Dundee United 1 Dunfermline 1Saturday, 24th Mar 2018
Ladbrokes Championship: same again Pars starting eleven. Nicky Clark (52) 0-1, Scott McDonald (55) 1-1
Dunfermline on the back of taking seven points from the previous nine travelled to Tannadice in search of their first league win there since August 2011. Manager Allan Johnston named an unchanged team while Dundee United made six changes from the team that lost 3-2 at home to Queen of the South in midweek. In came Harry Lewis, Scott Fraser, Willo Flood, Jamie Robson, Matty Smith and new signing Bilel Mohsni.
The 30 year old French born six time Tunisian internationalist, has only played a handful of games in France in the three years since leaving Rangers. Out went keeper Deniz, Mark Durnan, Willie Edenguele, Billy King, Paul McMullan and Thomas Mikkelsen.
The Fifers kicked off through Nicky Clark, Tom Beadling and back to Ryan Williamson. The visitors were attacking the goal in front of the United fans but it was the travelling support that had the best view of the first chance. Jamie Robson broke through on the left side of the Pars box and drove a low shot that was destined to sneak inside the right goalpost until Lee Robinson dived low to turn it away and Lewis Martin did well to block Anthony Ralston’s fierce follow up.
Robson proved to be more danger getting over two crosses from the left in six minutes, the second of which just evaded in on running Ralston. Dunfermline had nothing to note until 12th minute when Martin launched over a cross from the left that just evaded Clark’s leap.
Then five minutes later Declan McManus hit a left foot shot against the right upright from 14 yards after a neat piece of play from James Craigen through Clark on the edge of the box. Back at the other end United were awarded a free kick against Craigen and from 22 yards Scott McDonald hit the ball over off the Dunfermline wall. Scott Fraser’s corner was hoofed away by Lee Ashcroft.
Play eventually stopped in 24th minute after Stewart Murdoch followed through in his tackle on Tom Beadling on the top of the United D. Physio Kenny Murray came on to administer treatment and the big Englishman was fit to continue.
McManus tried a lob from 25 yards out on the left but just cleared the crossbar. Next Beadling played through Clark and although marginal, the offside decision was correct. On the half hour Williamson fed Kallum Higginbotham and after cutting inside laid the ball off for Craigen who fired narrowly wide right.
The Fifers were doing well at this stage and McManus next fed the ball in for Clark but unluckily he was caught offside. They forced their first corner of the game in 33 minutes but Ashcroft just couldn’t get enough purchase on Craigen’s delivery from the left.
Play continued to be encamped deep in the United half. Higginbotham crosses but that was cleared but Williamson gathered and his cross was desperately turned behind by Ralston for another corner.
One corner followed another and Higginbotham sent in a 38th minute corner that United had to defend again. McManus then from the left flashed the ball through the United box before Martin collected a yellow card in conceding a free kick 23 yards out. Fraser hit a fine shot that Robinson kept out with a fantastic one handed save at his right post.
From the corner Tam Scobbie got a free header from the resultant corner and the ball was net bound until Clark cleared off the line. Back to the other end with a swift move and McManus launched a shot over the bar from 20 yards.
It was a half which United started the stronger but the Pars came back and enjoyed a lot of the latter play. 52% possession for the visitors and despite McManus hitting the post, Harry Lewis was still to make his first save in earnest. United were denied the opener from Fraser’s free kick thanks to Robinson’s wonderful save.
Half time: Dundee United 0 Dunfermline 0
Mark Durnan replaced Tam Scobbie before McDonald got the second half underway. McDonald tumbled down in a tackle from Callum Morris that enraged the home support. That tackle was adjudged fair by referee Euan Anderson but when play stopped he yellow carded the Pars skipper for a previous challenge that he had played advantage.
CLARK was to score in 52nd minute after Williamson and Higginbotham made ground down the right. The goal from the cross was a tap in from close in. 0-1
The lead was only to last three minutes as a consequence of a mistake by Craigen. The ball was only eight yards out and Robinson had everything covered until the Pars man cleared the ball off McDONALD past the keeper. 1-1
The goal gave United a boost and they looked more likely after going on level terms. In 63 minutes Sam Stanton burst through the left channel to run into the path of a lay off from McDonald and fortunately the ball flew narrowly wide right.
Two minutes on and Mohsni was penalised for his challenge on Williamson. Craigen took charge of the free kick on the right level with the penalty spot and the ball was defended out to Williamson. 30 yards out the right back’s shot was going wide but Ashcroft deflected it but dropped just wide right.
Athletic pumped over another free kick from the right in 68 minutes but Higginbotham’s delivery was defended. McDonald’s challenge on Vincent earned another free kick but Craigen’s ball from the edge of the centre circle caused no danger.
Back at the other end Ashcroft could not usher the ball out behind and ended up pushing McDonald. The free kick was over hit by Matt Smith and the ball sailed over the goal.
Nat Wedderburn was the first Dunfermline sub in 73 minutes coming on to replace James Craigen. Dundee United then made Robinson pull off a good save from Ralston.
Into the last ten minutes and Mark Durnan fouled McManus to give the Pars a free kick on the left. Higginbotham’s delivery was dropped by Lewis but McManus stabbed the ball over the bar from close in. Quite a let off for the home side.
Beadling was booked in 85 minutes for complaining too much after he was deemed to foul Ralston. The free kick on the right was centred by sub Chris Slater and Durnan met the cross to head wide right.
Then on 88 minutes McMullan was given two bites at a chance on the left but could only win a corner. Back at the other end there was a good opportunity for a Dunfermline winner. Martin swung the ball over to the far post and Clark clipped the ball back but McManus could not get a connection.
SUBS NOT USED: Thomas Mikkelsen, Billy King, Grant Gillespie, Deniz Dogan Mehmet: (GK)
SCORERS: McDonald (55)
YELLOW CARD: Scobbie (45)
DUNFERMLINE: Lee Robinson: Ryan Williamson, Callum Morris (c), Lee Ashcroft, Lewis Martin: Kallum Higginbotham, James Vincent, Tom Beadling, James Craigen (Nat Wedderburn 73): Declan McManus, Nicky Clark.
SUBS NOT USED: Fraser Aird, Dan Armstrong, Andy Ryan, Jean-Yves M`Voto, Jason Talbot, Cammy Gill (GK)
SCORERS: Clark (52)
YELLOW CARD: Martin (40), Morris (51), Beadling (85)
REFEREE: Euan Anderson
WEATHER: Sunny 11C
NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship (home) v Queen of the South, Saturday 31st March 2018, kick off 3.00pm at East End Park
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