The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
United suffered a last gasp defeat at Kilmarnock this evening in a game which was transformed by the 77th minute dismissal of left back Christian Kalvenes. With United in control, what seemed like a strong but fair tackle from the Norwegian on Steven Naismith looked set to see Kilmarnock win a corner. To the surprise of virtually everyone in the ground, referee Brian Winter saw things differently, not only awarding a free kick but reaching straight for the red card. “Contentious” might be the polite way to put it – the travelling support and TV viewers will have made up their own minds.Both sides started with lone strikers – Kilmarnock looking for Wales and Naismith to support Nish from the flanks; Robson and Conway providing the ammunition for United’s Hunt. Wilkie, Conway and Buaben were promoted to the starting line up for the visitors in place of Kenneth, Flood and Robb. But a pretty scrappy first half saw Kilmarnock edge it in terms of possession and territory, while United had marginally the better of the few chances to speak of. It was a full quarter hour into the game when Barry Robson spurned the first real chance – hitting the ball straight back at Alan Combe after the keeper fumbled a high ball. At the other end Gomis chested a Colin Nish header off the line. Half an hour in Naismith and then Nish sent headers wide. The game was brought to life with ten minutes to go to half time. A brilliant Conway run from inside his own half took him past Wright and into the box past Lilley who was lucky not to be penalised for a lunging challenge. Conway stayed on his feet to blast across goal from an acute angle, Combe parrying the ball out only as far as Hunt whose shot was charged down by a crowd of home defenders. Hunt was then inches off target with a header from twelve yards after a lovely Barry Robson cross. With United finishing the half strongly, injury time saw Combe take two attempts to punch Robson’s dangerous inswinging corner off the line. United continued from where they left off as the second period got underway, and on 50 minutes the reward arrived. Barry Robson took advantage of some abysmal Kilmarnock defending to cut the ball back across goal from the left – Buaben couldn’t quite get the required touch but Noel Hunt was on hand to stab the ball home from close range. United looked in command and Buaben almost added a second soon after, his fine run and shot well dealt with by Combe. Gomis was next to try his luck with a similar effort which was just off target. With Kilmarnock going nowhere, home manager Jim Jefferies brought on David Fernandez for Dodds, switching to a more attacking 4-4-2 with just over half an hour to go. Killie did look more threatening as a result – Fraser Wright struck the top of the bar with a powerful drive, then Nish blazed a shot wide after a mazy run. But United steadied themselves and went looking for a killer second – Combe doing well to deny Robson with a 20 yard drive, then easily dealing with a long range Hunt effort.With United looking comfortable, and Szamotulski yet to make a save, the game was turned on its head by the 77th minutes red card. United had barely re-organised with Gomis going to left back when they were dealt another cruel blow – a deflected effort from Willie Gibson giving the United’s Polish keeper no chance. Killie pressed forward looking for the winner, yet United still looked like salvaging a point through stubborn defending. But with just over three minutes to go Frazer Wright’s shot/cross from the left was deflected in from close range by Colin Nish, to give Kilmarnock an unlikely three points.