Hoodoo against United extends to 12 games without a win
Lee Ashcroft missed his first League game of the season through illness. Callum Smith was also unwell. Callum Morris returned to the starting line-up, while Brandon Luke was the only addition to the squad, on the bench after his loan period at Annan ended. Allan Johnston reverted to a 4-4-2 formation for the first time in several weeks, with Michael Paton and Joe Cardle on the wings.
MINUTES THAT MATTERED:
1' Inside the first minute, Declan McManus shot wide from 22 yards
A few half chances during the remainder of the first half but very little noteworthy
51' Willo Flood's firmly-hit cross went past the United attackers and behind
59' Michael Paton delayed a shot at goal after a poor clearance from United keeper Harry Lewis. Paton checked inside and placed his eventual shot past the post
60' McManus was played through on the keeper but hit Lewis' legs with his shot
71' Callum Morris, surrounded by United defenders, could not direct his header on target from substitute Fraser Aird's cross
77' United's Emil Lyng headed over the bar from a Flood cross
82' Lewis tipped over McManus' goalbound header
90' McManus was denied a late winner when his shot hit the post
A second half that saw several potential match winning goal efforts either saved or missed by Dunfermline ended with the winless run against today's opposition now at 12 League and Cup games. After a fairly uneventful first half, the Pars were the better team in the second period but were unable to get the one goal that would have almost certainly won the game; United had very little in attack and this is the poorest Dundee United side I can remember - vastly inferior, for example, to the team that faced us in the old First Division, in 1995/96, the last time (prior to last season) that both teams played in Scotland's second tier.
The game highlighted positive aspects of Dunfermline's play, in addition to areas that still require work. Keeper Lee Robinson made one save with his legs but was rarely tested. In defence, Ryan Williamson was booked during the first half after being bamboozled by United's Billy King. Williamson has the right back slot to himself but looks very much like a raw teenager playing his first game, and not a 21 year old with 95 first team appearances and Scotland Under 21 caps. In the absence of Lee Ashcroft, Callum Morris came back into the team and played his usual game - impressive for the most part, but a couple of lapses that could have cost a goal. Jean Yves M'Voto was one of the best performers again, a true defender with no frills, but very effective. Jason Talbot was caught for pace by United's Paul McMullen but had a steady enough game.
With the return to 4-4-2, Paton and Cardle were on the wings. Cardle had a frustrating game with nothing much coming off for him. Paton had a chance to score in the second half but failed to hit the target. In central midfield, Big Nat had a very good game, using his strength to shield the ball and pirouette round his opponents on several occasions, to the delight of the home fans. Dean Shiels was tidy in possession but did not really impose himself.
Up front, Nicky Clark and Declan McManus worked hard and McManus was left shaking his head at not scoring at least once.
A word on referee Bobby Madden: after seeing Willo Flood injure himself on the touchline. Flood was then treated by the physio and ran back on to rejoin play without Madden giving permission. There were also other inconsistencies in Madden's performance that at times made him the focus of the game, the mark of a poor referee.
In truth, this felt like 2 points dropped, despite avoiding a defeat against a team above us in the table.
Photos and edits by Pars Review
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