Dundee 3
Ayr United 0
League (Division One)

3 - 0
Ayr Utd 

League (Division One)
Saturday, April 3rd, 2010
Dens Park
Attendance: 4,270
3:00 PM Kick-off

Colin McMenamin (10)
Sean Higgins (22)
Colin McMenamin (61)

Team Managers
Gordon Chisholm
Brian Reid

Starting Eleven
1. Tony Bullock
2. Ryan O'Leary
3. Craig McKeown
4. Jim Laughlan
5. Richie Hart
6. Andrew Shinnie
7. Brian Kerr
8. Gary Harkins
9. Eddie Malone
10. Sean Higgins
11. Colin McMenamin
Craig Samson .1
Andy Aitken .2
Martyn Campbell .3
Ryan McGowan .4
Dean Keenan .5
Danny Lafferty .6
Chris Mitchell .7
Steve Bowey .8
Rocky Viscont .9
Tam McManus .10
Mark Roberts .11

12. Derek Soutar
14. Ben Hutchinson
15. Colin Cameron
16. Bob Malcolm
17. Craig Forsyth
Stephen Grindlay .12
Kenneth Connolly .14
William Easton .15
Billy Gibson .16
Aaron Connolly .17

Colin Cameron for Gary Harkins (49)
Ben Hutchinson for Sean Higgins (81)
William Easton for Rocky Viscont (46)
Billy Gibson for Martyn Campbell (64)
Aaron Connolly for Dean Keenan (71)

None. Steve Bowey (39)
Dean Keenan (66)
Tam McManus (72)
Chris Mitchell (85)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Scott MacDonald (Referee)
Gary Sweeney & David McKenzie (Assistants)

Match Report

For the first time in several weeks the Dundee fans left the ground smiling after a comfortable 3-0 win over Ayr. Not even the news of Caley Thistle's late winner could dull the positive mood amongst fans who've had plenty to moan about recently. This was probably Dundee's most convincing league win of the season. For once the Dee took charge of the match from the start, scored early and dominated throughout.

Although Gordon Chisholm had promised big changes after the wretched performance at Dunfermline, only two players who played in the second half on Tuesday dropped out. Colin McMenamin came in for the suspended Leigh Griffiths, and Jim Lauchlan replaced Maros Klimpl, but in a three man central defence as Dundee went for a 3-5-2 formation. Richie Hart and Eddie Malone played as wing backs, with Shinnie, Kerr and Harkins making up the midfield. The five man midfield worked a treat, giving Dundee complete control of the game.

Only a few Ayr fans had ignored the boycott, so the attendance of 4,270 was very healthy considering the disappointment many Dee supporters felt after the recent slump. Gordon Chisholm had said that the players needed to get the supporters on their side, and they did so right from the start.

Colin McMenamin's opener after 9 minutes followed a sustained spell of good play and was no surprise. Jim Lauchlan brought the ball out of defence and fed Shinnie, who pinged a neat pass into the path of McMenamin who'd made a great run off the shoulder of his marker. Colin kept his composure, holding off the defender as he ran into the area, and clipped the ball neatly past Samson for a beautifully worked, and taken, goal. Dundee kept moving the ball around neatly, creating space with intelligent running, and pulling the visiting defence all over the park. Gary Harkins was back on form at the heart of most Dundee attacks, and Andrew Shinnie was showing great skill and awareness as he continually beat men and made clever runs into space.

After 21 minutes Shinnie was downed 25 yards out, in line with Samson's left hand post. Sean Higgins curled the free kick beautifully over the wall and into the top corner, with Samson helpless. As soon as the ball cleared the defensive wall the fans in the Bobby Cox Stand could see it was going in!

Gary Harkins was unlucky not to kill the game off before half time. Either side of Higgins' goal he hit good shots too close to the keeper, and came within a whisker of a sensational third when he dribbled through a crowd of defenders and shot against the bar from 15 yards.

If Dundee had been four goals ahead at half time it wouldn't have flattered then. Gary Harkins limped off soon after the start of the second half, with Colin Cameron coming on. The change didn't disrupt Dundee and the steady flow of attacks continued.

The inevitable third goal arrived on the hour. Richie Hart's long throw was headed on by Craig McKeown at the near post and McMenamin glanced a backwards header in off the far post.

For the first time this season Dundee cruised to the final whistle in a home league game. The players didn't settle for three and kept pressing for a fourth, but in spite of some excellent play it never arrived. Ayr must have been relieved not to concede any more on a day when they could do little right and could have received a hiding. Dundee's control of the match was epitomised by Jim Lauchlan taking time off from his defensive duties to delight the crowd with a spot of show-boating down the left wing. Did I really see him do a stepover?

Dundee didn't miss Leigh Griffiths at all today. Higgins and McMenamin were a highly effective partnership, and their movement and running opened space for the midfielders to attack. Shinnie had a marvellous game, and was rewarded with some rough treatment from the visitors. Gary Harkins was much more like his usual self, and Brian Kerr not only bossed the midfield but found time to break forward too. Colin Cameron slotted well into the midfield when he came on, and helped keep the ball moving forward.

The wing backs, Hart and Malone, had to put in a hard shift racing up and down the pitch, but provided the width that Dundee have been lacking, without getting caught out in defence.

The three centre backs were solid throughout, and their distribution was noticeably better than it has been. Tony Bullock's goal was never under serious threat, and the keeper had a straightforward game collecting crosses and dealing with passbacks. Bullock's main contribution was his quick throws out. Twice in the first half he started excellent breaks with accurate long throws.

All too often this season Dundee's wins have been tense, narrow victories which we've barely deserved, when we've grabbed the points thanks to something special from Harkins or Griffiths. This win was all the more enjoyable for being a great team performance. The team had a good shape; the players were making eager, intelligent runs and passing well. The result was plenty of space, and a stream of good balls into the box.

Caley Thistle are still favourites, but if Dundee can maintain the standard they set today then the run in might still be very interesting!

Match report written by James Christie - Official Dundee website

Squad Statistics (as at April 3rd, 2010)

2009-10 All Time
Tony Bullock (GK)38 23 - 23 -
Eddie Malone24 4131075
Jim Laughlan33 30 - 47 -
Craig McKeown25 6 - 28 -
Ryan O'Leary22 3 - 3 -
Gary Harkins25 40164016
Richie Hart32 29 - 29 -
Brian Kerr28 391391
Andrew Shinnie20 10 - 311
Sean Higgins25 276276
Colin McMenamin29 3597923
Colin Cameron (sub)37 16 - 25 -
Ben Hutchinson (sub)22 8282

League Table (as at April 3rd, 2010)

No league table has been added for this season.

Manager's Programme Notes

Today we welcome Ayr United to Dens Park. Brian Reid's team are having a good run and I expect them to come out fighting for their place in the First Division.

For the first time in a few months we are second in the league and four points behind the leaders Inverness. It's not good to have fallen four points behind but you just can't throw in the towel. The players are playing for promotion still, and are playing for their futures.

I would ask you to get behind the team in the same way as you have in my first two games with the Club. Hopefully we can all contribute to the goal of securing three points today.

Enjoy the game!