Ladbrokes Championship: Dunfermline 0 Dundee Utd 2: 24/08/19

Dundee United were the opposition for the second home league match of the Championship season. The league leaders faced a Dunfermline side riding high on their Celtic Park performance the previous Saturday.

Stevie Crawford made two changes to his side, Andy Ryan and Josh Coley starting with Kyle Turner and Josh Edwards returning to the bench. With Euan Murray expected to be out for eight weeks as a result of his fall at Palmerston Park, Stuart Morrison continued in the centre of defence alongside Lee Ashcroft.

The visitor’s manager Robbie Neilson made one change to his side from that victorious over Partick Thistle, Ian Harkes coming in for the injured Mark Connolly. It was United who kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end. Kevin Nisbet created the first opening in just the second minute chipping the ball over one defender and beating another on the right side of the United box but his cross was blocked.

To a chorus of boos former Par Paul McMullan won a sixth minute corner on the right but when Sam Stanton sent that in he was too strong and no danger came of it. Three minutes later Ryan’s free kick from 25 yards out was all too easily cleared.

Then on ten minutes Lawrence SHANKLAND shot United into the lead was he slotted the ball under Ryan Scully from the right side. 0-1

The travelling support were singing the praises of their goalscorer as he almost quickly got in for another. Ashcroft got back for a last ditch tackle to deny the shot.

United kept up the pressure and forced a 16th minute corner which was cleared only as far as McMullan but his low shot was blocked by Lewis Martin. Another corner from the right was booted clear two minutes later but Dundee United were enjoying lots of possession and the home team just couldn’t get going.

Ashcroft sent Ryan off down the right bit his 20th minute cross was deflected back to his keeper by Harkes. There were attempts by the Pars to keep play in the opposition half but they were up against a very alert team that broke with pace and appears to get all the loose balls. Another United corner was wasted but when McMullan sped up the right he was able to deliver a cross into the six yard where SHANKLAND headed downwards and past Scully 0-2.

More choruses of “We’ve got Lawrence Shankland” rang out from the tangerine supporters and certainly no one needed to tell the Dunfermline defence about that. There was another United goal five minutes later when McMullan against caused problems for Martin and his ball into the near post was turned behind by Ashcroft who had Shankland breathing down his neck.

It had been all United but after Jamie Robson pinged the ball through the Pars box, Coley linked up with Nisbet and then picked out Ryan on the far left of the box but the visitors defence stopped his progress.

As a result of Ben Siegrist palming a Paul Paton free kick behind, Dow was able to send over a the first Pars corner two minutes from the break but Ashcroft’s header went over the bar.

Half time: Dunfermline 0 Dundee United 2

Kyle Turner replaced Josh Coley for the second half and he made an immediate impact sending Aaron Comrie up the right wing from where his cross was defended out to the edge of the box for Turner to bring the first real save of the match out of Siegrist, all within the first minute.

Nicky Clark received a dink back from Shankland but the former Pars striker crashed his low drive wide right from the edge of the box. Amidst cries for handball Tom Beadling has a shot blocked and Nisbet followed up but sent his attempt wide left.

The East End faithful rallied after more pressure on the United goal saw Martin’s 55th minute cross engage Turner and Dow before Beadling got in a shot that lacked the power to beat the keeper. Just three minutes later Paton swept a free kick into the box from 30 yards out on the right side but Ashcroft’s header sent the ball over the bar.

United were not totally out of it and Clark tried a shot from 20 yards that was blocked by the defence. That was his last involvement though as Peter Pawlett replaced him on the hour. McMullan has a headed effort that was deflected behind for a corner on the right and from that Calum Butcher drove a low shot that Scully dropped on to one knee to hold.

Ryan persevered on the right and got over a cross that Martin drove on target from the edge of the box but United blocked it. Then midway through the second half the newly introduced Pawlett missed a gilt edged opportunity to increase the lead. Unbelievably he failed to convert Shankland’s pass to him right in front of goal, the ball ending up wide right but he was later to claim that Scully`s slight touch had led to the ball hitting his heel.

Lewis McCann came on for Andy Ryan and within two minutes he forced Liam Smith into conceding a free kick that earned him the first card of the match. Siegrist could not hold Paton’s delivery and a corner followed on the right. Morrison’s header was deflected behind and from the next Ashcroft headed off target.

The Taysiders were awarded a 76th minute penalty when Smith’s cross hit Turner on the hand on the right corner of the Pars box. Turner was shown a yellow card for his protests and Shankland lined up to seal his hat trick but Scully had other ideas, diving correctly to his right to save.

Dunfermline almost made them pay heavily when with the next chance McCann slipped the ball in towards the left upright and Siegrist held Nisbet’s attempt. Back at the other end Smith drilled an 83rd minute cross in from the right, Scully blocked and Shankland headed the follow up over the crossbar.

Time was against the Pars and Dow had a good chance three minutes from time but Siegrist’s shut out was sealed as the shot was deflected behind. So Dundee United were to retain their top of the league position, maintain their 100% league record and extend their undefeated record at East End Park where they last lost in 2007.

DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully: Aaron Comrie, Lee Ashcroft, Stuart Morrison, Lewis Martin: Paul Paton (c), Ryan Dow, Tom Beadling (Matthew Todd, 78), Josh Coley (Kyle Turner HT): Andy Ryan (Lewis McCann 68), Kevin Nisbet.
SUBS NOT USED: Josh Edwards, Gabby McGill, Danny Devine, Cammy Gill (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Turner (76)

DUNDEE UNITED: Benjamin Siegrist: Jamie Robson, Liam Smith, Mark Reynolds, Ian Harkes, Calum Butcher, Paul McMullan, Sam Stanton (Adam King 82), Nicky Clark (Peter Pawlett 60), Louis Appere, Lawrence Shankland (Osman Sow 90+2).
SUBS NOT USED: Paul Watson, Cammy Smith, Adrian Sporle, Deniz Mehmet
SCORERS: Shankland (10, 30)
YELLOW CARD: Smith (70), Stanton (80), Butcher (87)

REFEREE: Euan Anderson
WEATHER: Sunny 22C

NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship, (away) v Arbroath, Saturday 31st August 2019 , kick off 3.00pm at Gayfield Park
50/50 Winning Number: 504607