Ladbrokes Championship: Dunfermline 0 Dundee United 0: 13/01/18

It was third v second as Dundee United returned to East End Park. With Dunfermline seeking their first home win in the league over United since April 2007, manager Allan Johnston was forced into a change due to illness to Lee Ashcroft but there was an able replacement waiting on the opportunity to return in club captain Callum Morris. With only six named on the bench for the second week running Brandon Luke returned from his on loan spell at Annan Athletic.

United made three changes from the side that was demolished at Falkirk the previous Saturday. Emil Lyng, Mark Durban and Paul McMullan started as Brandon Mason, James Keatings and Paul Quinn dropped out.

The visitors kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end but it was the Fifers who threatened from the start Declan McManus racing away to release a shot after just 25 seconds that he hit into the stand from 25 yards.

United`s early efforts to go forward and create opportunities were firmly halted by Jean-Yves M`Voto. The seventh minute run by Sam Stanton was direct but so too was the big Frenchman`s intervention.

McManus had a headed effort that cleared the bar with the offside flag up and then he powered to shot on target only to meet Durnan`s head. United`s first shot on target came in 13 minutes, McMullan launching a low shot that went straight into Lee Robinson`s hands at the near post.
Nicky Clark was closed down by Will Flood as he got on a 15th minute effort after a one two off McManus but his aim was wide left.

United were awarded a 18th minute free kick after Morris checked Emil Lynn but McMullan stroked a low ball into the Pars box and totally wanted the opportunity. At the other end Michael Paton did not do much better with a free kick from the right but at least a return from the right created unease in visitors` defence with keeper Harry Lewis coming for and not getting a cross as Tam Scobbie headed away rather dangerously.

Ryan Williamson eas yellow carded for his 28th minute challenge on Billy King but Craig Slater dispatched the 30 yard out free kick wide left. The pressure returned as Lyng worked his way into the Pars box but M`Voto recovered and a corner was all the joy United got. They then wasted that before the home fans hopes were raised as Paton and then Cardle took play to the other end but the final pass left to McManus was not completed.

Ten minutes from the break King won a free kick as he tried to get past Paton deep down the left but when the ball was played in from the setpiece, it was overhit and Robinson was able to slide out to take.

In 36 minute the Pars were back in the opposition box but the defence held out. Two minutes later McManus forced Lyng to concede a corner on the right. One followed the other but both crosses were intercepted before they could reach M`Voto.

It continued from end to end with plenty to keep the crowd animated. Talbot`s cross was returned by a Paton and Cardle brought the ball down as he ran in but his shot was blocked. 52% first half possession in favour of the Tannadice club but It had been an entertaining first half despite the lack of goals.

Half time: Dunfermline 0 Dundee United 0

First chance of the second half fell to Stanton after three minutes. McMullan got in his cross from the right and although the ball was directed away from Lyng, United got the chance to shoot from 30 yards out but well wide.

Next a surging run by King took play right back to the top of the Dunfermline box, McMullan was picked out again. His cross was blocked but rebounded to Flood who drove the ball across the face of goal.

Keeper Lewis then created a stir by coming for a ball 15 yards out and having it nicked away from him by Clark. The striker gathered before the ball could go behind on the left but his cross evaded Paton`s attempt to be on the end of it.

Slater forced a United corner on the right but Morris dived in to head away. Back to the other end and in 58 minutes Paton lofted the ball over from close to the right corner flag, Lewis came but failed to get a touch and Cardle drove his effort into the defenders.

Next minute there was a great chance for the Pars to break the deadlock. Lewis made a mess of a clearance passing the ball directly to McManus who played Paton in on the right side of the box and his connection just cleared the crossbar. McManus then had another chance as he raced in on the keeper but this time Lewis redeemed himself and kept the Pars out with his defence sweeping up the loose ball.

A 64th minute throw in deep down the right came back for Williamson to do a tricky turn that led to Wedderburn getting the opportunity to thrash the ball at goal but narrowly over the top.

Fraser Aird replaced Joe Cardle five minutes later and it was the subs cross that Morris was up to challenge but he could not get his header on target.

In 72 minutes King slipped McMullan the ball on the right side of the box but Robinson blocked the shot. United kept the pressure up with a bit of ping pong in the box following a Talbot miskick and then a shot that was deflected behind. Next chance was made by Flood getting to the byeline and crossing for Lyng but his header was powered over the bar from ten yards out.

Eight minutes from the end Clark played the ball out to Paton on the right and McManus met the cross forcing a good save to turn the ball over his bar. The corner did nothing other than earn M`Voto a yellow card.

With both sides seeking a winner no one was leaving early. Flood had his cross blocked and then in 86 M`Voto skied Robson`s ball in from the left dangerously over his own bar. A 87th minute corner was hooked away by Morris before a double substitution in 88th minute.

Kallum Higginbotham and Andy Ryan went on as Michael Paton came off and despite a spirited final push by Allan Johnston`s side with McManus hitting the outside of the left upright in the sixth minute of added time, it was to end up all square.

The draw extended United unbeaten run against the Pars to twelve matches and Dunfermline remained seven points behind their opponents and 15 now behind league leaders St Mirren.
DUNFERMLINE: Lee Robinson: Ryan Williamson, Callum Morris (c), Jean Yves M`Voto, Jason Talbot: Michael Paton (Kallum Higginbotham 88), Nat Wedderburn, Dean Shiels, Joe Cardle (Fraser Aird 69): Nicky Clark (Andy Ryan 88), Declan McManus.
SUBS NOT USED: Lewis Martin, Brandon Luke, Cammy Gill (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Williamson (28), Cardle (53), Wedderburn (61), M`Voto (83)

DUNDEE UNITED: Harry Lewis: Willo Flood (c), Tam Scobbie, Mark Durnan, Jamie Robson: Billy King, Sam Stanton (Paul Quinn 75), Craig Slater, Paul McMullan, Scott McDonald, Emil Lyng.
SUBS NOT USED: Matt Smith, Logan Chalmers, Scott Allardyce, Cameron Ballantyne, Louis Appere, Deniz Mehmey (GK).
YELLOW CARD: Slater (78), King (88)

REFEREE: Bobby Madden
WEATHER: Cloudy 6 C

NEXT MATCH: William Hill Scottish Cup (home) v Morton, Saturday 20th January 2018, kick off 3.00pm

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