Dundee 1
Greenock Morton 1
League (First Division)

1 - 1

League (First Division)
Saturday, February 26th, 2011
Dens Park
Attendance: 4,769
3:00 PM Kick-off

Sean Higgins (26)
Allan Jenkins (76)

Team Managers
Barry Smith
Allan Moore

Starting Eleven
1. Robert Douglas
2. Gary Irvine
3. Craig McKeown
4. Rhys Weston
5. Matt Lockwood
6. Nicky Riley
7. Craig Robertson
8. Stephen O'Donnell
9. Craig Forsyth
10. Gary Harkins
11. Sean Higgins
Kevin Cuthbert .1
Grant Evans .2
Stuart McCaffrey .3
Marc Smyth .4
David MacGregor .5
Kevin McKinlay .6
Fouad Bachirou .7
Graeme Holmes .8
Allan Jenkins .9
Stewart Kean .10
Derek Lyle .11

12. John Gibson
14. Jonny Stewart
15. Kyle Benedictus
16. Gary Bartlett
17. Connor Rennie
Colin Stewart .12
Brian Graham .14
David O'Brien .15
Sean Fitzharris .16
Peter Weatherson .17

None. David O'Brien for Kevin McKinlay (51)
Sean Fitzharris for Graeme Holmes (55)
Peter Weatherson for Stewart Kean (67)

Gary Harkins (61)
Grant Evans (37)
David MacGregor (46)
Stuart McCaffrey (59)
Allan Jenkins (72)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Willie Collum (Referee)
Stuart Macaulay & Colin Brown (Assistants)

Match Report

After the skills and emotion of the great win in Kirkcaldy this draw at home to Morton was a frustrating anti-climax.

The unbeaten run now extends to a remarkable 17 games, but Dundee were never able to rise to the heights they reached in midweek against Raith. They couldn't move the ball around as fluently and effectively and had to settle for a point against a Morton team who deserved to leave Dens with a draw.

Craig Robertson retained his place to play his second match as a trialist and Gary Irvine returned to his usual right back spot, with Jonathan Stewart dropping onto the bench.

Dundee started quietly but patiently, preferring to retain possession rather than rush the ball forward. However, as the match went on, and especially in the second half, what had looked like canny probing gradually turned into a flat and lifeless performance. We were expecting the players to tire on Tuesday night, but it was today that the efforts of maintaining this amazing run seemed to take its toll.

In the first 20 minutes Dundee looked at their most dangerous when they allowed Riley and Forsyth to run at the defence. Riley in particular was one of the few who managed to maintain his performance throughout. He was deservedly the man of the match nominated by DFCSS, the match sponsors.

In those early stages Gary Harkins was influential and effective playing just behind Sean Higgins. But it was when he dropped deeper to set up an attack that he finally opened up the Morton defence. Playing a quick one-two with Robertson he worked the ball forward to HIGGINS who spun on the edge of the area and finished beautifully just inside Cuthbert's left hand post. Nicky Riley came closest to adding a second. He drove into the penalty area with a delightful mazy and shot, which Morton keeper Kevin Cuthbert managed to juggle round the post.

Ex Dee, Derek Lyle, wasted Morton's best opportunity just before the break. He seemed to have the chance to run in on goal but his heavy first touch left him with a difficult angle and he shot wide across the face of Douglas's goal.

In the second half Dundee never managed to put their passing game together effectively. The players were obviously trying, but the passing wasn't quite coming off. Morton gradually started to assert themselves, without looking particularly impressive or dangerous at first. More of the play was taking place in the Dundee half, and Morton's confidence was visibly increasing. They clearly believed that they were capable of getting back into the match and their pressing slowly became more purposeful.

Rab Douglas had to pull off a fine save from Lyle after Dundee failed to clear the ball. The equaliser wasn't long in coming, arriving with 14 minutes to go. A corner was half cleared. The ball was played quickly back in and broke kindly for Allan JENKINS, who was left with a simple chance to stab the ball into the net from six yards.

This time Dundee couldn't lift themselves to provide an effective response. Throughout the whole of the second half they couldn't create any good chances. The nearest they came was a late curling shot over the bar from O'Donnell.

The last home game finished in a whirlwind of noise, emotion and passion. This time the match drifted to a draw in tame fashion with neither side able to raise themselves for a late charge.

Morton were well worth their point. They didn't lose heart when they went behind. They kept trying to play their way back into the game till they got their goal. It was hardly a classy footballing performance, but it was a good team display that allowed them to graft their way to a deserved point.

The Dundee players have been heroes in this run. Some of them have been playing through injuries, turning out week after week instead of having the break that would be possible in a larger squad. On this occasion they couldn't lift themselves again to take all the points, but the unbeaten run continues and the players have a full week to recover after a tough three games in the last week.

Happily the supporters applauded the players off the park, recognising their fantastic efforts in recent months. They've done far more for us than we ever expected. Any sense of disappointment that we feel is simply because of the astonishingly high standards these players have set for themselves.

Match report written by James Christie - Official Dundee website

Squad Statistics (as at February 26th, 2011)

2010-11 All Time
Robert Douglas (GK)38 26 - 217 -
Gary Irvine25 25 - 25 -
Craig McKeown25 291621
Rhys Weston30 24 - 24 -
Matt Lockwood34 233233
Gary Harkins26 2947422
Nicky Riley24 265265
Craig Forsyth - 273659
Stephen O'Donnell27 272272
Sean Higgins26 2785915
Craig Robertson - 2 - 2 -

League Table (as at February 26th, 2011)

No league table has been added for this season.

Manager's Programme Notes

I would like to extend a warm welcome to Dens for Greenock Morton ahead of today's game. I had a very enjoyable time at Cappielow when I played there and although most of those players at that time have left there are still some well known faces, including Chairman Douglas Rae, and I am sure Morton will give us a very difficult game today. I have watched them recently and although they had a poor result against Queen of the South last weekend they showed great resolve in beating Partick Thistle in midweek.

In the two weeks since I last wrote my column, we have beaten the league leaders twice and the team bottom of the table but each victory has given me equal pleasure as we get the same three points for winning whoever we beat.

Those victories have once again been achieved with the absolute minimum number of first team players supplemented by trialists and youth players. However, what I know is that whoever I call upon to play for us they will give their all for the team and give every last ounce of effort for their team mates and the supporters. I have been forced to call in Neil McCann and Craig Robertson because of our transfer embargo and have been delighted with their performances. I have known Neil for many years and was delighted he accepted to help us out and if he manages to recover from his injury I am sure the supporters will give him another great reception for his last game.

Craig Robertson got a late call up to the team on Tuesday but he went straight into the starting eleven and did very well although I was not surprised as I have seen him play several times for Lochee United. I would also like to thank Lochee United for their permission to let Craig play and all they have done to help us this season.

It is the time of the season when teams suffer from suspensions and we are no different in that respect but with the size of the squad it is another difficulty we must overcome. We have had two players sent off in recent matches but I will not stop the players playing their normal game. Sean Higgins has responded very well after his suspension and his goals have been important but it is a team game and everyone has continued to play their part.

I am running out of complimentary things to say about the players and supporters who are a credit to themselves and the club. We have done very well but we all must strive to keep this going, as although we have climbed the league in recent weeks other teams have games in hand and will be determined to catch us up.