Dundee 2
Airdrieonians (2002) 3
League (First Division)

2 - 3
Airdrie (2002) 

League (First Division)
Monday, December 26th, 2005
Dens Park
Attendance: 4,378
3:00 PM Kick-off

Craig O'Reilly (22)
Bobby Mann (45)
Brian Prunty (58)
Brian Prunty (88)
Brian Prunty (89)

Team Managers
Alan Kernaghan
Sandy Stewart

Starting Eleven
1. Kelvin Jack
2. Barry Smith
3. Bobby Mann
4. Callum MacDonald
5. Paul Dixon
6. Garry Brady
7. Scott Robertson
8. Kevin McDonald
9. Steven Robb
10. Steven Craig
11. Craig O'Reilly
Stephen Robertson .1
Steven McKenna .2
Paul Lovering .3
Neil McGowan .4
Alan McManus .5
David Dunn .6
Stephen McDougall .7
Stephen McKeown .8
Brian Prunty .9
Martin Hardie .10
Willie McLaren .11

12. Scott Murray
14. Mark Allison
15. Bryan Deasley
16. Tam McManus
17. Robert Hendry
Lee Hollis .12
Fraser Coyle .14
Kevin Barkey .15
Brian McPhee .16
Graeme Holmes .17

Bryan Deasley for Steven Craig (64)
Tam McManus for Steven Robb (76)
Holmes for David Dunn (46)
McPhee for Martin Hardie (78)
Barkey for Willie McLaren (90)

Bobby Mann (11)
Garry Brady (14)
Steven Craig (73)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Kevin Toner (Referee)
Craig Marshall & Stuart Logan (Assistants)

Match Report

Their best first half performance of the season was followed by an abysmal second half defensive display as Dundee gifted Airdrie three Boxing Day points. It looked though that the Dark Blues were going to get away with that display as they entered the last couple of minutes, but some catastrophic defending earned the Diamonds a result that their cavalier post interval performance just about deserved.

With flu victims lain Anderson and Simon Lynch not recovering in time there was a return to the starting line up for Garry Brady and a first top team start for Craig O'Reilly, the youth team striker had netted twice in the four goal drubbing of league leaders St Mirren and he would be an early hero here as Dundee surged ahead. O'Reilly looked lively early on and fired in a drive from the edge of the box which needed a desperate defensive block to deny the 19 year old, but he was only rebuffed briefly as he scored his third goal in two Dens appearances midway through the half. Garry Brady fed Kevin McDonald and the youngster jinked and turned before laying the ball into the path of O'Reilly who swept a shot through the legs of Alan McManus and into the bottom right corner of the net with keeper Stephen Robertson stranded.

Airdrie tried to hit back and the Dee were grateful to see Lovering fire over from a good position before Barry Smith made a great challenge to nick the ball off Prunty's toes with the former Caley Thistle striker poised to pull the trigger.

Dundee were still looking by far the more likely though and Craig did well to get on the end of Robb's cross but couldn't keep his header down under pressure from McGowan. They came close when Paul Dixon's cross found Callum Macdonald and his curling header appeared to deceive Robertson who had to reposition

swiftly to tip the defender's effort over the bar. Moments before half time it appeared that Dundee were on easy street, McManus was penalised for scything down O'Reilly just a couple of yards outside the penalty area and Dixon and Bobby Mann lined up to fire in the free kick. Dixon made the decoy run before Mann fired the ball low past the wall and into the same corner of the net that O'Reilly had found earlier.

Dens was a happy place at half time, the previous 315 minutes football had seen them score seven and concede none, there was a strong impression that if results elsewhere went their way then it was game on in the promotion race, the next forty five would dash those daydreams.

Right from the kick off of the second half it was evident that Airdrie were going 'gung-ho' in a bid to salvage something from a match they must have thought lost.

They got the boost of a relatively early goal to provide hope, Prunty firing home after McDougal had squared a Lovering cross into his path, and they pushed forward in droves as Dundee sat back and invited them on.

Prunty nearly added to his tally as he raced onto a through ball from Holmes and clipped the ball past Jack but narrowly wide.

Alan Kernaghan handed a debut to 17-year old striker Bryan Deasley in 64 minutes, the youngster replacing youth team strike partner O'Reilly, and he made a further change in 76 minutes when Steven Robb, struggling with an arm knock, was replaced by Tam McManus. The substitutes instantly combined with Tam McManus playing in Deasley, but it was the experience of another McManus, Alan, which told as he clipped the ball off Deasley's toes as he tried to finish the move.

In fact it was a substitution for the visitors that would determine the outcome of this match. Moments after that chance Martin Hardie left the action, to be replaced by a player who has become Dundee's bogey-man this season, Brian McPhee.

It took the fireman only three minutes to come close to setting this match alight, picking up a ball in the centre circle he surged forward and lashed in a 35 yard shot which clipped the top of the bar with Jack beaten.

Dundee were hanging on desperately, but with the winning post in sight surely they would hang onto a valuable three points after that let off. McPhee and Brian Prunty had other ideas, and with just two minutes left, the determination of the former and finishing of the latter would prove vital. Dundee had twice lost possession in the build up to the equaliser, but it was a fantastic challenge from McPhee which saw him beat. the desperate lunge of Dixon and cross for Prunty to sweep home.

Just a minute later the away support had gone from agony to ecstasy as Prunty's miss-hit shot came off Dixon's hand and wrong-footed Jack for the winner. That goal may have sparked wild celebrations in one section of the main stand, but across the park it told a more telling story - The South Enclosure looked like a giant had swept the crowd away with a swipe of his hand, so quickly did it empty.

It was a fairy tale ending for Airdrie but the scoreline made 'Grimm' reading for the Dark Blues.

Match report written by Dundee Matchday Programme

Squad Statistics (as at December 26th, 2005)

2005-06 All Time
Kelvin Jack (GK) - 15 - 17 -
Barry Smith31 23 - 4114
Bobby Mann31 233553
Paul Dixon19 17 - 17 -
Callum MacDonald22 13 - 551
Kevin McDonald17 111111
Steven Robb23 17 - 814
Garry Brady29 20 - 1252
Scott Robertson20 221321
Steven Craig24 8383
Craig O'Reilly18 6363
Tam McManus (sub)24 204348
Bryan Deasley (sub)17 1 - 1 -

League Table (as at December 26th, 2005)

No league table has been added for this season.

Manager's Programme Notes

First of all can I say that I hope you had a good Christmas and arrive at Dens today refreshed and ready to get behind the team for what will be a very difficult task against an Airdrie side who have performed very well against us in the previous meetings between the clubs this season.

Hopefully we'll give you something to cheer as we did in our last match against league leaders St Mirren, on a day when the team finally took their training ground performances out onto the big stage.

It was a good performance from the team and things fell for us, which was nice. Saying that Kelvin made some good saves and they had chances at the end, I'm sure Gus (McPherson) was a bit disappointed with their finishing. It was our day though and obviously were very pleased to say the least.

I think we had more chances in that match than we've had in all the games since I came here put together, which was great. Thankfully they fell for us and the young boys have done me proud really. Gordon Wallace must be delighted with those kids, Kevin McDonald was fantastic, Scott Robertson and he in the midfield really won us the game, and big Craig O'Reilly and Andy Ferguson came on and notched their goals.

I said to both of them when they were coming on 'Make sure you go and get a goal, have it in your mind before you go on' and thankfully that happened. O'Reilly has been doing really well for the youths, we're sort of overloaded with strikers a little bit, there's Lynch, McManus, Craig, the pair who came on today and young Deasley's in the wings waiting to get a chance. The future looks good in that department but they have to keep their feet on the ground and work hard to improve further.

Along with young (Scott) Gates the young lads who starred against St Mirren have been the stick outs of a very good youth team and I think it's my job to give them a chance when they deserve it. Both of them (McDonald and O'Reilly) did very well in that last home match and I'm delighted not only for myself but for Gordon Wallace, he's put an awful lot of work into bringing them to this stage.

Kevin and Scott have been together in the middle of midfield in the last. few weeks and I think they've given us great energy and are competitive. That was evident in the St Mirren game, Scott Robertson was tackling left, right and centre, winning headers and the two of them complimented each other very well. They don't get overawed, big Kevin at seventeen would go and play like that if it was a full international, that's just how he goes about the game, it's just his style.

Having a chance of promotion hasn't materially changed with that result, it's still a long way off and we'll need that not to be a one off. Not so much the score-line but the three points is something that we need to do a lot more consistently than we have done.

Sadly we didn't get the chance to build on that performance when our match at Dumfries was called off last weekend. In fairness to QOS, they had done all they could to get the game on and, when there was a doubt, they called the SFA to arrange an early pitch inspection. The surface was passed by a local referee, but lan McCall was on the phone right away to us to say he had doubts and did not think it would be playable, so there was not any more he could have done. They had put covers down in the goals and centre circle, but the area in the middle was hard and, when I saw the pitch, I felt the referee made the right decision when he put it off at 1 pm. It's unfortunate that some of you had travelled by then, but that was out of our hands and was not down to QOS either.

That game being off makes it doubly important that we concentrate and play as we can from the kick off today, it's our first chance to take advantage of the confidence boost gained from that performance against St Mirren and we need to go on a run from this point onwards.

Thanks for coming along today to back the team, whether you are a regular at Dens or an exile who is home for the festive season your support is appreciated and hopefully we can reward it.