Ladbrokes Championship: Dundee Utd 2 Dunfermline 0: 26/10/19

Two goals from moments of slackness separated the teams and an element of bad luck in front of goal separated the teams. The second half was all Dunfermline but by then United were in charge and they saw the 90 minutes out to open a three point gap at the top of the Championship.

The first match of the second quarter of the season started with Dunfermline Athletic travelling to Tannadice. Dundee United returned home after two defeats in away games, hoping to pick up their impressive home form.

For the home side their manager Robbie Neilson made three changes bringing in Jamie Robson, Peter Pawlett and Nicky Clark. Missing from the United side that lost 4-0 at Palmerston were Paul Watson, Louie Appere and Sam Stanton.

Stevie Crawford made one change for this match against the league leaders, Andy Ryan coming in for Kevin Nisbet. Sunshine bathed the far side fans as Greg Kiltie got the match got underway with United attacking the goal in front of the empty Shed Stand.

There was a reassuring start from the Fifers taking the game to their opponents and might have been a bigger threat had there been more height on two early free kicks delivered in from the right side by Josh Edwards.

Despite the early optimism the Pars were to lose a ninth minute goal from virtually the first United attack. Clark switched the ball cleverly on receiving a throw in on the left across field for Liam Smith. He exchanged passes with Paul McMullan before delivering a dangerous cross that Cammy Gill punched away. Clark gathered the ball on the left to return it for Lawrence SHANKLAND to turn in his 14th league goal at the near post. 1-0

There was a chance to level immediately when a Paul Paton free kick was headed on target by Ryan but touched over by Ben Siegrist. Smith was yellow carded for his 16th minute tackle that left Edwards hobbling but when Turner aimed the setpiece at Lee Ashcroft in an attacking position that was intercepted by the United defence.

A foul on Harry Cochrane allowed Turner another attempt to find Ashcroft from a setpiece. This time the offside flag thwarted the offensive. Then in 25 minutes Ryan Dow created a great chance getting in behind the defence and squaring for Ryan but his effort was blocked and dropped for Turner who scooped his opportunity over the crossbar from 15 yards out.

Dunfermline then paid for not taking the chance by conceding another goal in 27 minute. Ian Harkes was brought down 20 yards out level with the corner of the box on the right hand side and a free kick was given despite Paton and Turner’s protestations. CLARK stepped up and smacked the ball with pace into the right side of Gill’s goal for his first goal of the season and his third, one on each of his three games against the Pars at Tannadice. 2-0

Kiltie sent over a cross from the left in 33 minutes, Ryan flicked on but United defended the ball. Paton then gathered on the edge of the box but his netbound shot was blocked by Troy Brown.

Five minutes later a strong Dow run forced a corner on the right but when Turner sent the ball in Ryan was closed down as he shot right footed from ten yards out and the ball ended up in the second tier of the stand. Another tight offside decision went against the visitors as Dow, Kiltie and Comrie tried some intricate passes deep down the right.

Three minutes from the interval Ashcroft made a good block on a Smith ball in towards the near post and in added time at the end of the first half Lewis Martin injured himself in preventing a Shankland attempt just eight yards out.

United had looked the sharper throughout the first half and possibly presented with the same degree of chances as Dunfermline showed how to finish.

Half time: Dundee United 2 Dunfermline 0

Martin did not come out for the second half and Danny Devine came on in his place. The sub was deployed early intercepting a McMullan cross before in 48 minutes Calum Butcher drove a powerful shot over the Pars crossbar from 25 yards out.

Next Ryan tried an effort from as far out but lacked strength and was easily held by Siegrist. The Dunfermline captain Paton injected some urgency interchanging with Dow but his cross from the right side of the penalty box was taken out by the home defence. Ryan swung over a cross from the left but Dow headed that wide right.

Ashcroft was shown a 56th minute yellow card for going straight through Shankland before Siegrist made a great save to deny Dow. He was off his line swiftly as Edwards played a delightful ball into the right side of the United box.

The Pars were looking lively and enjoyed a period of play in their opponents half but in front of his own goal, Devine had to be alert to steal the ball away from Clark as the ball was played in from the left.

Kevin Nisbet was introduced for Harry Cochrane in 61 minutes and Ashcroft tried to break the duck with a speculative strike from 35 yards out. Kiltie fired a right footed shot on target from just outside the box but that got blocked. When a Ryan cross was sent behind for a corner on the left, the corner was defended out to Paton who in turn fed Devine lying wide right and Nisbet got the chance at the far post but he drove the ball into the ground and up over the bar.

In 74th minute Ryan hit the bar after a fine move up the left where he picked out Nisbet and was handy to receive the return on the edge of the box. Four minutes later it was a Kiltie cross from the left headed back across goal by Dow that was taken by Siegrist.

The home side seemed happy just to contain their opponents and as the clock ran down it was still only Dunfermline that made efforts to alter the score line. Turner’s 86th minute free kick was headed back out of the United box before the former Stranraer player was subbed for Gabby McGill.

It was all Dunfermline until the end of the four added minutes but it was United’s points. The 569 strong travelling support had to retreat down the A90 having witnessed Dundee United yet again better of their side. One win in the last 23 meetings, maybe the sooner the Tangerines are out of this league the better!

DUNDEE UNITED: Benjamin Siegrist: Liam Smith, Troy Brown, Mark Reynolds, Jamie Robson: Paul McMullan, Callum Butcher (Cammy Smith 90+2) Ian Harkes, Peter Pawlett (Louis Appere 69): Nicky Clark (Adam King 79), Lawrence Shankland
SUBS NOT USED: Paul Watson, Sam Stanton, Adrian Sporle, Deniz Mehmet (GK).
SCORERS: Shankland (9), Clark (27)
YELLOW CARD: Smith (16)

DUNFERMLINE: Gill: Aaron Comrie, Lee Ashcroft, Lewis Martin (Danny Devine HT), Josh Edwards: Ryan Dow, Paul Paton (c), Harry Cochrane (Kevin Nisbet 61), Kyle Turner (Gabby McGill 87): Greg Kiltie, Andy Ryan.
SUBS NOT USED: Tom Beadling, Josh Coley, Stuart Morrison, Ryan Scully (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Ashcroft (56)

REFEREE: Steven Reid

NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship: (home) v Arbroath, Tuesday 29th October 2019 7.45pm kick off at East End Park

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