The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
Just as he had done on the opening day of the season, Joaquim Ferraz came on to snatch a last gasp derby victory, but three points was the only, albeit very tangible credit, from which the players emerged from this game. In the build up to the game, manager Paul Sturrock had emphasised that in derby matches, results are more important than the performance. It was a pity that the players perhaps took his advice a shade too literally! Not that there was much between the sides in a pretty even and strangely tame first period. Falconer had a couple of efforts on goal but were directed straight at Alan Combe. The only real threat to a goal at the other end came from a Jan Telesnikov free-kick which dipped inches wide. The second half was an improvement in terms of goalmouth action, but only just. Perhaps summing up the paucity of the outfield play was that one of the clearest cut openings of the match came from goalkeeper Robert Douglas' 80 yard clearance which put substitute Nicky Banger through, only for Alan Combe to tip his stinging drive over the bar. Our cause wasn't helped by the early departure of Jan Telesnikov who pulled a hamstring and had to be replaced which meant a further reshuffling in the team and reverting to a 4-4-2 formation. Although Dundee dominated in terms of possession and Willie Falconer hit the bar with a neat shot on the turn, the game stuttered and spluttered along until the last few minutes which contained more action than the rest of the game put together. A claim for hand-balt was rejected as Steven Thompson bore in on goal from the right and sparked a hitherto spell of tangerine pressure. This resulted in Joaquim Ferraz winning possession from Tweed to burst into the box before firing an unstoppable shot past Douglas. It was a great strike and one which brought sheer joy from the areas populated by United fans because with so little time remaining, it was the almost certain winner. There were three minutes time added on to negotiate and Alan Combe did have to push over a Falconer drive and then survive one last Dark Blue cavalry charge as Douglas pounded up field to add his height at a corner. But unlike Borussia Dortmund against Rangers, there was no last minute salvation by the keeper's presence in the opposing box as we made it, somewhat fortuitously, three wins out of three in this season's derby stakes.