Dundee 3
Annan Athletic 0
Challenge Cup (Semi-Final)

3 - 0

Challenge Cup (Semi-Final)
Sunday, October 4th, 2009
Dens Park
Attendance: 2,321
3:00 PM Kick-off

Sean Higgins (36)
Pat Clarke (63)
Craig Forsyth (72)

Team Managers
Jocky Scott
Harry Cairney

Starting Eleven
1. Tony Bullock
2. Eric Paton
3. Gary Mackenzie
4. David Cowan
5. Eddie Malone
6. Richie Hart
7. Paul McHale
8. Colin Cameron
9. Craig Forsyth
10. Pat Clarke
11. Sean Higgins
Craig Summersgill .1
Alan Inglis .2
Peter Watson .3
Kevin Neilson .4
Aaron Muirhead .5
Jack Steele .6
Mike Jack .7
Steven Sloan .8
Lewis Sloan .9
David Cox .10
Graeme Bell .11

12. Derek Soutar
14. Chris Casement
15. Darren Young
16. Gary Harkins
17. Leigh Griffiths
Jonny Jamieson .12
Gary Redpath .14
Chris Jardine .15
John Macbeth .16
Phil Storey .17

Darren Young for Craig Forsyth (77)
Chris Casement for Eric Paton (81)
Gary Harkins for Richie Hart (85)
Chris Jardine for Mike Jack (46)
John Macbeth for Alan Inglis (65)
Phil Storey for Graham Bell (68)

None. Peter Watson (16)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Stephen Finnie (Referee)
Andrew McWilliam & James Burns (Assistants)
George Salmond (Fourth Official)

Match Report

Dundee kept up their record of never having lost a Challenge Cup semi by defeating 3rd Division Annan 3-0 with goals from Sean Higgins, Pat Clarke and Craig Forsyth to set up an ALBA Cup Final date with Inverness Caledonian Thistle in Perth on November 22nd.

Dundee made four changes from the side which had lined up against Ross County last week with Hart, Cameron, McHale and Clarke starting, Harkins and Griffiths dropping to the bench and Kimpl and Kerr dropping out altogether.

Dundee kicked off the match wearing this season's white change kit at home for the first time, attacking towards the Bobby Cox Stand and immediately put Annan under pressure when Forsyth met a cross from the night but his deflected effort was easily saved by the Annan keeper.

There was a scare early on for Annan when a ball through from Paul McHale was handled near the edge of the box by Galabank captain Kevin Neilson and the big Annan centre back was lucky to escape with just a booking for his trouble. From the resultant free kick, Forsyth played a short ball to Malone inside the box, but the full back's shot was well over the bar end into row Z.

Annan, wearing a royal blue kit in their first ever semi- final, then showed that they weren't just there to make up the numbers when they exerted some pressure on the Dundee defence and eventually won a corner after McKenzie blocked a cross coming in from the right.

From the corner however Dundee counter attacked and the lively looking Forsyth rode two tackles before a third stopped him in his tracks on the touchline just past the end of the south enclosure.

Annan were now putting in a number of meaty challenges but this signalled a good spell for Dundee who mounted a number of attacks which came to nothing.

Firstly a neat one-two between Hart and Clarke saw the former Ross County man's shot rebound off the keeper and then himself for a goal kick before Higgins then shot straight at the keeper from around the penalty spot after good work from Forsyth on the left.

Then a neat move in midfield involving McHale and a clever flick from Hart set Clarke away in on goal but from 30 yards he shot high into the Bobby Cox and then Hart again had a shot on goal from outside the box which Summersgill gathered at the second attempt.

Having survived Dundee's early pressure, Annan then troubled the Dundee defence with a number of high balls over the top with forward David Cox causing problems with his pace. This almost lead to the opener in the fifteenth minute when Borderers' number nine chased one of these long balls and Cowan and Bullock got themselves in a fankle on the corner of the box. Cox managed to dispossess Cowan as he chased in but his shot rebounded off the legs of the Dundee defender as both he and Bullock had retracted back towards the net.

This scare for Dundee only served to push the The Dees forward in search of the opener and in the twentieth minute, good work from Forsyth on the left saw his cross aimed towards Clarke in the six yard box but the Annan keeper smothered the ball at the feet of the Dundee forward

Forsyth continued with mere positive runs from out left and another ball soon flashed across the Annan six yard box but this time it was too high for the inrushing Clarke.

Annan were soaking up Dundee's pressure reasonably well and did cause Dundee the occasional problem and on the half hour played a free kick on the half way line high into the Dundee box, which Bullock got a fist to before McHale hoofed clear.

Dundee then counter attacked again as the pace of the game continued in an up-tempo vein and when Hart fed the ball to Pat Clarke thirty yards out, the former Bully Wee once again forced the Dundee crowd in the Bobby Cox to retrieve the ball when his shot flew well over the bar.

It was then the tum of Summersgill to punch the ball clear when he dealt with another Forsyth cross before an Annan counter attack saw Bullock punch once again to the delight of the noisy band of away supporters in the Shankly Stand.

Dundee continued to push forward in search of the opener and to the relief of the quiet home support in came in thirty six minutes thanks to Sean Higgins. The move started with a nice ball up the line from Malone to Forsyth and the Dundee youngster's cross into the box was sent back in his direction for a throw in.

From the throw, Forsyth put in a much more effective cross to Patton who did well to bring it down before slipping in to Higgins and from about 18 yards out the Glaswegian stroked the ball home via the inside of the post with a well placed shot to give Dundee the lead.

It was no more than Dundee deserved and they pushed on for a second before the break. Bullock first sent an inch perfect kick to Hart who drove into the box and then a good cross from McHale almost gave Higgins his second but the keeper did well to parry his high shot away.

Dundee almost did get their second on the stroke of half time when Hart drove through from midfield and his pass to Forsyth was cut out by Mike Jack for a corner from which the ball zipped across the face of the goal with no takers.

Dundee deservedly went into the break ahead but were concerned by the times Annan went forward as they looked dangerous when they got into the Dundee box.

A quick second therefore was no doubt the orders from Jocky as Dundee came fast out of the blocks at the start of the second half and immediately put Annan under intense pressure.

Annan had replaced Mike Jack with Chris Jardine at half time but they had to deal with a number of Dundee half chances immediately after they had kicked off.

Dundee won a number of corners in quick succession but couldn't make any of them count and then the home support started to show their frustration when a huge groan went up when Forsyth wasted two good chances within a couple of minutes. Firstly a long ball into the box from Hart was headed down by Higgins to Forsyth but he could only hit the ball into the ground and wide and then shortly after Hart again set up Forsyth before shooting over the bar. Jeers turned to cheers however, just after the hour when a superb ball from Higgins saw Hart outpace the Annan defence and with only the keeper to beat, he unselfishly squared the ball to Pat Clarke who stroked the ball into the empty net.

It was Clarke's first goal from Dundee in his first start for the club and it was a well earned reward for a decent performance and an impressive shift. Having had his start to the season hindered by injury, Clarke only got to make his dark blue debut as a sub in the quarters at Stirling and now in his first start in the next round, he was delighted to open his account.

Annan's dream of appearing in their first ever final was slipping away from them but tried to push on from the restart and saw a Sloan shot deflected high and wide for a corner.

Annan had replaced Graeme Bell with Phil Storey after Dundee's goal and shortly after Bullock had to be on his toes to save a free kick from outside the box.

Annan's brief spell of pressure was over and Dundee started to push on once again and got their reward in 72 minutes when great work from Clarke out on the left set up Forsyth in the box. Having spurned a brace of chances earlier in the half, he didn't miss this one as he fired the ball high into the net with Summersgill helpless.

The tie was now well out of the Borderers' reach but another brief flurry of pressure saw a Sloan effort ripple the top of Bullock's net. The Galabank side can be commended for their effort and endeavour but it wasn't enough to break Dundee who had enjoyed large spells of possession and had created a good number of chances.

Dundee replaced Darren Young for Forsyth in the 77th minute and then Paton for Casement four minutes later and a hat-trick of substitutions were complete when Harkins came on for man of the match Hart with just three minutes left.

Dundee had continued to create chances in the last quarter of an hour and in the final minutes a neat cross form Harkins was cleverly headed backwards by Higgins but the Annan keeper saved comfortably.

When the final whistle went it was an extremely satisfying afternoon in the autumn sun which saw Dundee progress to their first national final in six years.

Match report written by Kenny Ross - Dundee Matchday Programme

Squad Statistics (as at October 4th, 2009)

2009-10 All Time
Tony Bullock (GK)37 13 - 13 -
Eddie Malone24 121783
Eric Paton31 12 - 464
David Cowan27 6 - 42 -
Gary Mackenzie23 9 - 911
Colin Cameron36 10 - 19 -
Richie Hart31 8 - 8 -
Paul McHale28 10 - 794
Craig Forsyth20 92132
Sean Higgins24 103103
Pat Clarke24 4141
Chris Casement (sub)21 4 - 4 -
Darren Young (sub)31 1 - 92
Gary Harkins (sub)24 136136

League Table (as at October 4th, 2009)

No league table has been added for this season.

Manager's Programme Notes

No league fixture for us this weekend due to today's Alba Challenge Cup Semi Final.

Our opponents Annan Athletic are the newcomers to the Scottish Football League, having been elected into Division 3 in Season 2007/2008.

Although new to league status they have established themselves in their division finishing a creditable 7th under the guidance of Harry Cairney, ex Brechin City full back.

We welcome Harry, his staff and players to Dens Park this afternoon and hope they enjoy their experience. This being the first semi final of the season we will not be taking this game lightly. We will give our opponents the respect due to them and will have to be at our best to advance to the final.

Once again your support is vital to the outcome.

Enjoy the game.