Dundee 1
Dunfermline Athletic 0
League (Division One)

1 - 0

League (Division One)
Saturday, September 12th, 2009
Dens Park
Attendance: 5,326
3:00 PM Kick-off

Gary Harkins (pen.) (38)

Team Managers
Jocky Scott
Jim McIntyre

Starting Eleven
1. Tony Bullock
2. Eric Paton
3. Gary Mackenzie
4. Jim Laughlan
5. Eddie Malone
6. Paul McHale
7. Maroš Klimpl
8. Brian Kerr
9. Gary Harkins
10. Leigh Griffiths
11. Colin McMenamin
Greg Fleming .1
Andy Dowie .2
Austin McCann .3
Neil McGregor .4
Steven Bell .5
Calum Woods .6
Alex Burke .7
Steven McDougall .8
Joe Cardle .9
Graham Bayne .10
Andy Kirk .11

Robert Douglas
14. David Cowan
15. Colin Cameron
16. Pat Clarke
17. Sean Higgins
Greg Paterson .12
Chris Higgins .14
Nick Phinn .15
Greg Ross .16
Scott Muirhead .17

David Cowan for Jim Laughlan (72)
Sean Higgins for Leigh Griffiths (85)
Colin Cameron for Maroš Klimpl (87)
Nick Phinn for Steven McDougall (46)
Greg Ross for Joe Cardle (85)
Scott Muirhead for Steven Bell (87)

Gary Harkins
Joe Cardle (72)
Andy Dowie (73)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Craig Thomson (Referee)
Billy Baxter & Graham Fraser (Assistants)

Match Report

Three points and a clean sheet! This wasn't the prettiest of games, but winning a game without conceding a goal was exactly what Dundee needed to get their season going. There were spells of good football, and some great flashes of individual skill, from Harkins and Griffiths in particular, but the crucial factor that saw Dundee get the points today was a steely determination, especially from the much criticised central defenders, to graft out the result we needed.

There were two changes to the side after the unconvincing win over Stirling Albion in the Alba Cup. Jim Lauchlan retained his place at the expense of Kyle Benedictus whom he replaced when the youngster was injured during last week's match, and Paul McHale came in for the injured Richie Hart on the right of midfield.

A healthy crowd of 5,326 turned out on a beautifully warm Indian summer's day to see Maros Klimpl's home debut. It could have been an embarrassing start for the new boy when he gave the ball away allowing the Pars to attack Joe Cardle tumbled over in the box in what looked a plausible penalty claim, but the referee saw nothing wrong and waved play on. Dundee seemed nervous in this opening spell and conceded a series of silly free kicks in their own half, giving Dunfermline plenty of opportunities to get the ball into the Dundee box, but without threatening the goal.

Dundee gradually asserted themselves in midfield and Harkins was a constant threat on the left. After 15 minutes he floated a free kick beyond the far post and Colin McMenamin headed down into the goal mouth, creating panic. Leigh Griffiths had been slow to anticipate the knock down and his shot was blocked with the keeper helpless.

Dundee were now opening up the away defence regularly but either their final ball was poor, or the strikers were just too late to get to balls flashing across the goalmouth. Leigh Griffiths was outstanding during this period, with some brilliant running and approach play, but he was strangely hesitant with his shooting.

Dunfermline were very much in the game, however, and Andy Kirk missed the best chance of the half when Alex Burke sent him clear after 37 minutes. He ran in on goal from the right, but hammered his shot high over the bar.

This miss proved costly. Two minutes later a Klimpi shot from outside the area ricocheted off a defender, spinning into space on the right of the Pars penalty area. Colin McMenamin reacted quickest to reach the ball a split second before the keeper, Greg Fleming, arrived and bundled McMenamin over with his challenge. The referee immediately point to the spot, and Gary Harkins hit the perfect penalty low just inside the post.

At half time Dunfermline sent on Nicky Phinn, their goalscoring midfielder to play in the hole behind Kirk and Bayne, and this more attacking formation unsettled Dundee for a while in the second half, The Pars were able to create more space in front of a home side that were sometimes happy to sit deep, and their full backs pushed forward aggressively down the wings. For all their possession in the second half they couldn't create any good chances, and Dundee looked more dangerous on the break.

Midway through the half Brian Kerr sent Griffiths clear, but Fleming saved well from the youngster who had to shoot under strong pressure from the defence. Griffiths continued to torment the defenders with his pace, skill and aggression. He needed lengthy treatment after being scythed down just outside the area after another great run. He recovered and should have killed the game off after cutting in from the left, beating two men, but shooting weakly straight at the keeper.

Dunfermline were fighting hard, but couldn't turn good possession into good chances. After an uncertain start to the second half Klimpl and Kerr started to exercise more authority in midfield, and most of the Pars attacks petered out, or ended with optimistic high crosses that Tony Bullock had no trouble dealing with. When they did manage to get shots in they were from too far out, or from poor angles and couldn't really trouble the keeper.

The match ended with Dundee seeing out the last few minutes deep in the Dunfermline half, holding possession professionally. This was a tough game against a useful Pars side, who played some good football.

However, Dundee were resolute in defence, kept their concentration and composure in midfield and had just enough quality in attack to deserve the points.

The sponsors' man of the match was Leigh Griffiths, who certainly showed some great skill. However, my choice was Colin McMenamin who gave a fantastic, hard working, selfless performance. He was always available, he linked well with his teammates and he never gave the defenders a moment's peace. Time and again he stopped the Pars building attacks from the back, forcing defenders into wild clearances or hasty inaccurate passes.

The midfield did better today than it has done recently, but their job was made easier by the graft of the players in front of them. Just before the end Eddie Malone had the chance to break out of defence with Harkins and Higgins, who had just replaced Griffiths. Who was sufficiently aware to step into Malone's left back slot to cover if the Pars broke? It was Colin McMenamin, who showed today just what it means to be a team player.

In conclusion this was a great three points. A clean sheet will have delighted the management team and the defence. They earned it through determination and hard work. It's a good sign for the coming games. Jim Lauchlan limped off after 68 minutes, allowing David Cowan to come on and give a very assured performance in central defence.

This wasn't a glamorous win, but there were signs of greater cohesion and teamwork, and a much more solid looking defence. That's exactly what's been needed.

Match report written by James Christie - Official Dundee website

Squad Statistics (as at September 12th, 2009)

2009-10 All Time
Tony Bullock (GK)37 9 - 9 -
Eric Paton31 8 - 424
Jim Laughlan32 9 - 26 -
Eddie Malone24 8 - 742
Maroš Klimpl29 2 - 2 -
Gary Mackenzie23 5 - 871
Brian Kerr27 9 - 9 -
Gary Harkins24 9696
Paul McHale27 7 - 764
Colin McMenamin28 845218
Leigh Griffiths19 9595
David Cowan (sub)27 2 - 38 -
Colin Cameron (sub)36 8 - 17 -
Sean Higgins (sub)24 6262

League Table (as at September 12th, 2009)

No league table has been added for this season.

Manager's Programme Notes

Last month in some respects was good for us. We have reached the Semi Final of the Alba Challenge Cup and have a home tie v Aberdeen in the 3rd round of the Co-Operative Insurance Cup, where hopefully in both games we will advance to the next stage.

Before all that however we have league points to play for, beginning today with our visitors Dunfermline Athletic FC where Jim McIntyre and his coaching staff have done a good job. Jim has had to off load some experienced players over the summer but has still managed to begin the season well.

Today's game has the making of a good contest with both teams preferring to attack trying to win the game rather than sit back trying not to lose.

Your support again is much appreciated.

Enjoy the game!