Dunfermline 0 Dundee United 0Tuesday, 1st May 2018
SPFL Premiership Play Off: same again Pars starting eleven. Lee Ashcroft red card (55).
Dunfermline as a result of finishing in fourth place played host for the first play off match against third placed Dundee United. No surprise that Allan Johnston named the same starting eleven as defeated Dumbarton the previous Saturday. Dundee United boss Csaba László made two changes from Saturday’s successful eleven v Livingston. Willo Flood returned to captain the team while striker Thomas Mikkelsen came in for Craig Slater.
The teams emerged to a great ovation from both sets of fans and the North West stand particularly vocal. The visitors kicked off attacking the goal at the. McCathie Stand end and immediately took play to their hosts. First keeper in serious action was Denis Mehmet who had to hold a Fraser Aird ball that dipped into his six yard box in just the fourth minute.
Both sides pushed on at pace and it looked as though this was going to a fiercely contested tie. Anthony Ralston twice got uncomfortably up the right but the home defence kept the ball well away from Lee Robinson. Dunfermline responded with a strong run up the left and delivery from Aird. His cross was met by Bilel Moshni and he got away with an uncertain clearance as Nicky Clark was wrong footed.
Another nice touch by Ralston set up Scott Fraser to try and break through on on the right but Lewis Martin put in a great tackle to stop that. At the other end another powerful run by Aird created more problems in front of the United goal but the defence survived.
Billy King forced a 23rd minute corner off Williamson and when Fraser sent that over from the right that was defended but not totally clearer and Clark was penalised as the ball was played on to Clark’s hand that was well above his head.
The free kick was defended after Declan McManus replaced the injured Andy Ryan. The sub came close to becoming an instant success. Clark latched on to a Ralston header that was searching out for Stewart Murdoch and the ball into the box just evaded McManus in front of goal. Two Pars corners followed but neither troubled the keeper.
At the other end Grant Gillespie drove a 31st minute effort from 25 yards out three quarters of the way up the McCathie Stand. Then in 35 minutes a James Vincent pass caused Moshni to concede a free kick on the edge of the D in front of the United goal. Aird took the responsibility but fired over the wall and the crossbar.
The Fifers were then to be denied a goal by the crossbar after a surging run by Lee Ashcroft set up Kallum Higginbotham who laced the ball left for Aird and when McManus connected he was desperately unlucky.
Pressure was maintained with McManus forcing a 40th minute corner on the right and when that came over Ashcroft headed the ball back across goal and it was Vincent who got the shot on the second ball but sent his effort over the bar.
Just when it looked like Dunfermline were taking a bit of control King threatened with a shot that Martin blocked and then right at the end of the half Mikkelsen got to the byeline to cut back for Fraser but he pulled his shot off target and was deflected behind for a corner that was defended.
A first half with 56% home possession but neither side managed a shot on target.
Half time: Dunfermline 0 Dundee United 0
The Pars resumed the stronger and forced a corner within two minutes. Ashcroft knocked the ball down but Vincent was denied the shot. Then in 49 minutes Clark made Mehmet save after an Aird free kick from the left had been played back into the goalmouth by Higginbotham. Next minute another Aird run was punctuated with a shot but Flood arrived just in time to blocked that.
Clark was caught offside in 52 minutes as McManus broke but then next minute Higginbotham made the break, picked out Williamson on the right edge of the United box and closed down he was forced to lay the ball back to Aird who sent a 25 yard shot towards the top right but Mehmet touched over. The corner was defended and Mehmet wasted time as he took the byekick.
The match was to change in 55 minutes when Ashcroft was shown red for a last man challenge on Scott McDonald. There were protestations during which Higginbotham was shown yellow but nothing would sway referee Bobby Madden’s decision. Fraser sent the 30 yard free kick over the bar but the temperature of the occasion soared.
Fraser looked to have taken advantage of the sending off, finding himself space in front of goal but he sent his attempt wide right. In 61 minutes Robinson pulled off a wonderful save to keep out McDonald who connected with Mikklesen’s cut back. The resultant corner from the left gave McDonald another chance but Robinson held.
Back at the other end a Clark header looked netbound but Mehmet palmed the chance away. Jason Talbot was brought on for Kallum Higginbotham and Sam Stanton for Grant Gillespie as both sides altered their tactics. Martin slotted in at centre half and Talbot took his role at left back. Stanton had a chance right away and there was a clearance off the line by Clark.
In 72 minutes Robinson raced out to narrow King’s angle and Talbot turned the ball behind for a corner. Murdoch attacked the ball at the corner to force another but Morris headed clear. With ten v eleven it was heavily weighted on the visitors but Clark threatened as he was sent through the middle by Aird but although he got the better of Moshni, Mehmet grabbed the ball away.
Fraser delivered a ball in from a 79th minute corner on the right but Moshni’s attempt failed to beat Robinson. Williamson hurt himself as he went into a tackle two minutes later. United played on as Ryan beat the ground in obvious pain. When Robinson held the cross he thumped it off and after treatment from Kenny Murray the right back as able to continue.
Ryan Williamson went down in the centre circle on 87 minutes and Nat Wedderburn came on in his place and the 22 year old limped off. The last three minutes plus four added were played with intense United pressure. There was one chance of a breakaway for McManus but he was halted and Martin collected a late yellow as the Fifers did everything to successfully hold out.
So on to Tannadice on a Friday night.
SUBS NOT USED: Joe Cardle, Dan Armstrong, Connor Duthie, Cammy Gill (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Higginbotham (56), Martin (90+3)
RED CARD: Ashcroft (55)
DUNDEE UNITED: Deniz Dogan Mehmet: Anthony Ralston, Bilel Mohsni, Stewart Murdoch, Willo Flood (c), Scott Fraser, Billy King, Grant Gillespie (Sam Stanton 68), Thomas Mikkelsen (Emil Lyng 75), Scott McDonald.
SUBS NOT USED: Craig Slater, Paul McMullan, Tam Scobbie, William Edjenguele, Harry Lewis GK).
YELLOW CARD: Fraser (51), Robson (73), Ralston (82)
REFEREE: Bobby Madden
WEATHER: 9C Cloudy
NEXT MATCH: SPFL Premiership Play Off (away) v Dundee United, Friday 4th May 2018, kick off 7.45pm kick off at Tannadice.
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Dunfermline 0-0 Dundee United
Tue, 1st May 2018
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Tue, 1st May 2018
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Tue, 1st May 2018
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Preview Dundee UnitedTuesday, 1st May 2018
SPFL Premiership Play Off: Tuesday 1st May 2018, kick off 7.45pm at East End Park
Having secured fourth place and a play off slot on Saturday the Pars are immediately pitched into the first Premiership Play Off against Csaba László`s Dundee United on Tuesday.
It is fourth v third for the honour of taking on second place Livingston. This of course will be the fifth meeting between the sides this season and so far Dunfermline have yet to come out on top. Following United wins in September and December the results improved with draws in January and March. Added confidence comes with the widely held opinion that the Fifers should have won at a Tannadice the last time the teams clashed.
Last season the six fixtures in Betfred and Irn Bru Cups and in four league matches resulted in five United wins and one draw. That was only part of a poor record against the Tangerines, now no wins in 13 meetings, but it has not always been so one sided. In the 137 previous league meetings Dunfermline have 48 wins and United 51 with 38 match drawn.
Milestones Dundee United (Home)
Last League Victory | 21/04/07 | 1-0 | SPL
Last League Defeat | 10/09/16 | 1-3 | Championship
Best League Victory | 11/08/45 | 7-0 | Div B*
Worst League Defeat | 29/10/11 | 1-4 | SPL
Last Goalless Draw | 06/10/87 | 0-0 | SPL
First League Meeting | 08/10/21 | 4-1 | Div 2 (old)
*Pre league reconstruction
The last dozen league games between the two sides have seen United win nine with three games ending up all square.
Last Twelve Matches v Dundee United
Date | H/A | F-A | WDL | Competition
24/03/18 | A | 1-1 | D | Championship
13/01/18 | H | 0-0 | D | Championship
02/12/17 | A | 1-2 | L | Championship
30/09/17 | H | 1-3 | L | Championship
11/04/17 | A | 0-1 | L | Championship
28/01/17 | H | 1-1 | D | Championship
12/11/16 | H | 0-1 | L | Irn Bru Cup
08/11/16 | A | 0-1 | L | Championship
10/09/16 | A | 0-2 | L | Championship
31/08/16 | A | 0-3 | L | League Cup
22/09/15 | A | 1-3 | L | League Cup
31/03/12 | A | 0-3 | L | SPL
Last time at East End Park
Saturday 13th January 2018
Dunfermline 0 Dundee United 0
The last time that United were the visitors at East End it was third v second and the teams played out an entertaining goalless draw. Declan McManus came closest to scoring, hitting the post in time added on at the end. The draw extended United unbeaten run against the Pars to twelve matches and Dunfermline remained seven points behind their opponents and 15 behind league leaders St Mirren.
DUNFERMLINE: Lee Robinson: Ryan Williamson, Callum Morris (c), Jean Yves M`Voto, Jason Talbot: Michael Paton (Kallum Higginbotham 88), Nat Wedderburn, Dean Shiels, Joe Cardle (Fraser Aird 69): Nicky Clark (Andy Ryan 88), Declan McManus.
SUBS NOT USED: Lewis Martin, Brandon Luke, Cammy Gill (GK)
DUNDEE UNITED: Harry Lewis: Willo Flood (c), Tam Scobbie, Mark Durnan, Jamie Robson: Billy King, Sam Stanton (Paul Quinn 75), Craig Slater, Paul McMullan, Scott McDonald, Emil Lyng.
SUBS NOT USED: Matt Smith, Logan Chalmers, Scott Allardyce, Cameron Ballantyne, Louis Appere, Deniz Mehmey (GK).
Form last six matches
Dunfermline are unbeaten in their last ten matches. Dundee United have won four and lost two of their last six matches. The two defeats were at Dumfries and Dumbarton and in 2018 their only league wins on the road have been at Dumfries and Brechin.
Dumbarton (H) W 4-0
Inverness Caley Thistle (A) D 2-2
Brechin City (H) W 4-0
Falkirk (A) W 2-1
Livingston (H) W 1-0
Queen of the South (H) W 3-1
Livingston (H) W 2-0
Queen of the South (A) L 0-3
Brechin City (A) W 5-0
Falkirk (H) W 1-0
St Mirren (H) W 1-0
Dumbarton (A) L 2-3
League Position: 4th
League Points: 59
League Record: P36 W16 D11 L9 GF60 GA35
Goal Difference: +25
Last Six League Match Form: LWWWLW
League Position: 3rd
League Points: 61
League Record: P36 W18 D7 L11 GF52 GA42
Goal Difference: +10
Last Six League Match Form: WLLLLL
Last time out
DUNFERMLINE: (v Dumbarton) Lee Robinson: Ryan Williamson, Callum Morris (c), Lee Ashcroft (Jason Talbot HT), Lewis Martin: Kallum Higginbotham (Joe Cardle 61), James Vincent, James Craigen, Fraser Aird: Andy Ryan, Nicky Clark (Declan McManus 67).
SUBS NOT USED: Dan Armstrong, Nat Wedderburn, Dean Shiels, Cammy Gill (GK)
DUNDEE UNITED (v Livingston): Deniz Dogan Mehmet: Anthony Ralston, Bilel Mohsni, Stewart Murdoch, Scott Fraser (Thomas Mikkelsen 73), Billy King, Sam Stanton, Craig Slater (Matt Smith 84), Grant Gillespie (Jordie Briels 88), Scott McDonald.
SUBS NOT USED: Harry Lewis, Tam Scobbie, William Edjenguele, Declan Glass.
This is a two leg play off with the return at Tannadice on Friday 4th May, kick off 7.45pm at Tannadice.
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