Dundee 3
Dunfermline Athletic 2
League (Division One)

3 - 2

League (Division One)
Sunday, January 17th, 2010
Dens Park
Attendance: 5,201
3:00 PM Kick-off

Leigh Griffiths (2)
Colin McMenamin (16)
Leigh Griffiths (82)
David Graham (10)
Andy Kirk (49)

Team Managers
Jocky Scott
Jim McIntyre

Starting Eleven
1. Robert Douglas
2. Eric Paton
3. Kyle Benedictus
4. Jim Laughlan
5. Eddie Malone
6. Gary Harkins
7. Richie Hart
8. Maroš Klimpl
9. Craig Forsyth
10. Leigh Griffiths
11. Colin McMenamin
Greg Fleming .1
Andy Dowie .2
Austin McCann .3
Neil McGregor .4
Steven Bell .5
Greg Ross .6
Nick Phinn .7
Wullie Gibson .8
Steven McDougall .9
David Graham .10
Andy Kirk .11

12. Derek Soutar
14. Chris Casement
15. Brian Kerr
16. Darren Young
17. Pat Clarke
Greg Paterson .12
Callum Woods .14
Graeme Holmes .15
Joe Cardle .16
Jim McIntyre .17

Brian Kerr for Richie Hart (67)
Pat Clarke for Leigh Griffiths (86)
Joe Cardle for William Gibson (75)
Jim McIntyre for Steven McDougall (84)

Kyle Benedictus (38)
Neil McGregor (70)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Iain Brines (Referee)
John Gilmour & Morag Pirie (Assistants)

Match Report

Since the Pars were relegated in 2007 Dundee have now been undefeated in eleven games between the clubs. The previous ten matches were tight and tense with few goals. Today's game was certainly tight, and nerve-shreddingly tense, but there were plenty of goals and entertainment though ultimately it was heartbreaking for unlucky Dunfermline.

The Pars must be thinking Dundee is the home of jute, journalism and jammy Dees as they outplayed the league leaders for most of the match. Their determination to go for a win rather than settling for a draw resulted in them going home without a single point as the Dark Blues picked their pockets at the death and raced off with the spoils to extend their lead at the top to 11 points, and surely rule Dunfermline out of the title race.

Dundee started and finished with a flourish, but there was much for Jocky Scott to ponder in between as Dundee were second best in midfield and struggled to keep the lively Pars at bay.

The Dees got off to a perfect start with a wonderfully worked team goal in their first attack after two minutes. Eric Paton took a throw near his own corner flag. Klimpl returned it to him, and Paton passed the ball forward to Griffiths who laid it off for Hart to burst down the left. Malone arrived on the overlap and took a short pass, played a quick one-two with Hart and raced along the byline into the penalty area. His hard driven cross left Griffiths with a simple tap in at the far post.

Dunfermline fought back strongly and it was no surprise when they equalised after 10 minutes with another excellent goal. Graham picked the ball up wide on the left, checked inside and from just inside the angle of the box curled a precise shot round and over Douglas and into the top corner. Both defences were struggling badly to contain the lively forwards and Dunfermline were level for only another six minutes. Forsyth drove infield from the left, made space and found Griffiths clear on the right. Instead of shooting, Sparky hammered the ball across for McMenamin to turn in at the near post.

Dunfermline responded well again and gradually started to take control of the midfield. Kirk should have equalised when he mishit a good chance into Douglas's arms, but for all their good outfield play the visitors struggled to create good chances.

Dundee meanwhile couldn't hold possession and the ball kept on coming back to a defence that looked nervous and was struggling to cope with the movement of the Dunfermline attackers. Kyle Benedictus picked up a booking when he tripped McDougall just outside the box when a stricter referee might have pulled out a red card

When the half time whistle arrived the home fans were relieved to be still in the lead. That didn't last long! The Pars got the equaliser they deserved four minutes after the restart. Gibson's long floated cross from the right seemed overhit, but Graham reached it to head back across goal to give Kirk an easy chance to shoot past the helpless Douglas. The defence seemed to switch off when they assumed the cross was harmless.

The goal gave Dunfermline a huge lift and they came storming forward at Dundee. A Phinn shot took a wicked deflection and pinged back off the bar. Graham was clear on the right, but with the massive bulk of Douglas bearing down on him he lifted his lob over the bar.

Jocky Scott changed the midfield around by sending Kerr on for Hart, with Harkins going to the right wing and Forsyth wide on the left, but it made no difference to the Pars' dominance.

It was clear that Dunfermline were not interested in just one point. Lying 14 points behind Dundee it was win or bust for the Fifers. Dundee were horribly disjointed in midfield, and the service to the strikers was desperately poor. The only way Dundee looked like scoring was if they could catch out Dunfermline on the break, and that's exactly what happened.

With ten minutes left Griffiths hit a wicked swerving shot from 20 yards that Fleming parried into the air and grabbed before Harkins could pounce. Encouraged Sparky had another go after 83 minutes. Again the ball swerved viciously in the air, and Fleming could only knock the ball away, directly in front of him. Griffiths had kept running and gleefully lashed the ball into the net.

The Dee players and supporters celebrated wildly and the Pars players sank to their knees in disbelief and despair. Leigh lasted only a few more minutes before he hirpled off to a standing ovation, being replaced by Clarke.

Dundee saw out the remainder of the game competently. Dunfermline panicked too soon and launched long balls rather than playing the good football that had been unnerving the home side for all of the second half. However, at no stage of the match were Dundee actually comfortable, and the roar that greeted the final whistle was unquestionably relief as much as jubilation.

This was a game that Dundee could, and probably should have lost. Instead they took all three points, in what may prove to be a massive day in the title race. If the DJ had played the Great Escape at the end it would have been entirely fitting.

Dundee were second best today, but they kept fighting and got the breaks in the end. Rab Douglas was immense in goal. He didn't pull off any breathtaking saves, but his solidity and reassuring presence helped steady a defence that was under the cosh for most of the game. Lauchlan and Benedictus had a really tough day, but they kept at it, and can rightly be proud of their determination, if not their finesse.

The midfield was a real problem today though. It didn't give the defence enough protection and didn't do enough to help the strikers after the opening burst. Maybe that's being a bit picky. These players have done a great job for Dundee this season, but today the only thing that mattered was the win, and those three precious points.

Match report written by James Christie - Official Dundee website

Squad Statistics (as at January 17th, 2010)

2009-10 All Time
Robert Douglas (GK)37 12 - 183 -
Eric Paton31 28 - 624
Jim Laughlan32 22 - 39 -
Kyle Benedictus18 7 - 19 -
Maroš Klimpl29 13 - 13 -
Eddie Malone24 282944
Richie Hart31 22 - 22 -
Craig Forsyth20 245285
Gary Harkins25 27132713
Leigh Griffiths19 26172617
Colin McMenamin28 2576921
Brian Kerr (sub)28 26 - 26 -
Pat Clarke (sub)24 161161

League Table (as at January 17th, 2010)

No league table has been added for this season.

Manager's Programme Notes

Unfortunately the efforts of all those involved in preparing the pitch and surrounding areas of the stadium for the game against Airdrie United went to waste as we suffered a 1-0 defeat. Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong on that day. I have repeatedly said that any team can beat any other team on the day on this league, there are no easy games.

The result was a costly reminder to us all that we cannot relax at any time and that we must focus on the job at all times.

Today it is Dunfermline Athletic FC who visit Dens and it is again a warm welcome to Jim Mcintyre, staff and players. Our previous games against one another have all been entertaining and competitive with the result close and I don't see this encounter being any different with both teams all out to win the game.

On Tuesday we travel to Livingston for our rescheduled Scottish Cup game with the possibility of a replay to go ahead the following week at Dens. However, because of the rules and regulations the date is now Thursday of this week, very inconvenient for us and you. With the next round already drawing us at home we have a big incentive to win the Livingston tie.

Enjoy the game.