Dundee 2
Dunfermline Athletic 2
League (First Division)

2 - 2

League (First Division)
Saturday, October 23rd, 2010
Dens Park
Attendance: 5,636
3:00 PM Kick-off

Leigh Griffiths (48)
Sean Higgins (81)
Wullie Gibson (pen.) (30)
Wullie Gibson (pen.) (33)

Team Managers
Barry Smith
Jim McIntyre

Starting Eleven
1. Robert Douglas
2. Gary Irvine
Craig McKeown
Rhys Weston
Matt Lockwood
7. Nicky Riley
Jamie Adams
4. Stephen O'Donnell
Gary Harkins
Leigh Griffiths
Sean Higgins
Chris Smith .1
Andy Dowie .2
Chris Higgins .3
Austin McCann .4
Steven Bell .5
Calum Woods .6
Gary Mason .7
Wullie Gibson .8
Joe Cardle .9
Pat Clarke .10
Andy Kirk .11

Scott Findlay
Kyle Benedictus
Craig Forsyth
Graham Webster
Leighton McIntosh
Kyle Allison .12
Alex Keddie .14
Neil McGregor .15
Steven McDougall .16
David Graham .17

Craig Forsyth for Nicky Riley (69)
Steven McDougall for And Kirk (67)
David Graham for Joe Cardle (68)

Sean Higgins (73)
Pat Clarke (79)
Andy Dowie (87)
Steven Bell (89)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Dougie McDonald (Referee)
Billy Baxter & David McKenzie (Assistants)

Photography by David Young

Match Report

Dundee’s threadbare squad rose to the challenge posed by the visit of table toppers Dunfermline and thrilled the faithful with a fightback that was full of the pride and passion that the club will need from both players and supporters over the next few months.

Dens Park had a great atmosphere again today, with enthusiastic support and singing from all the home sections. There can be no doubt that many, many people care deeply about the fate of this club.

Referee Dougie McDonald turned the game on its head in the first half when he gave the Pars two penalties that were so soft that the initial reaction of the home fans was sheer astonishment before the anger set in.

By the end of the game Dunfermline were relieved to have the two goal start that the referee had given them, or they would have left Dens without a point.

Dundee had started the brighter and more eager side and had the better of the first half as Dunfermline struggled to keep the Dark Blues at bay.

With Riley and Harkins providing width, Higgins and Griffiths constantly probing, Dundee looked the more likely side to take the lead.

Adams shot straight at keeper Smith from the edge of the area. O’Donnell sent a 22 yard shot flashing just over and Griffiths nearly forced his way through with a fine run and shot that was blocked with a last ditch challenge.

At the other end Cardle came closest with a cross shot that flashed wide, and another blocked shot after he cut inside Irvine.

Just on the half hour Mr McDonald stepped to the fore. Gibson battered a cross from a few yards against Lockwood, just inside the area. To the dismay of the home side Mr McDonald pointed to the spot, and Willie GIBSON blasted his penalty down the middle to give the Pars the lead against the run of play.

The howls of outrage from the stands hadn’t died down when McCann floated a high cross into the Dundee penalty area. Kirk and Lockwood rose together. The Pars’ striker missed the ball, which struck Lockwood's arm, and everyone in dark blue was left aghast as the referee pointed to the spot again.

This time GIBSON fired his penalty just inside the top corner, and Dundee had a huge task on their hands to get anything from a game they had been dominating.

The anger of the home support was only increased by another controversial decision when Dowie wrapped his arms around Sean Higgins to stop him jumping for the ball in the goalmouth, but the referee waved play on.

Dundee sides in the recent past have collapsed when things have gone against them, but today the players looked and acted as if they believed that they were still in it. The supporters responded to that and, instead of sulking in their seats, they roared the Dees back into the match.

Dundee set a marker for the second half by scoring quickly after the restart. Harkins dinked a neat pass inside Chris Higgins, who was caught off balance and stumbled, leaving GRIFFITHS to run clear, draw Chris Smith and clip the ball over the keeper to score.

The Pars responded well and had their best spell of the game in the next few minutes as they pressed Dundee back. Dundee’s defence held firm, as it did throughout the match, with sponsor’s man of the match Weston impeccable at centre back.

Dundee were soon back on the attack, however, and Harkins ended a fine move by shooting just over.

A Dundee corner resulted in a scramble in the Dunfermline goalmouth, and Higgins’ shot was deflected over the bar.

Leigh Griffiths was limping for much of the second half, and received some hefty challenges, but he was a constant threat to the visitors’ defence with his skill and control.

Just as it seemed that the Pars might weather the storm and nick the points, Dundee grabbed the goal they so richly deserved, and it was no surprise that it was created by perseverance and skill from Griffiths.

The Pars' substitute David Graham seemed to have the ball under control towards the corner flag in front of the South Enclosure, but Griffiths robbed him, flighted over a perfect cross and Sean HIGGINS rose to guide his header inside the far post.

For a Dundee supporter there are few finer sights than the South Enclosure charging forwards en masse to the fence to celebrate wildly with the players.

So long as we have supporters and players who care this deeply about their club, our club, we’ve got a fighting chance!

To their credit Dunfermline didn’t try to close the door and settle for the point, so the last 10 minutes was a thrilling and frantic affair, but neither side could force the win. The visitors were fortunate to finish the game with 11 players after a series of cynical and reckless challenges as they tried to stop Dundee attacks.

The Dundee supporters may have been disappointed at the end that their team hadn’t got the three points that they deserved, but they rose to cheer, applaud and sing as the players responded by thanking and applauding the fans.

We very much wanted all the points today, but the supporters were well rewarded by a great fighting performance and an exciting match. There can’t have been any Dark Blues’ fans leaving the ground feeling let down, or disappointed after this gripping match. After so much heartache and disappointment it was marvellous to sense the buzz of the supporters as they left the Bobby Cox stand.

Thank you for that Dundee!

Match report written by James Christie - Official Dundee website

Squad Statistics (as at October 23rd, 2010)

2010-11 All Time
Robert Douglas (GK)38 11 - 202 -
Rhys Weston29 9 - 9 -
Gary Irvine25 11 - 11 -
Craig McKeown25 14 - 47 -
Matt Lockwood34 9191
Gary Harkins25 1425920
Jamie Adams23 11 - 11 -
Nicky Riley24 133133
Stephen O'Donnell27 131131
Leigh Griffiths20 1475328
Sean Higgins25 132459
Craig Forsyth (sub)21 12 - 506

League Table (as at October 23rd, 2010)

No league table has been added for this season.

Manager's Programme Notes

I have always stated that I would love to come back and manage Dundee Football Club one day and whilst I am honoured to have this position it has come about as many others have lost their jobs and therefore there has been a mix of great pride and sadness at taking over as manager. I was coming to the end of my career and a move into management was my aim. Although I am not playing on a Saturday I will be kicking every ball from the dug-out.

My move into the manager's post would not have been possible without the help of Brechin City and my thanks go to Jim Weir and the officials of the club who have released me from my playing contract without looking for any fee.

I cannot speak highly enough of the players and how proud I am of them over the last few days. They were unbelievable in the circumstances. Both the players and supporters showed last Saturday at Stirling Albion the commitment they have for the club and we will need that same passion every week to help us get through the next few weeks.

Robert Douglas and Matt Lockwood have taken on the added responsibility of helping me but I have been careful not to put too much burden on them as they will be vital players on the park for us. I am new to this side of the game and will take advice from various players and managers I know and have already done so. The day you stop wanting to learn more then you should give up the game.

I am sure we will be backed by a great support today. Despite what has happened over the years the supporters have always turned out in their thousands and particularly at this time it is very important for the club, not just for the finances, but also to help the players. We have a very small squad but with the backing of a vocal support it can be like an extra man to us.

The players have trained well this week although we were restricted by injuries to Craig McKeown and Leigh Griffiths but they should be fit for today. We have had mixed news on two of our loan players this week. Jamie Adams has been recalled to St Johnstone and he will certainly be a big miss for us as I was really impressed the way he went about training and thought he had an excellent match last Saturday. We have been fortunate that Hearts have allowed David Witteveen to stay with us for the rest of his loan period and I would personally like to thank them for their co-operation.

Dunfermline will provide a very stern test for us today. They are not at the top of the table for no reason and Jim McIntyre has a very good squad of players who play as a team and we will have to put in a real shift to match them. I understand there will be a big travelling support and that atmosphere will lift both teams to produce a good game.

Your support is vital to everyone at the club.