Ladbrokes Championship: Dundee United 1 Dunfermline 3: 04/08/18
After a fantastic second half comeback Dunfermline Athletic registered their first win over Dundee United in all competitions at this their sixteenth attempt.
Dunfermline travelled to Tannadice for this league season opener hoping for their first league victory there for seven years. Having won four matches out of four Allan Johnston’s side were full of confidence going into the match while United had drawn two at home, lost away to Ross County and won at Elgin.
Lee Robinson was back in goal and otherwise it was the same Pars starting eleven as faced Stirling Albion. With Ryan Williamson and Kallum Higginbotham both serving suspensions and Lewis Martin injured, there were four teenagers on the visitors’ bench.
Dundee United’s Csaba László made three changes from the starting eleven at Elgin, former Par Fraser Aird and Matthew Smith dropped to the bench making way for Yannick Loemba and Craig Curran, while 28 year old Slovakian Matej Rakovan came in between the posts for Benjamin Siegrist.
Two United players started who played the Pars in the last play off game in May while Dunfermline fielded four. It was the Fifers who kicked off with the travelling support in the stand behind them. It was a wary beginnng from both sides and Lee Ashcroft did well to halt the progress of Loemba on the edge of the box after the big no.90 raced towards the Dunfermline goal in sixth minute.
Jackson Longridge’s throw in on the left was taken short to Myles Hippolyte and he forced a ninth minute corner. James Craigen delivered from the left and somewhat predictably Nicky Clark headed clear.
William Edjenguele was shown the first yellow card of the match when he cut down Faissal El Bakhtaoui midway inside the United half but when Craigen sent the ball on the defence cleared. Another free kick two minutes later from about the same distance out but on the left side this time was directed towards Danny Devine but the offside flag was raised.
United’s first effort came from Clark but there was insufficient on the shot to concern Robinson who held with ease. Hippolyte required treatment from physio in 16th minute after going down in front of the United goal but despite limping off he was able to run back on two minutes later.
The teams were cancelling each other out with United favouring long balls. In 28 minutes J Longridge put in a great ball from the left that Frederic Frans slid into to concede a corner on the left. Craigen centred, the ball was defended out for Joe Thomson to try a shot but we was well right of target.
On the half hour Christoph Rabitsch chopped down El Bakhtaoui earning the 22 year old Austrian a yellow, Faiss one for retaliation and Dunfermline the free kick that United duly defended.
Back at the other end an Edjenguele header was deflected for a 33rd minute corner on left but when that was taken short Ashcroft was able to steal the ball away from Loemba. Then in 41 minutes Rabitsch caught Louis Longridge and the Fifers had an opportunity from a free kick 30 yards out but when Hippolyte fires the setpiece narrowly wide right.
United were to go ahead after a scramble in front of the Pars goal. The ball was headed around and broke towards the Pars several players got a touch and the unfortunate Craigen could not stop the ball crossing the line. Nicky CLARK peeled away to the left celebrating poking home the 44th minute goal. 1-0
The text books would say not the best time to lose a goal and very disappointing since it could be argued it was against the run of play and the stats showed 57% Pars first half possession.
Half time: Dundee United 1 Dunfermline 0
Fraser Aird replaced Christoph Rabitsch for the restart and it looked like the Pars might well have been told to test the keeper more in the second half. In the first minute Rakovan needed all his height to reach back to turn Hipolyte’s 50 yard effort round his right hand post.
A corner followed but United defended that. Craigen gathered on the right but his effort was wayward. J Longridge pumped a high ball into the box that El Bakhtaoui challenged for but Rakovan held.
In 52 minutes Aird got the chance from a header but straight into Robinson’s hands. Next Aird produced a fine ball in from the right that Loemba got his head to but not enough to find the net.
Hippolyte was then unlucky from a 54th minute header from a Craigen corner, just sending his chance over the crossbar. Another Pars corner was headed clear but the pressure was clearly on the Tannadice side. Hippolyte latched on to a long Louis Longridge ball to get deep down the left and his well executed cross just eluded Thomson and El Bakhtaoui.
Then in 59 minutes Dunfermline got a well deserved equaliser. El Bakhtaoui controlled the ball on the right side of the box and he fed the ball back for THOMSON on the edge of the box and possibly with the aid of a deflection, his low drive beat the keeper low to his left. 1-1
A second Dunfermline goal came midway through the half and it was a second goal in Dundee for Jackson LONGRIDGE. The full back’s diving header was the finish required after Craigen’s thrown in reached Thomson and his snapshot was stopped but sat up nicely for the goalscorer. 1-2
The travelling support were enjoying this and a degree of panic crept into the home side’s play. They brought on Matthew Smith for Craig Curran before a 79th free kick played in by Craigen was headed on target by Hippolyte but Rakovan held.
It was 81st minute when Robinson had to make a serious save. Aird fed Clark on the right side and the keeper blocked the angled shot from 12 yards out. The resultant corner threatened the Dunfermline goal Stanton got a good strike in from outside the box but Frans’ header deflected the ball wide left.
Paul McMullan was introduced for Jamie Robson in 84 minutes and in his absence a Craigen throw in on the left was accepted by Louis LONGRIDGE. He beat a couple of men as he travelled left and from the edge of the box sent a good left footed finish into the bottom right. 1-3
There was to be late drama after AIRD netted from a 89th minute free kick 28 yards out. 2-3
The Pars saw the game out however to register their first win at Tannadice since 2011, celebrated famously by the 1347 very happy travelling support.
DUNDEE UNITED: Matej Rakovan: Frederic Frans, Jamie Robson (Paul McMullan 84), Sam Wardrop, William Edjenguele, Adam Barton, Sam Stanton (c), Christoph Rabitsch (Fraser Aird HT), Yannick Loemba, Craig Curran (Matthew Smith 72), Nicky Clark
SUBS NOT USED: Declan Glass, Paul Watson, Benjamin Siegrist (GK)
SCORERS: Clark (44), Aird (89)
YELLOW CARD: Edjenguele (12), Rabitsch (30)
DUNFERMLINE: Lee Robinson: Lee Ashcroft (c), Mark Durnan, Danny Devine (Andy Ryan 90): James Craigen, Joe Thomson, James Vincent, Louis Longridge, Jackson Longridge: Faissal El Bakhtaoui, Myles Hippolyte.
SUBS NOT USED: Aidan Connolly, Matthew Todd, Paul Allan, Callum Smith, Brandon Luke, Cammy Gill (GK)
SCORERS: Thomson (59), J Longridge (67), L Longridge (84)
YELLOW CARD: El Bakhtaoui (30), Vincent (73), Thomson (80)
REFEREE: Willie Collum
WEATHER: Overcast 21C
NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship (home) v Ross County, Saturday 11th August 2018, 3.00pm kick off at East End Park
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