Dundee 2
Dunfermline Athletic 2
League (Premier League)

2 - 2

League (Premier League)
Wednesday, February 13th, 2002
Dens Park
Attendance: 6,043
7:45 PM Kick-off

Gavin Rae (2)
Fabian Caballero (6)
Scott Thomson (pen.) (47)
Barry Nicholson (90)

Team Managers
Ivano Bonetti
Jimmy Calderwood

Starting Eleven
12. Julian Speroni
30. Massimo Beghetto
17. Walter Del Rio
2. Barry Smith
31. Fan Zhiyi
18. Javier Artero
6. Temur Ketsbaia
8. Gavin Rae
32. Kiko Torres
7. Fabian Caballero
15. Steven Milne
Scott Thomson .20
Andrius Skerla .5
Christopher McGroarty .16
Gus MacPherson .18
Scott Thomson .6
Gary Mason .15
David Nicholls .19
Barry Nicholson .7
Ian Ferguson .8
Seyni N'Diaye .10
Stevie Crawford .9

1. Jamie Langfield
24. David Mackay
14. Beto Garrido
11. Mark Robertson
28. Khaled Kemas
Ross Harrower .30
Lee Bullen .21
Jason Dair .3
Mike Panopoulos .24
Colin Nish .26

Mark Robertson for Steven Milne (84)
Lee Bullen for Gus MacPherson (59)
Jason Dair for Seyni N'Diaye (65)
Michael Panopoulos for Ian Ferguson (78)

Julian Speroni (74)

Red Cards
None. Stevie Crawford (74)
Match Officials

Willie Young (Referee)
Allen Thurston & Ricky Mooney (Assistants)
Cammy Melville (Fourth Official)

Match Report

Ttoubled Fabian Caballero rediscovered some form and his scoring touch last night.

But that wasn't enough to secure for Dundee the result they needed to blast their way into top six contention.

Four days after being substituted just 32 minutes into the 1-0 win over St Johnstone-with a breathing complaint which will eventually require corrective surgery being blamed for his latest flop-the Argentinian was a surprise inclusion in the Dark Blues starting line-up.

And it took him only six minutes to end a goal drought stretching all the way back to October 30.

That counter, which capped Caballero's best display in months, put Dundee comfortably in command, as Gavin Rae had fired them in front two minutes earlier.

But they were forced on to the back foot in the second-half as determined Dunfermline took charge.

Scott Thomson levelled from the penalty spot two minutes after the break and although the Pars had Stevie Crawford ordered off 16 minutes from time they went on to equalise in the 90th minute through Barry Nicholson.

Cheered from the park at the interval, Dundee were booed off of it at full-time and you could understand the disappointment of the fans.

Going into that final minute the Dark Blues were looking at moving above last night's opponents and within two points of sixth top Hearts.

Instead, Dunfermline remain seventh and the point they ended up with could only move Dundee above Motherwell into fourth bottom spot.

"I feel very sorry for the supporters because it cannot have been pleasant for them seeing us play so well in the first-half but end up only with a draw," said assistant manager Dario Bonetti.

"We have missed a great opportunity tonight-but it was an old story from us.

"We could have had more goals in the first half and closed the game but as has happened to us on several occasions, both this season and last, a very good display was ruined by individual mistakes."

The axing of Youseff Rossi following his horror show in the 5-0 weekend defeat by Celtic and the drafting in of David Nicholls to a three-man defence was designed to bring much needed stability to the Pars rearguard.

But hardly had the game settled into any sort of pattern than Dunfermline were two down, although they had grounds for complaint over Dundee's opener.

Senegalese front man Seyni N'Diaye appeared to be shoved just inside the Dark Blues half by Massimo Beghetto.

But referee Willie Young- whose appointment had been criticised by Dario Bonetti on the grounds he rarely did Dundee any favours-waved away claims for a free-kick as the ball broke to Walter del Rio.

The Argentinian defender swiftly released Steven Milne with a terrific 50 yard through pass and Steven Milne, surrounded by three defender, hooked the ball across the face of the box for the in-rushing Rae to volley past Scott Thomson.

N'Diaye was booked for over-doing the protesting before the ball was centred-but the Pars had only themselves to blame for the second goal.

Seconds after Ian Ferguson had taken the ball off of Temuri Ketsbaia with a clattering challenge, the determined Ketsbaia regained possession and fed Caballero who, with the Dunfermline rearguard standing off of him, jinked one way then the other to create space before poking the ball into the keeper's bottom left hand corner.

The Pars were fortunate to escape further punishment as Ketsbaia put Milne through only for the youngster to slice wide, and following good work down the right, between Caballero and Milne, Caballero flashed an angled shot across Thomson-but narrowly the wrong side of the far post.

Dunfermline did, as half-time approached, at last begin to threaten. Nicholls brought a fine save out of Julian Speroni with a hooked volley and Beghetto managed to block a netbound Nicholson effort.

But Dundee should have made it three seven minutes from the break as Ketsbaia released Rae who had all the time in the world to pick his spot but ballooned the ball over Thomson's bar.

The pattern of the game changed dramatically with the second period only two minutes old when Chris McGroarty got away from Javier Artero and Rae and was needlessly tripped by Barry Smith, leaving Thomson to slot away the resulting penalty.

Dunfermline had gone from being second best to very much on the ascendancy-but with 74 minutes on the clock the com- plexion of the match looked like changing once again as Crawford and Speroni clashed as the former tried to get the ball from the keeper to allow a corner to be taken and the keeper collapsed clutching his face.

Referee Young dragged Crawford clear of the angry scenes that followed and red carded him-before, rightly, issuing Speroni with a booking for his theatrical reaction.

But the Pars refused to give up and in the 90th minute Nicholson rose unchallenged to meet a Michael Panopoulos cross from the right and direct a well placed header beyond Speroni's reach.

"We gave ourselves a mountain to climb by losing two stupid goals, although we felt hard done by over the first one, said East End Park manager Jimmy Calderwood.

"But we showed a lot of character to secure what could turn out to be an important point after dominating from the end of the first quarter onwards.'

Match report written by The Courier

Squad Statistics (as at February 13th, 2002)

2001-02 All Time
Julian Speroni (GK)22 10 - 10 -
Massimo Beghetto33 16 - 16 -
Walter Del Rio25 31 - 40 -
Barry Smith27 35 - 2561
Fan Zhiyi32 163163
Javier Artero26 18 - 674
Temur Ketsbaia33 192192
Gavin Rae24 31617318
Kiko Torres26 132132
Fabian Caballero24 3064714
Steven Milne21 314578
Mark Robertson (sub)24 19 - 24 -

League Table (as at February 13th, 2002)

No league table has been added for this season.

Manager's Programme Notes

Whilst back home in Italy last weekend getting married, I got the best wedding present that I could have hoped for when Dario phoned to tell me that we had had beaten St Johnstone. Sometimes getting three points in this league is as much about grit and determination than flair and I gather that the hard work that the players put in pleased him a lot, particularly as many of the players are tired are after the number of games which we have played recently. But he also said that he was worried about the future of the Scottish game.

The beauty of it is its pace and physical strength, but on occasions, some of the tackles can be too much. And its reputation is one of the reasons why some of the big names that we have tried to attract to Dens decided their futures lay elsewhere.

This has certainly taken its toll on us this season with the number of injuries we have suffered.

For tonight's game it is no different with both strikers who started on Saturday now big doubts.

Juan Sara had to come off after a bump on the head and didn't know where he was which means that he is almost certain to miss the visit of Dunfermline. Fabian Caballero wasn't happy about being taken off during Saturday's game against St Johnstone, but he has difficulties with his breathing. He has seen a specialist and surgery is required to one of the tubes in his nose.

There is no doubt that since returning from his injury, we have not seen the same Fabian, which is a great pity because he is such a talented player.

Having said that because we are badly hit by injuries. I might still have to use him this evening

On the plus side Massimo Beghetto should be in the squad after his injury against Partick Thistle last Wednesday.

This evening's game against Dunfermline is one of two games we have in hand and if we are to again finish in the top six, then we must take full advantage of both our outstanding games.

Winning against Dunfermline would have meant nothing without having beating St Johnstone last Saturday and again it is very important to win this one, if we are to repeat our top half finish of last season.

That remains a very realistic target despite whatever so called troubles the club may be going through according to certain sections of the media.

The fact of the matter is that we have the same number of points after the same number of games as we did last season, therefore it is a little early to start saying that our season is over.

There is still a great deal to play for, starting with the three points against Dunfermline whom we just beat to a top six place last season.