SPL v Dundee United
DUNDEE UNITED 1 DUNFERMLINE 0 Date: 06/05/01
Since being jilted by the top six the Pars are yet to win. We will have to get delving into history to find out when we last went four games without a point.
The trip to Tannadice is not one that usually bears fruit for us; we have yet to record a Premier League victory there and our last win at Tannadice was five years ago when victory heralded Dunfermline`s promotion.
Today was the worst possible time to play them with United fighting for their Premier League status. They were a team that you would have counted out in November but their revival following the last Fifers visit there coupled with St Mirren`s slide has given United the belief that they can stay up. The fixture with the Pars had enormous importance to them as they started equal on points with the Paisley club.
Youssef Rossi arrived back from his World Cup qualifier in time to be included in the starting line up. No Andrius Skerla out through suspension and no Steve Hampshire, Scott Thomson or Gary Mason.
Dunfermline started playing 3-4-3 with Stewart Petrie joining Crawford and Bullen up front. The first half saw numerous United attempts on target. After 5 minutes Thompson headed a cross at Marco. Four minutes later Lilley shot at the keeper before the Pars first chance from a free kick 25 yards out awarded when Griffin dumped Chris McGroarty. Ian Fferguson blasted the shot well wide to the right of target.
After 13 minutes a Barry Nicholson free kick was too close to Gallacher to bother United. Lee Bullen headed over a good cross carved out by Dair and Nicholson. McGroarty had a shot just to left of the crossbar and Dunfermline looked to have weathered the United storm when the clouds darkened.
A Partridge cross from the left seemed nothing out of the ordinary but Thompson`s glancing header had Marco flapping at the far post and the ball ended up in the net.
Five minutes later De Vos and then Thompson brought saves out of Ruitenbeek, the second off his feet. Charlie Miller had a 20 yard shot saved and then his free kick was deflected behind for a corner.
On the half hour another free kick almost paid dividends for United when Griffin fired at the spot at the end of the Pars wall that had been vacated by his own player. The shot just went to the outside of Marco`s left post.
Andy Tod had a sequence of long throws into the home penalty box but the closest we came was when McGroarty ran into the penalty box from the left. There were loud appeals for a penalty when the 20-year-old was taken down.
Five minutes from half time a Lilley cross was headed wide by Easton when he really should have scored. Miller shot at Ruitenbeek and he held it at the second attempt. An Easton cross was headed at the Pars keeper by Thompson and the goalscorer had yet another effort that went straight to the keeper before the half ended.
A 49th minute free kick on the top of the D because Youssef had taken down Lilley was struck wide by Charlie Miller. Justin Skinner almost gifted a goal with an underestimation on a pass back. Next Marco made a diving save for Lilley before performing the heroics of the day in stopping Thompson as he burst through unchallenged.
Rossi and then Skinner came off as Doesburg and Matthaei came on. Toddy had a solo run on the hour and his shot was saved by Gallacher. After lots of Dunfermline passes that gained little Petrie crossed for Bullen. Lee was closed down by the home defence before he got in a decent shot.
Mendes then came on for Bully. Toddy`s long throws continued to cause problems and then with 15 minutes left Rob Matthaei sneaked the ball off a United defender and sent a great ball into Junior`s path. He must have been reading the headlines of Monday`s Paisley Daily Express as he homed in on goal.
Unfortunately the ex Saint failed to score as Gallacher came out to block.
Charlie Miller had a chance to kill the match when with six minutes left he took a Jamie Buchan throw in out right and travelled along the Pars 18 yard line before shooting. Winters just failed to turn the shot passed Marco.
Michel Doesburg had a double block with five minutes left as he stopped shots from Winters and then Miller. Griffin then hit the crossbar with Marco beaten.
United finished nervously and almost paid dearly as a Tod pass to Junior on the edge of the box was teed up for Barry Nicholson but the effort was wide and the bad away form continued.
Andy Tod was my MOM but Ian Ferguson also gave 110%. Still no room for David Moss despite him being joint top goalscorer. "Bridget" Calderwood`s diary has recently become full of excuses; lack of motivation, too many players off form, bad passing - you name it. It seems that no matter who Dunfermline date it is they who get the love match and the other team that scores.
DUNFERMLINE: 3-4-3; Ruitenbeek; Tod, Skinner (Matthaei 59), Rossi (Doesburg 56); Dair, Nicholson, Ferguson, McGroarty; Bullen (Mendes 66), Crawford, Petrie.
Subs not used: Thomson (GK), Fotheringham.
Yellow Cards: none
Strip: Black and White with white shorts and socks
DUNDEE UNITED: 4-4-2: Gallacher, McCunnie (Buchan 77), De Vos, Lauchlan, Partridge: Easton, Griffin, Miller, Hannah: Lilley (Hamilton 67), Thompson (Winters 80).
Subs not used: Combe, Venetis.
Scorer: Thompson (21)
Yellow Card: Easton (45)
Referee: W Young
Weather: Warm and Sunny
Ladbrokes Championship: Saturday 18th March, Dunfermline v Ayr United kick off 3.00pm