SPL v Dundee United


Attendance: 3979, Kick Off: 3:00pm.

Referee: Stevie O`Reilly

This was the meeting of tenth placed Dundee United against a Dunfermline team lying just below them in eleventh and just one point behind Peter Houston`s team. The visitors┬ made┬ two changes from the side that were knocked out of the Scottish Communities Cup by Falkirk in midweek - Garry Kenneth and Barry Douglas made way for the return of Johnny Russell and Ryan Dow.

Jim McIntyre made┬ one change to the Dunfermline side that drew in Inverness the previous Saturday - former Tangerine Craig Easton came in for Joe Cardle who needed to rest a knee injury..

Dundee United kicked off attacking the goal in front of the McCathie Stand. The Pars set themselves up with John Potter, Alex Keddie and Austin McCann forming a back three with Jason Thomson and Paddy Boyle dropping back to bolster the defence when required.

United saw more of the ball in the opening exchanges with Ryan Dow getting in the first attempt on goal in fifth minute but he was high over the bar. In seventh minute United won a free kick 27 yards out when Lauri Dalla Valle was pushed in the back.┬ Gavin Gunning powered his effort through the Dunfermline wall but Paul Gallacher pulled off a great save to turn the ball around his left hand post.

The Pars countered with Paul Burns sending Thomson into the right side of the United box. Jon Daly did enough to force the on loan Hearts player off the ball and only a corner came from this. Burns crossed the corner in from the right but Thomson`s header sent the ball over the crossbar.

The 13th minute was disastrous for the Pars as they went a goal down from a powerful Paul DIXON drive. His chance came after Willo Flood sent over a free kick from the right, Potter and Thomson tried to clear but the ball fell perfectly for the United left back about 16 yards out. 0-1.

Five minutes later it was Dixon`s low shot from about 40 yards out which broke off Potter┬ that┬ created the opportunity for the Finnish striker Lauri DALLA VALLE to clinically finish and it was 0-2.┬

Burns and Kirk combined to set up David Graham.┬ He fired the Pars first real attempt of the afternoon just wide right. Things briefly looked better for the Fifers as Graham got in a good cross from the left but the bad day got even worse when Gary Mason was shown straight red for his 26th minute challenge in the centre circle on Johnny Russell.

The ten men then struggled to get out of their own half and were fortunate to see a Flood cross than was returned by Dow despatched over the crossbar by Scott Robertson.┬ A Dixon throw in allowed Dow another crack at Gallacher`s goal and in 40th minute a Dow delivery nearly picked out Keith Watson at the far post.

United ended the half with a lengthy period of possession and showed little signs of trying anything else before the half time whistle. It was not a good 45 minutes for Dunfermline who were already down by two goals to nil when their case became well nigh impossible with the sending off of Mason.

Half Time: Dunfermline 0 Dundee United 2

David Graham and Andy Kirk kicked the second half off and it looked like the two of them were both to play upfront, with ┬ three men at the back and four in midfield.┬ In 47 minute Thomson laid off the ball for Burns to cross but the defence cut that out and then a Kirk cross from the left byeline came off the crossbar but there was no one in front of goal to cash in.

Despite their numerical disadvantage the Pars looked much more positive and Dundee United`s manager Houston decided to sub Dalla Valle to bring on Gary Mackay-Steven,┬ A Pars corner was sent through the penalty box with Thomson just failing to get on it and the follow up was pumped in again with Thomson`s header this time being easily taken by Pernis.

The goal that the Pars totally deserved came just ten minutes into the second half when Boyle got the better of Russell and the ball broke through for KIRK to smash past Pernis. 1-2.

The goal gave Dunfermline belief and the United keeper was put under pressure with the ball bouncing about in front of him. Thomson pressed and Kirk turned the ball into the sidenetting. The East End crowd were getting right behind their team and `Come on Ye Pars` was the chorus.

United kept the three man defence fully deployed and Gallacher clutched a return from a corner. Ryan Thomson, and then in 68 minutes, Steven McDougall were introduced as Jim McIntyre encouraged his ten men to fight for┬ an equaliser.┬ United┬ also subbed Ryan Dow with Scott Allan, Two United corners pinned the Pars back for a spell and the United sub terrorised the defence with a soaring run.┬ The ball was played through the six yard box and turned out for a corner on the ;left.

This 75th minute corner led to United`s third goal. The first ball was headed out but RUSSELL latched on to the┬ chance and thrashed home from six yards.┬ Three one down┬ nearly became four one when Russell crashed a shot off the crossbar and then over it.

Still the Pars didn`t give up and when sub Pat Clarke was stopped by Jon Daly as he sped in on goal there were appeals that the United captain should be sent off as well. After much deliberation between the far side linesman and Referee Stevie O`Reilly decided the card would be yellow.┬ It summed up the Pars day when Clarke`s effort broke off the wall, Graham was dispossessed┬ allowing the visitors to break quickly through Russell and it was an unmarked Gary┬ MACKAY-STEVEN who thumped the ball into the net. 1-4.

With eight minutes remaining there was no way back and even the rain came pouring down to complete the washout of a day for the Pars. United got their first SPL win at East End Park since 1997 and went back up the M90 with three points.

DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher, John Potter, Alex Keddie, Austin McCann (c); Jason Thomson, Paul Burns, Craig Easton (Ryan Thomson 58), Gary Mason, Paddy Boyle (Steven McDougall 68), David Graham; Andy Kirk (Pat Clarke 78).
SUBS NOT USED: Chris Smith (GK), Kerr Young, Paul Willis,┬ Andy Dowie.
RED CARD: Mason (26)
YELLOW CARD: Burns (65), Jason Thomson (83)
SCORER: Kirk (55)

DUNDEE UNITED: Dusan Pernis;┬ Gavin Gunning, Jon Daly, Keith Watson, Paul Dixon; Willo Flood, Scott Robertson (Stuart Armstrong 79), John Rankin,┬ Ryan Dow (Scott Allan 70); Johnny Russell, Lauri Dalla Valle (Gary Mackay-Steven 53).
SUBS NOT USED:┬ Barry Douglas, Dale Hilson, Patrick Barrett, Steve Banks.
SCORER: Dixon (13), Dalla Valle (18), Russell (75), Mackay-Steven (82)
YELLOW CARD: Daly (81)

WEATHER: Overcast, Sunny Intervals┬ 12C

NEXT MATCH: (away) SPL v Hibernian
Saturday 5th November 2011, kick off 3:00pm.

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