Dundee 3
Ayr United 1
League (Division One)

3 - 1
Ayr Utd 

League (Division One)
Saturday, December 12th, 2009
Dens Park
Attendance: 4,323
3:00 PM Kick-off

Craig Forsyth (23)
Leigh Griffiths (66)
Gary Harkins (90)
Stephen Reynolds (3)

Team Managers
Jocky Scott
Brian Reid

Starting Eleven
1. Robert Douglas
Eric Paton
Gary Mackenzie
Jim Laughlan
Eddie Malone
Gary Harkins
Richie Hart
Brian Kerr
Craig Forsyth
Leigh Griffiths
Colin McMenamin
Craig Samson .1
Andy Aitken .2
Kevin James .3
Ryan McGowan .4
Dean Keenan .5
Kenny Connolly .6
William Easton .7
Ryan Borris .8
Alistair Woodburn .9
Ryan Stevenson .10
Stephen Reynolds .11

Derek Soutar
Kyle Benedictus
Colin Cameron
Darren Young
Pat Clarke
Stephen Grindlay .12
Chris Aitken .14
Billy Gibson .15
Junior Mendes .16
Mark Roberts .17

Colin Cameron for Richie Hart (78)
Pat Clarke for Leigh Griffiths (90)
Billy Gibson for William Easton (46)
Junior Mendes for Alistair Woodburn. (85)
Mark Roberts for Andrew Aitken (85)

Gary Mackenzie (56)
Ryan McGowan (18)
William Easton (41)
Billy Gibson (81)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Stephen Finnie (Referee)
Brian McGarry & Kevin J. Graham (Assistants)

Match Report

Today's home game against Ayr United might have looked a home banker after the Challenge Cup victory in Perth and two fine wins on the road at Ross County and Partick but games like this have been a banana skin in the past for many a Dee side that was riding high. However, Dundee's attitude was spot on today and in spite of conceding an early goal they went on to dominate the match, playing composed passing football and earn a fully deserved 3-1 win.

The Dee didn't do it the easy way, conceding a soft goal on three minutes. After a bright start from the home side, Ayr moved upfield and Woodburn cut in from the right. His pass was deflected into the path of Reynolds running in the clear into the box, and he calmly shot under Douglas to open the scoring.

Dundee kept their heads and kept playing passing football, building from the back, keeping the ball on the ground and trying to give the forwards to run at the Ayr defence, rather than playing the sort of long balls that are a gift to defenders like Kevin James.

Griffiths in particular was giving the away defenders a nervous time, forcing them into rash tackles and winning a series of free kicks. Dundee's defence meanwhile was going through a rather dozy spell, in which they were slow to clear and slow onto loose balls in their own half. The home defence quickly sorted themselves out, but Ayr's defenders never managed to get to grips with the Dundee attack.

After 24 minutes Dundee got the equaliser they deserved. Griffiths ran clear on goal, Samson got a hand to his shot, but couldn't knock it out of play, Griffiths chased after the ball and drove it into the goalmouth where it was hacked clear as far as Paton on the right. He chipped a great cross to the near post, and Forsyth arriving at speed from the left rose to head powerfully just inside the angle of bar and post.

Harkins nearly had Dundee in front when his header from a corner flashed past the post. McMenamin brought a good save from Samson when he ran clear on the left. Griffiths then showed fantastic close control in the penalty area, but his cutback was cleared for a corner.

When half time arrived Dundee were comfortably in control, and the mood of the fans was that patience and continued passing football would eventually open up an Ayr defence that was at full stretch to try and keep the Dee out.

However, it was Ayr who had the first chance of the second half when Borris had space to shoot from the edge of the area. It was too close to Douglas, who saved comfortably, and Ayr never again had the Dundee defence worried. They had their share of possession, but couldn't create any good chances.

Dundee went on to reassert their dominance and should have scored after 54 minutes. Harkins played a delicious long pass to set Griffiths away down the right. He cut inside, was tackled and the ball broke to McMenamin who looked like scoring, but his shot was deflected wide for a comer.

This looked like one of those days when it just wasn't going to happen for Griffiths, but after 66 minutes Hart picked up the ball on the half way line and drove forward into space, with the defence backing off. His pass sent McMenamin racing into the penalty area, but the striker went down under a challenge. The ball broke nicely for Griffiths, who clipped the ball neatly over Samson and into the net. His spectacular celebration involved a terrifying two footed lunge that sent the poor corner flag flying through the air! The linesman looked decidedly prim and disapproving, but happily for Sparky the SFA haven't instructed match officials to clamp down on reckless endangerment of the fixtures and fittings

Now that Dundee were in the lead they carried on with the same neat, composed passing game they'd played all through the match. It looked sure to bring more goals, but we had to wait till the last minute for the third goal they deserved.

In the meantime Eddie Malone got the fans roaring with two storming tackles; important and well timed, but very much of the "red meat" variety!

More great work from Griffiths gave McMenamin the chance to shoot and again Samson saved well. Then in the last minute Harkins picked up the ball wide on the left, glided elegantly past Gibson, fooled Samson into anticipating the cross, and shot through the gap between the keeper and the near post, for his fourth goal in the last four games.

This was exactly the sort of game that Dundee have blown so often in the past when teams fighting for survival came to Dens and shocked the Dee. Today, however, the players were mentally strong and confident enough to keep playing football, believing in themselves and their ability to break down the Ayr defence. The supporters shared their confidence and kept backing the players rather than turning on then when they went behind, and had to wait till deep into the second half for the crucial second goal.

Today's was a good team performance, with the defence sound again after their early hesitation. The midfield was excellent, with Paton and Forsyth effective in their wing-back roles, and Kerr and Hart playing a vitally effective fetching and carrying role that allowed the forwards and Harkins good possession to run at the Ayr defence. Leigh Griffiths had one of those days when he would beat man after man, but couldn't get his final ball away. What a relief for him, and the fans, his goal was! Colin McMenamin played an effective role, less eye-catching than

Griffiths, but linking well with his team mates, keeping possession and keeping the pressure on Ayr. I was tempted to nominate Eddie Malone as my man of the match, for his good all round performance, and those two thundering tackles, but I've got to agree with the sponsor's decision to go with Gary Harkins, who oozed class and gallus confidence in the central midfield role in which he has been outstanding recently.

This might not have been a spectacular win, but the style and confidence with which Dundee took the points bodes well for the rest of the season. Today, yet again, Dundee looked like a team that belongs at the top of the table.

Match report written by James Christie - Official Dundee website

Squad Statistics (as at December 12th, 2009)

2009-10 All Time
Robert Douglas (GK)37 8 - 179 -
Jim Laughlan32 18 - 35 -
Eddie Malone24 241903
Eric Paton31 24 - 584
Gary Mackenzie24 2111032
Richie Hart31 18 - 18 -
Gary Harkins24 24122412
Brian Kerr28 22 - 22 -
Craig Forsyth20 205245
Leigh Griffiths19 22132213
Colin McMenamin28 2166520
Colin Cameron (sub)37 14 - 23 -
Pat Clarke (sub)24 121121

League Table (as at December 12th, 2009)

No league table has been added for this season.

Manager's Programme Notes

It seems an eternity since we last played here at Dens Park against Queen of the South, which finished a disappointing 0-0. Since then we have won the Alba Challenge Cup and two very difficult away games against Ross County and Partick Thistle.

Overall, it has been a good month for us. We are now in a good league position and know that if we want to stay there we cannot take games for granted or drop our work rate.

Today we welcome Ayr United Manager Brian Reid, his coaching staff and players who had an excellent result last week, defeating Dunfermline. We know from our own game at Somerset in October that Ayr are a good side and that we will need to be at our best if we are to win the game.

We need your backing to help us achieve our goal.

Enjoy the game!

Jocky Scott