Lee Robinson returned to the starting lineup, the only change from last week's team. Ryan Williamson and Kallum Higginbotham were suspended and Lewis Martin, along with Tom Beadling, injured. A very young subs bench with no defenders.
After 7 long years since we last won at Tannadice, the new-look Pars side, reinvigorated and fresh, deservedly took all 3 points mainly due to a second half performance that bordered on scintillating. Deprived of 4 first team players, the team lined up with midfielder James Craigen at right wing back and ended the game with sub centre forward Andy Ryan filling in at left wingback. Every player played their part in the victory but special mention must go to Craigen (my man of the match) and Myles Hippolyte. The creation and finishing of all 3 goals were also of the highest calibre.
As has so often been the case against Dundee United, we began the better team but were unable to score the crucial opening goal. Matters were not helped by the awful refereeing of Willie Collum, who chose to book United's Edjenguele and Rabitsch for 2 identical, wild and reckless tackles on Faissal El Bakhtaoui. Clearly ordered by clown manager Csaba Laszlo to remove Faissal from play, both challenges should have resulted in red cards. Collum then booked Faissal for his reaction to the second scything.
On the stroke of half time, pantomime villain Nicky Clark put United ahead (although reports suggest the final touch came off Craigen) and celebrated in front of the Pars support. Clark had been the target of Pars' fans chants throughout the first half and took great delight in the goal.
Although Dunfermline had been the better team in the first half, there was, naturally, an air of despondency amongst the support after going behind. The team were welcomed back onto the pitch and set about making a mark on the game straight away: Myles Hippolyte's audacious shot from around 50 yards was tipped over by United keeper Rakovan. Then we scored: Faissal held the ball up well and passed to Joe Thomson whose expertly drilled shot ripped into the net in the 59th minute. United's manager was even more agitated than usual on the touchline; an unintentionally comical figure who would fit in well as a character from the Dundee-produced Beano comic.
The second Pars goal came in the 67th minute. Thomson's shot was saved but the ball fell perfectly for Jackson Longridge to head into the net. The team were well on top at this point and increased the lead further with 6 minutes remaining. Louis Longridge took possession, and with admirable composure and skill took his time to step past 2 opponents and place the ball into the net with a calm, controlled finish.
United's Fraser Aird, the other ex-Par to join United this summer, pulled a goal back with 2 minutes of normal time remaining from a free kick. By this time, Danny Devine had to go off injured, which meant Jackson Longridge moved to central defence and sub Andy Ryan took up an unlikely position at left wingback.
The final whistle was a glorious sound and the players, management and fans showed a mixture of sheer delight and relief at finally recording a win against United. This Pars team can give us a season to remember.
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