Dundee 2
St Johnstone 1
League (First Division)


Dundee
2 - 1
St Johnstone 

League (First Division)
Saturday, November 12th, 2005
Dens Park
Attendance: 5,383
3:00 PM Kick-off

Goalscorers
Simon Lynch (pen.) (18)
Tam McManus (73)
Bobby Mann (o.g) (1)

Team Managers
Alan Kernaghan
Owen Coyle

Starting Eleven
1. Derek Soutar
2. Stephen McNally
3. Bobby Mann
4. Callum MacDonald
5. Paul Dixon
6. Steven Craig
7. Barry Smith
8. Garry Brady
9. Steven Robb
10. Simon Lynch
11. Tam McManus
Kevin Cuthbert .1
Steven Anderson .2
Goran Stanic .3
Ryan Stevenson .4
Scott Paterson .5
Kevin Rutkiewicz .6
John Henry .7
Paul Sheridan .8
Paul Sheerin .9
Steven Milne .10
Stephen Dobbie .11

Bench
12. Scott Murray
14. Kevin McDonald
15. Scott Robertson
16. Andy Ferguson
17. Scott Gates
Mark Paston .12
Owen Coyle .13
Neil Janczyk .14
Ryan McCann .15
David Hannah .16

Substitutions
Scott Robertson for Steven Craig (65)
Andy Ferguson for Simon Lynch (88)
David Hannah for Scott Paterson (35)
Ryan McCann for John Henry (41)
Janczyk for Stephen Dobbie (68)

Cautions
Callum MacDonald (80)
Ryan Stevenson (10)
David Hannah (83)
Kevin Rutkiewicz (87)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Craig Mackay (Referee)
Ryan Milne & Alastair Mather (Assistants)



Match Report


Alan Kernaghan made only two changes from the team who had been humiliated at Airdrie, bringing in Paul Dixon at left back and restoring, fit again, Steven Craig to the line up. The striker slotted in on the right with Simon Lynch and Tam McManus given the main task of getting the goals to down St Johnstone. It was a task they were up to, though only after another nightmare start for the Dark Blues had been endured.

It took slightly longer for Dundee to go behind here than it had in the previous match at Airdrie, but only just - this time there were 100 seconds on the clock as opposed to the 13 at New Broomfield. The goal didn't make pretty viewing for former Saints defender Kernaghan, who watched in horror as Darren Sheridan's free kick was headed past his own keeper by Bobby Mann.

Worse could have followed as Dundee suffered a torrid opening 15 minutes. Former Dee Steven Milne was next to try his luck but couldn't direct a header on target a carbon copy free kick from Sheridan found him unmarked at the back post.

Stephen Dobbie then broke free of the Dens defence and slid in a shot, Soutar got down well to push he ball away, but only into the path of Milne, this time the striker hit the target but was denied by a block from Barry Smith.

Dundee were really struggling when faced by seemingly innocuous set pieces from the boot of Sheridan and Saints came even closer as he curled in another simple back post ball, Ryan Stevenson's header crashed back off the bar and into the path of Hendry, his effort was well hit but Soutar excelled in clawing it away to safety.

Then as suddenly as that early storm had come the game calmed down and Dundee began to probe at the away defence, they were level in 19 minutes in circumstances that had visiting boss Owen Coyle fuming, Simon Lynch was brought down by Kevin Cuthbert's challenge as he raced into the area and referee Craig Mackay pointed to the spot. TV evidence suggested though that although there was contact it had come after the keeper had got a hand to the ball in going down at Lynch's feet.

Afterwards Lynch would say how he saw the incident "I felt there was contact and that's the reason I went down. Every other striker in the world would have done the same thing in my position. If there's contact you go down. After that it's up to the referee's discretion. If the keeper has got a touch on the ball then it's up to the ref to make the decision. This is what makes football so exciting. Sometimes you get the decision, sometimes you don't."

At the time, though, he was just glad to get the chance to pull Dundee level and he slotted the spot kick home with some confidence.

Dundee soon should have been ahead as the visitors showed that they too have defensive weaknesses, Tam McManus raced onto a similar through ball to the one that had led to the penalty and had lots of time and space as he advanced on Cuthbert, too much time.

perhaps as he decided to take the ball round the keeper rather than slot a shot past him. Cuthbert did well to push him wide but when the striker cut the ball back for Steven Robb there seemed only one outcome a goal, Robb though swiped at the ball unconvincingly and the chance had gone.

The interval came with Dundee ruing that miss but somewhat grateful to be level, while St Johnstone had many more missed chances to regret, and also the loss of Scott Peterson who had gone down with nobody near him and was carried off on a stretcher as the break approached with what looked a bad knee problem.

A couple of those first half opportunities for the Perth men had fallen he way of Milne and he would get two more after the break.

On both occasions he managed to wriggle free of the defence and face Derek Soutar one on one, the pair had grown up together in the Dens youth side and must have faced each other hundreds of times in training. That hadn't taught 'Savo' how to beat Derek when it mattered the keeper twice getting down and smothering the chance.

Dundee needed a win and with 16 minutes remaining they got it through a combination of bravery from McManus and a rash rush from his line by Cuthbert. Gary Brady's through ball found McManus in space but he was always stretching for the header and from 16 yards out could only have harmlessly headed the ball goalwards if the keeper had stayed on his line Cuthbert though rushed out to challenge and the Dens striker's looping header found the net to give Dundee a vital lead.

Perhaps just as important, given the nerves Dundee have shown when ahead this season, was the fact that Cuthbert had injured himself when throwing his body at McManus in a vain attempt to prevent the goal. Owen Coyle had already committed his full quota of substitutes and we had the rare sight of an outfield player, Neil Janczyk, taking over between the sticks.

That, and the fact that Saints were down to ten men, pretty much ruled out any real hope of a comeback from the Perth side, and while the home fans might have hoped for more pressure to be put on Janczyk they were cheering a home win at the final whistle for the first time since Kernaghan took over as boss.

The last word goes to top scorer Lynch who praised the way his side had battled back to win the points.

"Credit to the boys for showing the spirit and determination to get back into things. We badly needed these points and hopefully this will kick-start the season, because we have needed some sort of spark to get us going, this is a massive result for us and now we have to build on it."

Match report written by Dundee Matchday Programme



Squad Statistics (as at November 12th, 2005)


2005-06 All Time
Age
Derek Soutar (GK)24 5 - 46 -
Paul Dixon18 11 - 11 -
Callum MacDonald22 7 - 491
Bobby Mann31 172492
Stephen McNally - 3 - 26 -
Barry Smith31 17 - 4054
Steven Robb23 11 - 754
Garry Brady29 14 - 1192
Tam McManus24 154298
Steven Craig24 4242
Simon Lynch23 17101710
Scott Robertson (sub)20 161261
Andy Ferguson (sub) - 121121






League Table (as at November 12th, 2005)


No league table has been added for this season.


Manager's Programme Notes


Today we're visited by my former club St Johnstone and, although I've happy memories of my time in Perth and many friends amongst those who'll be here supporting the Saints, I'm determined that they will be heading home with nothing to show for their afternoon's work. We need to start winning now, especially after our last couple of games brought disappointment.

What will stay with us after the last home match against Clyde is the last 10 minutes;I'm very disappointed about what happened during them because it shouldn't have. I couldn't believe it and maybe it was a case of players trying too hard instead of relaxing and doing the things we'd told them to. However, with regards to what went before, there was some reason for encouragement. We played reasonably well and got the extra goal threat we were looking for.

The visit to Airdrie though simply brought an unacceptable performance, I said at the time that I wasn't going to stand for it and that's still the case, we had no match last week but we've worked hard since the Airdrie match to sort out our problems.

Some of the players are more visibly determined to get things right than other and we will try to get them not to accept anything less from their team-mates. A lot of them do care-l can see that-but at the moment that is not coming out during games.

A situation like this always affects some more than others. Some are more happy-go-lucky than their mates and that is natural in a dressing room of 20 or so people. Every club is the same. Some wear their hearts on their sleeves, though, and it is these guys we need to drive us on, to push and prod and use their experience to bring the rest with them.

They are shell shocked in terms of the result but not by the criticism they have received. It is natural for fans to feel that way and most of them are basically just saying what I have been saying.

The performance at Airdrie was very poor, that was there for everyone to see.

I thought we had made a bit of progress up till then but that was similar to the display in the (Bell's) cup against Hamilton. It's annoying and frustrating.

It all comes down to bloody hard work and there are players here who have done it in the past at a so-called higher level. Apart from young lads like Kevin McDonald and Craig O'Reilly, almost everybody in the squad has Premier League experience and we need these guys to dig deep. We also need them to roll their sleeves up and show a lot more grit and determination in games than we have been in the past.

Both sides will be without at player today due to World Cup duty, Our Kelvin Jack and St Johnstone's Jason Scotland are in Trinidad where their home nation are just two games away from a place in the Finals next year. Having been involved when Ireland made it to USA 94 I know what a great experience being involved in a World Cup squad is, hopefully they will get the results they need to get to Germany.

We should have Steven Craig available to us today, and that's a big boost. He scored two goals in his first three games, including one on his debut against today's visitors and he is a big asset. Steven holds the ball up well and brings others into play and was beginning to forge a partnership with Simon Lynch before picking up an ankle injury in the win at Brechin.

I know from my time at Perth what this fixture means to St Johnstone fans, they are sure to get behind their team, can I ask you to more than match them vocally this afternoon, it's a day when we need your full support as we seek to get back on track.