1 - 2
League (First Division)
|Allan Walker (50)||
Sean Higgins (34)
Sean Higgins (54)
1. Andy McNeil
2. Mark Campbell
3. Laurie Ellis
4. Grant Murray
5. Iain Davidson
6. Willie Dyer
7. Scott McBride
8. Stephen Simmons
9. Allan Walker
10. Grégory Tadé
11. John Baird
Robert Douglas .1
Jonny Stewart .2
Craig McKeown .3
Rhys Weston .4
Matt Lockwood .5
Nicky Riley .6
Craig Robertson .7
Stephen O'Donnell .8
Craig Forsyth .9
Gary Harkins .10
Sean Higgins .11
12. David McGurn
15. Iain Williamson
16. Gary Wales
17. Graham Weir
John Gibson .12
Connor Rennie .14
Graham Webster .15
Gary Bartlett .16
Allan Tulleth .17
Iain Williamson for Stephen Simmons (76)
Gary Wales for Scott McBride (79)
Graham Weir for John Baird (87)
Iain Davidson (41)
Mark Campbell (53)
Grégory Tadé (61)
Stephen O'Donnell (28)
Craig McKeown (46)
Sean Higgins (55)
Rhys Weston (60)
Iain Brines (Referee)
There was only one team playing football, and for once it wasn't the side in dark blue. The boys in the Ajax lookalike strip came to Stark's Park and passed the hosts off the park. The score might have been the same as the previous occasion when the Dee beat Raith at Dens, but this was a completely different match.
Rovers played well in the last game, and could have won it. On this occasion they were second best all over the park and the 2-1 scoreline flattered them. In particular Dundee dominated the midfield, and that was where Craig Robertson played for the entire 90 minutes, replacing Neil McCann. What a great night for the Lochee United player and Dark Blue diehard!
Craig did nothing fancy, but looked very much at home, tidying up and playing sensible passes while the home players struggled to keep possession and make any passes at all.
The other change from the previous Saturday was Jonathan Stewart in at right back for the suspended Gary Irvine. Any fears that Dundee might be vulnerable down that flank were quickly dispelled. The young Hearts player fitted in well with the usual mean and stingy crew and Raith were restricted to optimistic long balls as they struggled to open up Dundee.
Robertson's arrival in midfield meant that Gary Harkins was playing further forward, just behind Sean Higgins. He had possibly the best match I've seen him play for Dundee. He was outstanding, and Raith never got to grips with his skill and running in the gap between their defence and midfield.
Harkins had two fine shots from distance in the first 10 minutes. Andy McNeil, Rovers keeper and their man of the match, blocked the first and saved well from Forsyth's follow up. McNeil pulled off an even better save a few minutes later from Harkins next attempt.
Dundee gradually took charge of the game, passing patiently round the midfield, then trying to release runners down the wings and into the box.
Craig Robertson set up a great chance for Sean Higgins, but the shot was too weak to trouble McNeil. Higgins did better with a turn and shot from the edge of the area that forced an excellent save from McNeil.
The goal that Dundee had been threatening eventually arrived after 34 minutes. Craig Forsyth moved infield and drove through the heart of the Rovers' midfield. It looked like he was going to pass right to Nicky Riley, but cleverly switched the ball left to let Sean Higgins run clear and slip the ball past McNeil. Sean seems to be thriving on the extra responsibility he's had to carry since Leigh Griffiths left and he looked dangerous throughout.
Not surprisingly, Raith started the second half full of determination, and were soon level.
Nicky Riley was pushed from behind as he tried to stop an attack, and the Raith player stumbled over him as he fell.
Surprisingly, referee Mr Brines awarded the free kick to Rovers, just outside the area. Allan Walker sent a beautiful curling low shot round the wall and just inside Douglas's left hand post to give Raith a barely deserved equaliser.
The home fans were jubilant, and the Dee support fell briefly silent. This was surely a huge turning point in the match. It certainly was, but not in the way we expected. Not with this Dundee side!
Dundee then went on to take complete control of the game, ripping into Raith with a series of attacks based on accurate passing and intelligent running.
In only four minutes Dundee were back in front. Gary Harkins yet again found space and ran at the defence. He sent Forsyth clear on the left. Fozzy's cross was hard and low, causing panic.
The ball struck a defender's hand in the six yard box. As the Dundee supporters screamed for a penalty Sean Higgins didn't hesitate and flicked the loose ball into the net.
Rovers were struggling to contain Dundee and were very fortunate to keep 11 men on the park. Shortly after Davidson was booked for a foul on O'Donnell he ended a great run from Riley with a crude tackle from behind just before the Dee winger reached the penalty area. Surprisingly Mr Brines failed even to speak to the culprit.
Dundee should have had a third when a marvellous Harkins run ended with a frantic scramble in the Rovers' goalmouth. Stephen O'Donnell seemed sure to score, but McNeil's brilliant save left the Dundee player holding his head in disbelief.
Raith were meanwhile struggling to get the ball as far as the Dundee penalty area, and had only one tactic; the long ball for Tade to run onto down the inside right and left channels. It never paid off, and Rovers were left looking bereft of ideas and inspiration
If Rab Douglas had had a fairly uneventful second half he had to be at his very best in injury time when the Dundee defence switched off for once. A corner was cleared and nodded back in over the advancing defenders. Substitute Weir turned on the ball, and blasted it goalwards, but the massive bulk of Dundee's number 1 was in place to block. That was it. The points were safe and the supporters started to celebrate.
How on earth do these players keep doing it? The squad was stretched so thin that not one of the Dundee substitutes had even previously appeared in a first team match, whilst another player was making his debut as a trialist. Before the game all the supporters I talked to were saying the same. "It's been a fantastic run, but we can't expect the players to keep doing it. Tonight might be the night it ends".
Not a bit of it. This was a huge, and hugely impressive performance. Dundee have ridden their luck at times in the last few weeks, but tonight they stepped up a level and played with a style and confidence that was exhilarating for the Dundee faithful to watch.
Match report written by James Christie - Official Dundee website
|Robert Douglas (GK)||38||25||-||216||-|
No league table has been added for this season.