Dundee 2
Cowdenbeath 2
League (First Division)

2 - 2

League (First Division)
Saturday, March 26th, 2011
Dens Park
Attendance: 4,311
3:00 PM Kick-off

Jake Hyde (24)
Jake Hyde (73)
Stevie Crawford (9)
Scott Linton (57)

Team Managers
Barry Smith
Jimmy Nicholl

Starting Eleven
1. Robert Douglas
2. Gary Irvine
3. Craig McKeown
4. Rhys Weston
5. Matt Lockwood
6. Nicky Riley
7. Gary Harkins
8. Stephen O'Donnell
9. Craig Forsyth
10. Jake Hyde
11. Leighton McIntosh
David Hay .1
Kenny Adamson .2
Scott Linton .3
Richard Vauls .4
Mark Baxter .5
Craig Winter .6
Jon Robertson .7
Mark Ramsay .8
Marc McKenzie .9
Stevie Crawford .10
Greg Stewart .11

12. John Gibson
14. Kyle Benedictus
15. Connor Rennie
16. Gary Bartlett
17. Barry Smith
Ludovic Roy .12
Thomas O'Brien .14
Paul Byme .15
Daniel Mackay .16
Lewis Coult .17

None. Thomas O'Brien for Richard Vauls (46)
Lewis Coult for Greg Stewart (90)

Matt Lockwood (62)
Craig McKeown (82)
Lewis Coult (92)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Stephen Finnie (Referee)
Andy Tait & David McGeachie (Assistants)

Photography by David Young

Match Report

Dundee's astonishing unbeaten run started after a defeat at Cowdenbeath. Six months later it could easily have ended against the same side.

Last September Dundee submitted tamely against the Blue Brazil but in this match they dug in and forced a draw when the visitors played far better than their lowly position suggests. They will probably be disappointed that they couldn't win a game after a performance that was a vast improvement on the one they gave at Dens before Christmas.

Stephen O'Donnell returned from injury and Rhys Weston was fit to start after limping off against Dunfermline. Trialist Jake Hyde started again, partnering Leighton McIntosh in attack.

Dundee got off to a sluggish start and it was no surprise when Cowdenbeath opened the scoring. Mark McKenzie had already sent a 20-yard shot fizzing narrowly wide, but after nine minutes the same player swung over a cross for Stevie Crawford to glance a fine header over Rab Douglas and into the top corner. Crawford's header was beautifully executed, but questions should be asked of the defence's failure to challenge him.

Dundee responded well, but hit a sticky patch when they couldn't find a quick equaliser. The Dee looked tired and disjointed for much of the game and struggled to cope with Cowdenbeath's determination to get in their faces and unsettle them.

Happily for the nervous home support Dundee slipped back into the groove for long enough to draw level. Gary Harkins' shot from the edge of the area spun off Hyde and headed for the byline. Nicky Riley was the only player prepared to believe it wasn't going out, sprinted after the ball and crossed for Hyde to score with a diving header.

Dundee went on to dominate the rest of the first half, but the nearest they came to a second goal was when McKeown's header from a corner was saved by keeper David Hay.

Dundee should have taken the lead straight after the start of the second half. O'Donnell and Craig Forsyth cut open the Cowdenbeath defence with surprising ease, but Riley wildly sliced Forsyth's pass into the crowd when he should have at least forced a save from Hay.

Dundee kept plugging away, with Harkins and Riley prominent, but the Fifers still carried a real menace when they attacked.

After 57 minutes Crawford's clever pass allowed John Robertson to race to the line and cross for Scott Linton to score with a simple header very similar to the Dundee goal. This proved to be the start of Cowdenbeath's best spell of the match. They delighted the tiny, but raucous, support from Fife as they went for the third goal, with the clever play of the veteran Crawford a crucial aspect of their fine performance.

They nearly got a third goal following a free kick when the ball broke to McKenzie by the far post. He thrashed at it, but Gary Irvine's block deflected the ball over the bar.

Dundee gradually reasserted themselves and started to mount attacks without looking convincing. The outlook for the Dee was looking bleak, and the fans' singing seemed to reflect defiance rather than confidence.

The breakthrough came from a defensive mistake when Cowdenbeath's centre back Craig Winter missed a through ball from Matt Lockwood. Forsyth raced clear, drew the keeper and cut the ball across for Hyde to tap in a simple equaliser.

Dundee could have quickly taken the lead, but McKeown wasted a free header from a corner, sending the ball well over.

Dundee were looking far more confident now, but that proved to be their last chance. Cowdenbeath refused to settle for a point and mounted some serious attacks in the hope of grabbing a winner. Robertson carelessly fired high and wide from the best of these after being set up by Crawford. By the end, many of the Dundee players seemed tired and I suspect some were carrying injuries. McIntosh and Hyde looked exhausted after ninety minutes of hard running and a tough physical battle.

The strikers again showed plenty of promise, but both they and the midfield were hampered by their lack of experience playing together, and their lack of mutual understanding. This was one of those games when the players and supporters were looking for something special from captain Harkins to grab the points. Gary seemed fully aware of the responsibility and was prepared to take risks with the ball in the Cowdenbeath half to try and prise open the defence. He never hid, or took the safe and negative option, but here it didn't quite work out.

There are bound to be games when this Dundee side can't play to their full potential, but they never give up, or sulk if things aren't working out. If they can't play with the style that they would like then they graft hard to make sure that they don't lose.

This was the last game in which Dundee were able to use trialists. Now the task becomes harder. The Dundee players have been magnificent to keep the unbeaten league run going this long. That has shown tremendous character and a steely determination to keep going regardless of knocks and minor injuries that might have prompted some players to ask for a rest.

Match report written by James Christie - Official Dundee website

Squad Statistics (as at March 26th, 2011)

2010-11 All Time
Robert Douglas (GK)38 32 - 223 -
Matt Lockwood34 294294
Rhys Weston30 30 - 30 -
Gary Irvine26 311311
Craig McKeown26 341671
Stephen O'Donnell27 322322
Gary Harkins26 3548022
Nicky Riley24 325325
Craig Forsyth22 3367112
Leighton McIntosh18 8 - 8 -
Jake Hyde20 2323

League Table (as at March 26th, 2011)

No league table has been added for this season.

Manager's Programme Notes

Once again the players dug deep on Tuesday night to get us a valuable point and get us nearer to safety. We went 1-0 down to a great strike from Alex Burke but there were things we could have done better to prevent him getting that shot on goal. However the lads came out in the second half and got back into the game and scored what I felt was a thoroughly deserved equaliser. I didn't think either side really deserved to win but we were still pleased to get a point. Every point will be vital come the end of the season, we would have preferred three points don't get me wrong but the one point we got was welcome. When you go down against a team challenging for the title it will always be hard to come back into the game but once again the lads simply never gave in and showed their determination to keep us in this Division.

The atmosphere on Tuesday night was once again fantastic and I am delighted that the players and supporters recognise each others efforts at the end of the game. I have said this since I was fortunate to take over as manager that we are all in this situation together and will come through it together.

We will need your backing like we got at Falkirk and on Tuesday night in the remaining games of the season. The contribution of the several trialists who have been willing to help us out in recent weeks has been valuable but after today that will not be possible.

I have been delighted with the spirit of the side and I know that whatever side I will play until the end of the season they will battle for this Club. That means I will be calling on some of the young boys but I know them well from my time with the U-19 side and in recent months they have all been involved with the first team squad. I know that when they go out there they will give me all they have got. The good thing is we've got a lot of experienced pros and good boys in the dressing room that will pull the young ones through. The young ones will not let us down, but they need that wee bit of help from the coaches, the senior pros and you the fans.