The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
Two goals in stoppage time saw United progress into the last 16 of the Irn Bru Cup with a lacklustre 3-1 win over Alloa Athletic. As in the previous round against Cowdenbeath, Ray McKinnon took the opportunity to overhaul the starting eleven. Only Paul McMullan and Willo Flood retained their places from the previous week’s heavy defeat against St Mirren. Former Everton and Rochdale player Joe Piggott, a deadline day signing, was handed his first start for the club. Youngsters Harvey Dailly, Logan Chalmers and Archie Thomas returned to the side after playing in the previous round’s victory over Cowdenbeath.Just as they did in that victory against Cowdenbeath, United took a while to get going in the game in front of a crowd of 1763. The only attempts on goal in the early stages were a couple of long-range efforts from Logan Chalmers. The first attempt on seven minutes was a chip which only just went over the bar. His second shot came only a few minutes later, but did not trouble Neil Parry in the Alloa goal. The first real chance of the game came for the visitors. Alloa full back Daryll Meggatt cut the ball back to Kevin Cawley. However, although the striker had more than enough time to take a touch and pick his spot, he managed to drag his shot wide from 12 yards. Alloa were defending well, and were more than comfortably dealing with any attempts the United players were making to create chances. There was one chance when Scott Allardice drove in a low cross from the right, but the ball evaded Joe Piggott at the back post. Aside from that, any half chances were falling to the visitors. Steven Hetherington hit a 20 yard shot that went just past the post, and just before half time Hetherington had another chance when he curled a free kick just wide, which he himself had won after being fouled by Archie Thomas. The second half was broadly similar to the first, with goalscoring chances being somewhat at a premium. Paul McMullan did have an early opportunity with a run and shot from around 20 yards, but his effort was just over the bar. As the half drew on, United began to create more half chances. Joe Piggott had a shot on the turn from the edge of the penalty box which flew well over the bar. Soon after, United created another chance, but Lewis Toshney could not direct his header from McMullen’s corner on target. The former Celtic and Dunfermline player ten created another opportunity, this time for Logan Chalmers, however his shot was easily saved by Parry. The match finally ignited in the 72nd minute with a penalty from Patrick N’Koyi. The striker was brought down in the box by Alloa’s captain Andrew Graham after being played in on goal by Piggott, and after a lengthy delay to allow Graham to receive treatment, N’Koyi slotted home the penalty to give United the lead. Any thoughts that United would be able to see out their lead were extinguished a mere six minutes later as Alloa got the equaliser that they probably deserved on the balance of play. The United defence could not deal with some good play from Alloa substitute Adam Martin, and he was able to cut the ball back to Kevin Cawley, who was able to hit an angled shot past the helpless Deniz Mehmet from 16 yards. Alloa should have grabbed a second goal soon afterwards, however Chris Renton missed the target from 12 yards when in a great position. At the other end, with three minutes to go N’Koyi also had a good chance to give his side the lead, but his low shot was well saved by Neil Parry. Just as it appeared that the game would be heading for extra time, Dundee United were able to grab a second goal in stoppage time. After some good play in the Alloa penalty box, Patrick N’Koyi set up Paul McMullan, who smashed the ball past Parry in the Alloa goal to give United the lead, much to the relief of the home support. That was not the end of the scoring. There was still time for Willo Flood to score United’s third goal with a fantastic drive from the corner of the penalty area. The goal made the match look a lot more comfortable than it actually was, but was enough to ensure United’s progression into the next round.Match report written by Derek Keilloh