Stirling Albion 0
Dundee 1
League (First Division)

Stirling Albion 

0 - 1


League (First Division)
Saturday, February 19th, 2011
Forthbank Stadium
Attendance: 1,990
3:00 PM Kick-off

None. Sean Higgins (35)

Team Managers
Jocky Scott Barry Smith

Starting Eleven
1. Scott Christie
2. Brian Allison
3. Scott Buist
4. Greig McDonald
5. Ross Forsyth
6. Michael Doyle
7. Chris Aitken
8. Paul McHale
9. Ryan Borris
10. Michael Mullen
11. Gordon Smith
Robert Douglas .1
Gary Irvine .2
Craig McKeown .3
Rhys Weston .4
Matt Lockwood .5
Nicky Riley .6
Gary Harkins .7
Stephen O'Donnell .8
Craig Forsyth .9
Neil McCann .10
Sean Higgins .11

12. Murray Jackson
14. John Kane
15. Sean Welsh
16. Stephen Stirling
17. Andy Gibson
John Gibson .12
Connor Rennie .14
Barry Smith .15
Jonny Stewart .16
Gary Bartlett .17

Sean Welsh for Greig McDonald (12)
Stephen Stirling for Michael Mullen (68)
Andy Gibson for Chris Aitken (75)
Jonny Stewart for Neil McCann (65)

Ryan Borris (45)
Ross Forsyth (72)
Michael Doyle (74)
Scott Buist (82)
Craig McKeown (17)
Rhys Weston (41)
Robert Douglas (75)

Red Cards
None. Gary Irvine (64)

Match Officials

Brian Winter (Referee)

Photography by David Young

Match Report

Yet again the final whistle was greeted with a roar by the Dundee support, but this time the joy was accompanied by a huge element of relief. After looking comfortably in charge with half an hour to play Gary Irvine's red card turned the match around and left the Dee struggling to hang on against an Albion side who showed plenty of spirit and ability for a team at the bottom of the league.

Irvine's dismissal came on 62 minutes when he tried to win a 50-50 ball with a reckless two footed lunge that caught Ross Forsyth. Defenders might have got away with tackles like that in the bad old days, but Mr Winter was only going to produce one colour of card, and that was red.

Barry Smith immediately sent on Jonathan Stewart to play at night back with Neil McCann having to make way. From then on Dundee's backs were to the wall and it was a long half hour for the Dark Blues.

Dundee had started in confident and composed style keeping Albion pinned back in their own half. However, it was the home side who came closest to an early goal when Smith flicked a comer towards the far post. The header was accurate but lacked power and Riley had plenty of time to hack the ball off the line.

Jocky Scott's game plan was thrown out by a freakish injury to central defender McDonald. He collapsed with no-one near him and had to be stretchered off in obvious pain, apparently with an Achilles tendon injury, according to reports after the match. Stirling switched to a 4-4-2 when Welsh came on.

Dundee's patient passing game paid off after 35 minutes. Matt Lockwood and Stephen O'Donnell worked the ball through to Craig Forsyth, who cleverly sent Lockwood to the byline. His cross was perfect, allowing Sean HIGGINS to crash his header into the top corner from five yards.

Dundee went roaring straight back onto the attack from the kick off and Christie had to parry O'Donnell's fierce shot from 25 yards.

Although Dundee were on top the Binos nearly grabbed an equaliser before half time. Albion worked a free kick that allowed Aitken to shoot round the defensive wall from 22 yards, but Douglas pulled off a great diving save to keep the Dee's lead intact at half time.

Dundee again started the second half confidently, but Albion were still in the game. Mullen slipped neatly away from Weston and it took a marvellous recovery tackle by the Welshman to end the threat.

Dundee kept passing their way patiently around the Albion defence. They looked like taking a firm grip on the game as Albion started to lose their shape in their eagerness to get back on level terms.

Just before the sending off Albion had a dangerous short spell in which they should have equalised. Mullen wasted a great chance when O'Donnell lost the ball in midfield, but the Stirling forward shot carelessly over the bar. Welsh then had a teasing chip from the left that was floating towards the top corner till it was tipped wide by Douglas.

Although Irvine's daft tackle handed control of the game to Stirling they were to regret those misses. For all their possession they struggled to create chances with the extra man. Time and again good attacks ended with poor crosses or optimistic long range shots.

Full back Doyle came closest with a curling shot from distance that Douglas did well to save. The ball looked like it would fall for Gordon Smith, but before he could react Nicky Riley saved the day with a great challenge.

Dundee meanwhile couldn't retain possession and every time they worked the ball out of their half it quickly came back Higgins put in a huge amount of work chasing and harrying, but without support he had a tough time.

As the clock ran out on the Binos Dundee gradually managed to play the game their way. They started to hold possession deep in the Albion half at last, but they were never truly comfortable till the final whistle rang out and the scarves started twirling.

Jocky Scott must be very disappointed that Albion got nothing for their efforts, but he's clearly already made an impact and his team will be much harder to beat in the run in than they have been. This was a great win for Dundee at a ground that is no longer an easy venue for visitors.

Dundee's best performers today were all in defence, where every man had to be at their best. It is unfortunate for Gary Irvine that he will miss Tuesday's visit to Raith. He played well until his red card, for which he has only himself to blame.

So that's 15 matches undefeated and an amazing 31 points from the last 11 games.

Players are taking the field with injuries, and leaving the pitch utterly exhausted. It's asking far too much to expect that they can keep this amazing run going, but every Dundee fan is grateful, filled with pride and admiration that they've been able to sustain it so long.

Match report written by James Christie - Official Dundee website

Squad Statistics (as at February 19th, 2011)

2010-11 All Time
Robert Douglas (GK)38 24 - 215 -
Gary Irvine25 24 - 24 -
Rhys Weston30 22 - 22 -
Matt Lockwood34 213213
Craig McKeown25 271601
Gary Harkins26 2747222
Neil McCann36 219712
Stephen O'Donnell27 252252
Craig Forsyth21 253639
Nicky Riley24 245245
Sean Higgins26 2555712
Jonny Stewart (sub) - 8 - 8 -

League Table (as at February 19th, 2011)

No league table has been added for this season.