Dundee 0
Motherwell 1
League (Premiership)

0 - 1

League (Premiership)
Wednesday, October 25th, 2017
Dens Park
Attendance: 5,254
7:45 PM Kick-off

None. Craig Tanner (5)

Team Managers
Neil McCann
Stephen Robinson

Starting Eleven
1. Scott Bain
22. Jack Hendry
3. Kevin Holt
24. Josh Meekings
6. Darren O'Dea
27. Jesse Curran
21. Roarie Deacon
8. Glen Kamara
28. Lewis Spence
29. Marcus Haber
9. Sofien Moussa
Trevor Carson .1
Richard Tait .2
Peter Hartley .6
Carl McHugh .8
Charles Dunne .18
Cédric Kipré .21
Gaël Bigirimana .5
Elliott Frear .11
Ryan Bowman .12
Alex Fisher .17
Craig Tanner .27

12. Elliot Parish
15. Jon Aurtenetxe
34. Kerr Waddell
18. Paul McGowan
14. Mark O'Hara
7. A-Jay Leitch-Smith
23. Randy Wolters
Russell Griffiths .13
Andy Rose .15
Stevie Hammell .3
Chris Cadden .7
Liam Grimshaw .4
Deimantas Petravicius .20
Louis Moult .9

Kerr Waddell for Darren O'Dea (31)
Paul McGowan for Roarie Deacon (54)
A-Jay Leitch-Smith for Sofien Moussa (66)
Chris Cadden for Ryan Bowman (53)
Louis Moult for Craig Tanner (60)
Liam Grimshaw for Peter Hartley (66)

Roarie Deacon (28)
Darren O'Dea (30)
Sofien Moussa (64)
Peter Hartley (34)
Richard Tait (70)
Gaël Bigirimana (77)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Stephen Finnie (Referee)
Graeme Leslie & Joseph Lawson (Assistants)
Nick Walsh (Fourth Official)

Match Report

An early goal by Craig Tanner gave Motherwell a 1-0 win at Dens Park tonight. Dundee failed to reproduce the form of the two recent good performances in Glasgow that had brought praise, though not points. It was a poor game, constantly interrupted by the referee’s whistle, but Motherwell had the better of the slugging match and earned their win.

Marcus Haber and Roarie Deacon returned to the starting eleven with Paul McGowan and A-Jay Leitch-Smith moving onto the bench. Well made four changes following their Betfred Cup semi-final victory over Rangers; Gael Bigirimana, Elliott Frear, Alex Fisher and Craig Tanner came in for Louis Moult, Chris Cadden and Andy Rose, who were all on the bench, and Allan Campbell.

Motherwell opened confidently and slickly, with no sign of the changes in midfield and attack disrupting their play. They opened the scoring after five minutes with a goal that was disappointingly simple from a Dee perspective. Ryan Bowman’s flick sent Craig TANNER in behind the Dundee centre backs and he calmly slipped the ball past Scott Bain.

Tanner came close five minutes later. A corner was played short and deep for him to strike a clean shot through a crowded goalmouth and Bain did well to beat it away. Next Bain made a reflex block to keep out Alex Fisher’s close range shot from Elliott Frear’s hard, low cross. A neat Well passing move through the middle ended with a low shot by Fisher from 18 yards that Bain saved well. At this point Motherwell were in charge, but Dundee gradually managed to curb Well’s danger, without offering much threat themselves.

Darren O’Dea took a knock in the face defending a free kick. He returned to the match after receiving treatment but was replaced by Kerr Waddell just after the half hour.

The Dark Blues were struggling to make their formation work. Marcus Haber and Sofien Moussa were rarely on the same wavelength, and never combined to any significant effect. Roarie Deacon was operating too far forward to have any influence on the midfield battle and Glen Kamara and Lewis Spence were swamped by Motherwell’s pressing. Well’s hard work and organisation ensured they had men in numbers to crowd out any Dundee player trying to hold the ball and make a pass. The Dark Blues simply couldn’t build any worthwhile moves.

After a tough opening half hour the Dee started to offer glimmers of hope in the later stages of the first half. Motherwell keeper Trevor Carson lost concentration and picked up a passback. Kevin Holt touched the resulting free kick to Roarie Deacon, whose shot beat the massed Motherwell defence but went the wrong side of the post.

Five minutes from the break Dundee at last put together a fluent, passing attack and it ended with Moussa heading Kevin Holt’s cross into the net. The celebrations were swiftly and cruelly ended by referee Stephen Finnie penalising the striker for a push that no-one else saw. Moussa and Hartley may have brushed against each other but the referee’s decision was remarkable. If the referee got that one right it would be almost impossible for a striker to win a header legally in a crowded goalmouth.

The highlight of the first half for the home fans came right at the end. A wonderful run by Jesse Curran sliced through the Motherwell midfield and opened up the defence. He laid the ball off for Moussa, who tried to curl the ball round Carson, but sent it straight to the keeper.

The second half brought a noticeable improvement. Paul McGowan came on for Roarie Deacon early in the half and this transformed the midfield battle. Dundee were able to settle on the ball and choose passes rather than simply unloading the ball quickly under pressure.

A-Jay Leitch-Smith’s arrival, replacing Sofien Moussa, brought more movement in attack, but for all Dundee’s possession there were no clear chances. The Dark Blues failed to find the right final balls into the penalty area. The Dee’s crossing might not have been poor, but it wasn’t good enough to open up a solid defence that was almost always first to the ball.

In the second half Motherwell couldn’t repeat the slick attacking of the their opening charge at Dundee, but they still had the better opportunities when they managed to drag the ball clear of the midfield skirmishing. Elliott Frear was a constant threat on the left and a pinpoint cross was missed by Dundee’s defence, and by Alex Fisher, who might have had a tap in.

Dundee left themselves open as they chased the equaliser and Motherwell should have exploited that towards the end. Louis Moult had come on for the last half hour and was involved in all Motherwell’s moments of late danger. A clever touch released Gael Bigirimana, but Bain spread himself to block. Moult went close with a 25 yard free kick that flicked off the ball and not far away from the post. Twice in injury time Motherwell broke, but first Chris Cadden failed to anticipate Moult’s pass, and then Moult shot too high.

There were glimpses, especially in the second half, of the passing game that Neil McCann is trying to instil in the players, but Dundee couldn’t turn these into sustained dominance or good chances for the strikers. Motherwell shook the Dark Blues with the intensity of their opening assault, and managed the game competently once Dundee sorted themselves out and stepped up to the physical battle. Well had more, and better chances, and their highly effective opening to the game meant there can be no complaints about the outcome. The outcome might have been different if an apparently legitimate goal had not been ruled out shortly before half time, but Dundee couldn’t overcome that dreadful spot of misfortune.

Dundee’s younger players have had little experience of battles in the Premiership like tonight’s match and it should certainly be a valuable, if tough, learning experience. They have the quality to bounce back quickly, and they will need to do so when Hamilton come calling on Saturday.

Match report written by James Christie - Official Dundee website

Squad Statistics (as at October 25th, 2017)

2017-18 All Time
Scott Bain (GK)25 17 - 124 -
Jack Hendry22 162162
Kevin Holt24 171987
Josh Meekings25 3 - 3 -
Darren O'Dea30 11 - 695
Jesse Curran21 3 - 8 -
Roarie Deacon26 161161
Glen Kamara21 17 - 17 -
Lewis Spence21 9 - 9 -
Marcus Haber28 5 - 339
Sofien Moussa29 116116
Kerr Waddell (sub)19 142142
Paul McGowan (sub)30 1511237
A-Jay Leitch-Smith (sub)27 8383

League Table (as at October 25th, 2017)

No league table has been added for this season.

Manager's Programme Notes

Good evening and welcome along to tonight's match against Motherwell.

Tonight offers us a chance to continue our strong home form in the league. The last two matches have seen us put in two fantastic performances without yielding any points but without question this team are improving.

We come into the match on the back of defeats to Celtic and Partick Thistle in matches which we really should have taken points

We have been creating so many chances in the games we have played, none more so than Saturday against Partick. You have to take your chances to win games, we didn't and came away with nothing

The boys were back in on Monday and trained like they wanted to put things right, this was exactly the reaction I was looking for. Disappointment is natural, but letting it linger should not be, the only way forward is working hard on the training ground and putting the next result right.

This week we have been fully focused on Motherwell.

Motherwell are on a fantastic run of form and have a really good team this season. Steve Robinson has done a fantastic job.

We want Dens to be a bit of a strong hold for us, I know the away form needs to turn around as we haven't picked up anywhere near enough points but being at Dens in the next two games is something we are aware of and want to capitalise on

We have been on good form at home. The pitch is fabulous and allows us to play a style of football that I'm trying to implement. The results in terms of beating Hearts and St. Johnstone and drawing with Hibs, there are signs that we enjoy playing here.

Tonight we will look to continue our good home form and it's a game I'm looking forward to. I know that we'll again have a great backing from the supporters and we'll be doing everything we can to get the three points.