booked following a tackle on O’Dea with several letting their emotions get the better of them, including O’Dea who was also booked for his reaction. Right on the 90 minutes Ryan Dow sent a half volley well over as time for a winner was fast running out. Deep into injury time however, as if United’s fans hadn’t suffered enough this season, Stewart played a free kick low into the box which was steered first time into the bottom corner of the net by Craig Wighton. Relegation to the Championship next term in that moment was sealed.Manager's Comment:“It's simply not good enough, nowhere near good enough. Today, as on so many occasions, we had Dundee, we were comfortable, and then after that it's sheer softness, poor defending, not taking responsibility, not enough leadership, not ruthless enough. We are nowhere near the standard we should be."Fan's Comment:“Heartbreaking.”Formation: 4-3-2-1 Captain: Captain: Paul PatonArab Archive 'Man of the Match': Edward OfereMatch Photos courtesy of Riki Grauer - More photos available at:Dundee United Official Flickr PageMatch report written by Ally Stewart
Photography by DUFC Official