Dundee 0
Gretna 1
League (First Division)

0 - 1

League (First Division)
Sunday, March 11th, 2007
Dens Park
Attendance: 3,928
3:00 PM Kick-off

None. David Graham (22)

Team Managers
Alex Rae
David Irons

Starting Eleven
1. Ludovic Roy
2. Jay Shields
3. Gary Mackenzie
4. Gary Smith
5. Paul Dixon
6. Kevin McDonald
7. Scott Robertson
8. Paul McHale
9. Gavin Swankie
10. Kevin Smith
11. Robert Davidson
Zbigniew Malkowski .1
Craig Barr .2
Martin Canning .3
Chris Innes .4
Danny Grainger .5
Ryan McGuffie .6
Gavin Skelton .7
Allan Jenkins .8
David Nicholls .9
David Graham .10
James Grady .11

12. Alex Rae
14. Danny Griffin
15. Khalid Hamdaoui
16. Craig Higgins
17. Ross Harris
Greg Fleming .12
Ryan Baldacchino .14
Steven Hogg .16
Matthew Berkeley .17
Neil MacFarlane .18

Alex Rae for Scott Robertson (52)
Khalid Hamdaoui for Gary Smith (70)
Ross Harris for Gary Smith (86)
Matthew Berkeley for David Graham (79)
Neil MacFarlane for Gavin Skelton (90)

None. Danny Grainger (44)
Chris Innes (47)
David Nicholls (77)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

John Underhill (Referee)
Alastair Mather & Steven Duff (Assistants)

Match Report

In a scrappy game, during which neither team looked convincing, Gretna extended their lead over Dundee to fourteen points, and moved within two wins of making sure that they will finish above the Dark Blues this season. In the end it was a mix-up between Ludovic Roy and Gary Mackenzie which allowed the visitors to slot home for all three points.

Both teams struggled to come to terms with the weather conditions as the ball dotted about the park. Kevin McDonald won a free-kick on the edge of the box after being felled by Craig Bart. Paul Dixon stepped up to take the opportunity to put the home side ahead but his shot fell short of the target. Gavin Swankie's low cross was then latched onto by Bob Davidson, but his shot under-pressure slid just wide of the left post.

Dundee attempted to step up the pressure, with Kevin Smith winning a comer off defender Craig Barr after Gavin Swankie's cross had found Scott Robertson in space.

Gretna created their first real chance of the game in the 13th minute. Allan Jenkin's attacking pass found David Nicholl's in space, but his shot was deflected wide for a corner. From the resultant corner Kevin Smith broke with the ball, but was challenged from behind by Allan Jenkins as the move broke down.

Having got off the mark against Livingston last week, Bob Davidson was looking to add to that tally as he was presented with the best chance to open the scoring for the home team. On-loan Hibs keeper Zibby Malkowski was in form as he tipped Davidson's shot wide after a neat ball by Scott Robertson. Another on-loan signing, Kevin Smith from Sunderland ran through on polish keeper Malkowski. His shot from the edge of the area was pulled wide for a goal kick.

Scott Robertson was turning provider for almost every Dundee chance, and that continued as he set up Gavin Swankie for a chip over the keeper. Unfortunately for the home support his shot had a little too much behind it as it edged over the bat.

The tables were turned in the 21st minute as Gretna took the lead. A mix-up, which can only be described as a lack of communication, between Ludo and Gary Mackenzie saw the ball break for James Grady. His short pass found David Graham who shat low into the net past Gary Mackenzie, who was unable to track back. to goal quickly enough.

From then onwards it was an evenly matched game as Dundee searched for the equaliser, while Gretna looked to consolidate their win with a second goal.

In the 28th minute, Bob Davidson was hacked down by Chris Innes 25 yards form goal. Gavin Swankie's free-kick was punched by Malkowski, and then held as Paul McHale looked to open his Dundee goal-scoring account. McHale was again in the thick of the action as his through ball searched for Bob Davidson, but both Davidson and Malkowski failed to reach the ball inte as it trickled out for a goal kick.

The first half ended with Dundee being presented with the perfect chance for the opener as Bob Davidson was hauled down in the penalty box. Having scored last week's spot kick, Davidson grabbed the ball from Gavin Swankie and set himself up for the shot. It was not to be his day however as Malkowski saved his shot at the right post.

The second half started much the same as the first half had ended: both teams struggling to get a spell of the ball to be able to create the chance which would either drag themselves back into proceedings, or to put the game beyond the opposition.

Gavin Swankie again proved himself a worthy opponent for any opposition, with Chris Innes bringing down the winger on the edge of the penalty box, winning himself a yellow card in the process. Swankie picked himself up to take the free-kick but the ball strayed wide of the mark.

In the 50th minute Scott Robertson went down in the Gretna penalty box with what appeared to be a knock to the head. After receiving treatment he made his way off the park, with Alex Rae taking his place in the centre of the midfield. Just before Alex Rae could come on however, Jay Shields almost drew the game level. Gavin Swankie's cross into the box evaded everyone, but lay picked the ball up on the right wing. His shot from the edge of the box was cleverly tipped over by Malkowski once again.

In the 55th minute Bob Davidson again had the chance to net the opener for the home team. As he ran through towards goal, the stand-side linesman flagged late for offside, leaving the team searching once more.

Alex Rae became involved in the action in the 58th minute as he tried to set up Paul McHale for a shot. Kevin Smith fell to the ground under a challenge from Danny Grainger, but he was still able to get the pass in to Rae, his chip over the defence however was too much and the ball was again cleared of any danger for the team from the Borders.

Dundee were almost handed a bitter blow for all their efforts as Gretna hit the woodwork David Graham found Ryan McGuffie's through ball, but as he was about to strike Jay Shields popped up with a challenge to clear the ball. Unfortunately his clearance found James Grady, whose shot from 20 yards struck the woodwork as Ludo rushed across his goal.

Dundee began to get the ball down and pass to feet in the last quarter of the game, with Davidson skipping past two defenders before laying the ball off to Alex Rae, He let the ball run wide to Paul Dixon, with his shot from 25 yards falling straight into the awaiting arms of Malkowski

Gretna were not to be undone however, and they created an opportunity that could have seen any of four players score. From a Dundee corner, Gretna broke with the ball, with Dundee facing a four-on-one situation. Alex Rae raced back from the Bobby Cox end to steal the ball from Allan Jenkins, and clear any immediate danger.

In the 72nd minute Jay Shields was hauled down which looked to be a foul, but nevertheless play carried on, with Kevin McDonald winning the ball. His pass to McHale was then crossed into the box by the ex-Clyde man, with Davidson's diving header sneaking again just wide of the goal.

Former Dundee-striker James Grady was presented with an excellent opportunity to score against his old club. He raced through one-on-one with Ludovic Roy, but the Dundee keeper was equal to his efforts, with the French keeper saving with his knees.

In the 73rd minute almost every Dundee supporter was left feeling as though it wasn't their day as Kevin McDonald missed what can only be described as a "sitter". McDonald ran onto Rae's pass and was clear inside the box, but with only the Polish keeper to beat, he sliced his shot inches wide of the left-hand post with the best chance of the second hall.

With ten minutes to go, Gretna threw on Matthew Berkeley in place of David Nicholls, with his first taste of the action coming in the shape of a shot goalwards. Berkeley cut inside Kevin McDonald before shooting straight at Ludo who gathered the ball in what was an easy save.

Gretna were again presented with the opportunity of being one-on-one with the home keeper, with Allan Jenkins this time the sinner as he wasted the chance to finally put the game beyond Dundee.

Bob Davidson was given one last chance to score but he found the in-form Malkowski who tipped his shot over the bar.

In the last minute James Grady shot straight at Roy after being gifted a great opportunity after Jay Shields had lost the ball while attempting a clearance.

Match report written by Dundee Matchday Programme

Squad Statistics (as at March 11th, 2007)

2006-07 All Time
Ludovic Roy (GK)29 26 - 26 -
Gary Mackenzie21 19 - 19 -
Gary Smith36 161161
Paul Dixon20 31 - 702
Jay Shields21 15 - 15 -
Paul McHale25 8 - 8 -
Kevin McDonald18 282615
Scott Robertson21 322854
Robert Davidson20 8282
Kevin Smith19 7 - 7 -
Gavin Swankie23 309339
Alex Rae (sub)37 243243
Ross Harris (sub)22 211211
Khalid Hamdaoui (sub) - 4141

League Table (as at March 11th, 2007)

No league table has been added for this season.

Manager's Programme Notes

After two disappointing defeats to Clyde and Hamilton, we got back on the rails last week with an excellent win over Livingston.

No matter that it was three weeks ago, I still can't believe how we came to lose so heavily to Clyde, when the game was over at half-time by which time we found ourselves trailing by four goals. Although it has to be noted that Joe Miller's side did the same to Partick Thistle last week.

That afternoon, we simply went from bad to worse. I could probably have handled it a bit better had we been carved open, but every goal was a bad goal and we were very, very poor.

Knowing the game was over by the break, we told the players they had to show pride for themselves and the fans.

To a degree, we did achieve that, pulling a goal back and creating a few chances.

After that I was looking for a response at Hamilton, but though I couldn't fault the effort of the players, we lost a sloppy goal and did not threaten enough.

The problem is that there seems to be no middle ground with us, we either play well and win or are poor and lose.

What we need to develop is the ability to grind out results when things are not going to plan because that is an ability all successful teams have.

If you've got it, you pick up points from the kind of games we are losing right now and even win the odd one that's the difference between being where we are now and being right up at the top of the table.

We are a young side and we are developing, but that is something we have to look to add to our game as soon as we can.

Therefore, it was great to get back to winning ways at Livingston after those two defeats, especially as we had to come from behind.

Even when we were a goal down, we showed great character and we did well with Gavin Swankie and Kevin McDonald raiding down the flanks.

It was also great to see Bob Davidson get his two goals that should do his confidence the world of good.

Even before Derek Lyle went off injured after only half- hour, I felt Bob and he were linking up well. However, after Derek went off, Bob came into his own.

He played as the main target man and his goals speak for themselves.

I'm very pleased for him because he has worked very hard in training and in games.

I have told him, and the rest of the forward players, to try to make the jersey their own.

He should now be looking to keep his place and make it harder for me to pick my team. He is a great lad, who takes advice on board and is a great listener.

Also, he is still young and was a key part of what was a really youthful side on Saturday.

Although we hadn't scored, we did create chances in the first half and I was confident something would come if we continued to do that.

And that's what happened and in the end thoroughly deserved the three points.

Unfortunately, Derek Lyle's injury means that he is only 50/50 to face Gretna this afternoon, but we are hoping the extra day will help.

He's been a great signing for us, scoring 13 goals so far this season. But more than that, he's a good type to have around the place.

Fortunately, Bob Davidson is scoring goals now, and if Derek doesn't recover in time it'll give Kevin Smith the chance to try and forge a partnership with him.

This afternoon, we face leaders Gretna with Davie Irons in charge after manager Rowan Alexander's leave of absence by the club to recover from illness.

What's happened down there may actually spur them on, especially after suffering two consecutive defeats.

However, from our point of view we simply must look after our own business and try and build on last week's good result and performance at Livingston.