SPL v Dundee United


Attendance: 6527, Kick Off: 3.00pm.

Referee: Stevie O`Reilly

Dunfermline made a successful return to Tannadice to take all three points in their first league meeting there since January 2007. Jim McIntyre made one change from the starting eleven that turned out at McDiarmid Park; David Graham coming in for John Potter. The only changes Andy Barrowman and Liam Buchanan replacing Paddy Boyle and Steven McDougall. Andy Dowie would line up beside Alex Keddie in the central defence.

For the hosts Keith Watson and Scott Allan dropped out of the team that had little to take home from Celtic Park the previous week. Barry Douglas and Gavin Gunning taking their places.

The teams changed ends before Willo Flood and Johnny Russell got the game underway. Paul Gallacher would be facing the sun that disappeared temporarily while awaiting referee Stevie O`Reilly`s whistle. United started the match the brighter with Gallacher getting a few early touches.

Russell and Flood caused the Pars defence a bit of a problem before Dunfermline could really get going. Martin Hardie was caught offside in six minutes when Andy Dowie`s free kick was pumped into the United penalty box, while at the other end Flood smashed a shot from 27 yards but straight at Gallacher. Another two offside decisions ended the Pars threat and the match went through a period where neither team created anything in the way chances.

In 14 minutes the best move of the game so far got the Pars down the left. Hardie`s neat interchange with Austin McCann led to Paul Burns reaching the byeline and a corner ensued. That came to nothing but very quickly there was another opportunity for Joe Cardle to send over a free kick from down by left corner flag. Alex Keddie met the delivery with a good header on target but it was cleared on the line.

The Fifers looked much better with Cardle creating the openings. On 20 minutes Joe took the ball from Mason and pushed the ball wide left for Kirk to cross but Dusan Pernis took the cross without being put under any pressure. At the midway point in the first half Thomson sent over a dangerous ball that Hardie headed over the bar from eight yards.

United woke up with a good delivery into the box that Thomson stole off Johnny Russell to deny a good goalscoring opportunity. Next a John Rankin cross from the left was met by the head of Jon Daly but the United captain`s effort drifted wide of Gallacher`s right hand post.

On the half hour a throw in on the left let United penetrate the Pars defence with Rankin cutting the ball back for Daly and the ball was turned behind for a corner on the left.  When Flood sent that over Gallacher punched it away from under his crossbar but Scott Robertson then got the chance to shoot from 20 yards. Gallacher pulled off a fantastic save, later to be described by United Manager Peter Houston as "world class",  turning the ball on to his right post to keep United out and the ensuing scramble on the edge of the six yard box was cleared by the defence.

A Thomson cross in 35 minutes was fisted away by Pernis as Kirk challenged and then McCann had to clean up conceding a corner as Keddie failed to take a high ball over. On 43 minutes Sean Dillon sent in a good ball from the right and Rankin came perilously close with a glancing header. Before the break Keddie cut out a dangerous cross from the left and Gallacher was forced to punch away another Flood corner.

Dunfermline had contained United well, Gallacher certainly kept them in the game with his tremendous save on the half hour but they had created moves of their own that might have come good. What they need to do is to stop United getting in as many crosses from the full backs, Dillon and Nixon.

Half Time: Dundee United 0 Dunfermline 0

The first chance of the second half dropped for Russell in 48 minutes, 12 yards out he controlled a cross from the right but then sent his shot wildly high and wide. At the other end Graham worked the ball on to his left foot to deliver from the right but no one could take the header opportunity as the ball continued out at the far post.

A Jason Thomson break in 53 minutes was punctuated by an early cross.  Cardle won the ball on the left but his final ball went straight into the hands of Pernis. Thomson headed away from in front of Daly as Dillon contiuned to get in crosses.  The corner could not be controlled and another followed.  The defence survived but looked a bit shakey.

The Tangerines began looking the more likely with Barry Douglas and Scott Robertson getting more to boss. Andy Kirk was withdrawn in 57 minutes with Andy Barrowman coming on.  Dundee United then failed in a goalmouth stramash when Daly and Rankin might have hit the target but eventually Rankin sent the ball forceably wide of the right post.

On 61 minutes Cardle sent in a ball for Barrowman`s first chance but the keeper got a touch meaning Burns controlled but it was Thomson who shot but lobbed it straight to Pernis. Four minutes later a Flood corner directed to the far post was contested by Garry Kenneth but blown up for his challenge on the keeper.

As the game entered its final quarter Hardie took a free kick from 30 yards but thundered the ball just outside the left goalpost. Scott Robertson was yellow carded for his tackle on Hardie and then Russell came close when he met a Paul Dixon ball into the penalty box.  Corners came thick and fast for United but the defence survived again.

Gunning`s tackle on Barrowman earned the Pars a free kick on the right.  Cardle pumped the ball to the far post but Hardie was penalised for his attempts to get in front of Dillon. United`s sub Danny Swanson sent a shot wide right before a Cardle run ended with a delivery that Mason flicked on for Hardie in front of goal but he was closed down by Nixon and the ball went high.

McCann stopped Swanson on the right to concede a free kick, and another United corner resulted from that but again the Pars kept it out. Then in 85 minutes a quickly taken throw in by Ozzie McCann sent Cardle to the byeline from where his cross found Paul BURNS 19 yards out and he drilled the ball through the well populated penalty box to beat Pernis at his right hand post. 1-0.

As the minutes ran down Graham and Barrowman fought for possession and openings and there was anxious finish as United forced a late corner. Dunfermline saw out the two added minutes to record a good win and take the three points back down the M90. Another shut out with Gallacher a hero again but a great first goal for Burns for a result that took the Pars into third place in the SPL.

DUNDEE UNITED: Dusan Pernis; Sean Dillon, Garry Kenneth, Gavin Gunning, Paul Dixon; Willo Flood, Scott Robertson, Barry Douglas (Danny Swanson 64), John Rankin; Johnny Russell (Ryan Dow 80), Jon Daly.
SUBS: Steven Banks, Scott Allan, Keith Watson, Stuart Armstrong, Dale Hilson.
YELLOW CARD: Robertson (70)

DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher, Jason Thomson, Andy Dowie, Alex Keddie, Austin McCann (c); David Graham, Paul Burns, Gary Mason, Martin Hardie, Joe Cardle; Andy Kirk (Andy Barrowman 57)
SUBS: Chris Smith (GK), Ryan Thomson, Paul Willis, John Potter, Liam Buchanan, Kerr Young.
YELLOW CARD: Hardie (77)
SCORER: Burns (85)

WEATHER: Sunny 19ÂșC

NEXT MATCH: (away) Scottish Communities Cup v East Fife
Tuesday 23rd August 2011, kick off 7.45pm.

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