Dundee 4
Ayr United 1
League (First Division)

4 - 1
Ayr Utd 

League (First Division)
Tuesday, March 27th, 2012
Dens Park
Attendance: 3,136
7:45 PM Kick-off

Jamie McCluskey (20)
Steven Milne (61)
Jake Hyde (91)
Ryan Conroy (93)
Mark Roberts (77)

Team Managers
Barry Smith
Brian Reid

Starting Eleven
1. Robert Douglas
2. Gary Irvine
3. Kyle Benedictus
4. Craig McKeown
5. Matt Lockwood
6. Jamie McCluskey
7. Stephen O'Donnell
8. Kevin McBride
9. Ryan Conroy
10. Steven Milne
11. Leighton McIntosh

12. John Gibson
14. Ross Chisholm
15. Jamie Reid
16. Graham Bayne
17. Jake Hyde
Keigan Parker .12
Ross Robertson .14
Ryan McWilliams .15
Gareth Armstrong .16
Ryan McWilliams .17

Graham Bayne for Steven Milne (88)
Jake Hyde for Leighton McIntosh (88)
Keigan Parker for Eddie Malone (13)

Matt Lockwood (87)
Graham Bayne (92)
Jonathan Tiffoney (62)
Alan Trouten (89)
Keigan Parker (94)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Iain Brines (Referee)
Charlie Smith & Craig Young (Assistants)

Photography by Dee Archive

Match Report

Wow! How strange was that game? Dundee beat Ayr United 4-1 at Dens Park tonight, but bizarrely this was a game the visitors will feel they might have won. After Jamie McCluskey gave Dundee a first half lead, Steven Milne made it two before Roberts pulled a goal back for Ayr.

When the clock turned over to 90 minutes it was still 2-1 with Ayr frantically chasing an equaliser. If you'd told a Dundee supporter at that point that there were still two more goals to come the reaction might have been panic. As it transpired Dundee raced away with the match in injury time and scored twice more through Jake Hyde and Ryan Conroy to leave the visitors seething with frustration and send the home supporters out of the ground laughing and checking with each other that it really had finished 4-1.

There were two changes from the draw with Raith Rovers. Neither Leighton McIntosh nor Kyle Benedictus were in the squad on Saturday, but both came straight into the starting line-up tonight. Finnigan and McGregor dropped out with injuries.

Ayr had their own injury problems too. Unfortunately the popular ex-Dee Eddie Malone lasted only 10 minutes before picking up an injury that sent him limping out of the match. Ayr were forced into an attacking substitution with striker Keigan Parker coming on up front, while Moffat moved back to midfield, and Dodd from midfield to left back.

The new left back didn't look happy against Jamie McCluskey and the Dundee winger soon caught him out. Stephen O'Donnell lofted a long pass over the stand in full back. McCLUSKEY raced after it, touched the ball inside the defender and from 15 yards rifled the ball through Cuthbert's legs and into the net.

Ayr could have been quickly back on level terms when Geggan was twice allowed free headers from corners. The first was the harder chance, and he headed well wide, but he should have scored with the second instead of powering the ball over the bar. Dundee's defence continued to struggle at set pieces and never looked comfortable with the ball in the air.

Dundee should have had a second goal before half time. O'Donnell put in a strong challenge to stop Ayr breaking. Conroy released Lockwood on the left, but McIntosh thrashed the ball over the bar from 10 yards when he should have scored.

Ayr came close themselves on the stroke of half time when Douglas managed to beat away McGowan's low free kick at the near post.

If the first half had seen some sloppy defending and near misses that was nothing compared to what the second half gave us. Dundee opened promisingly and a fine Conroy pass over the top of the defence gave Milne the opportunity to wheel onto the ball and shoot, but just wide. Conroy then ended a clever passing move with a 20 yard shot that narrowly over.

Ayr were soon on the attack themselves and gave Dundee a huge scare. Moffat's angled volley from a Roberts' cross forced a good save from Douglas. The ball spun up in the air, Moffat followed in and seemed certain to score. His header was looping over Douglas, but the veteran keeper showed astonishing agility to get back and somehow paw the ball round the post for a corner as the Ayr players were already starting to celebrate a goal.

Both defences continued to look vulnerable, but happily for Dundee it was Ayr who switched off completely to concede an atrocious second goal. Benedictus was slightly short with a pass back to Douglas, who responded by lashing the ball as high and as far as he could into the Ayr half. Leighton McIntosh was several yards offside, heading back towards his own goal. The Ayr defenders were all watching him, and completely failed to notice Steven Milne running through from an onside position. MILNE pulled the ball down as if it was a training session and ran on to fire past Cuthbert from 15 yards, leaving the defence open mouthed and red faced.

2-0 up against a team struggling at the foot of the table with half an hour to play. The points should have been safe, but that would have been too easy and boring. Dundee did it the hard way. Things started to get tricky now!

First Moffat cracked a shot off the bar after the Dundee defence failed to clear yet another corner. Then Roberts glanced a header onto the base of Douglas's post from a Tiffoney cross. Tiffoney followed that up with a great run through the middle that was ended by a last ditch tackle by McKeown.

Stephen O'Donnell might have scored at the other end when his 18 yard shot took a huge deflection and looped gently over the bar with the keeper already committed.

Finally Ayr got the goal they deserved after 77 minutes. Parker reached they byline on the right and crossed beyond the far post. Moffat headed fown and Roberts turned the ball in from six yards.

Ayr were having far too much joy with driving attacks through the middle, and one of these should have brought an equaliser with 10 minutes to go. Tiffoney slipped the ball through the to send Parker clear. Douglas blocked, but the ball broke free for Parker. With only McKeown on the line to beat the Ayr striker mishit his shot horribly and sent the ball scudding harmlessly into a relieved Bobby Cox Stand.

Barry Smith replaced Milne and McIntosh wth Jake Hyde and Graham Bayne for the last few minutes. It was Hyde who got the goal that finally allowed the Dundee fans to heave a huge sigh of relief. Just after the match had entered injury time Kevin McBride hit a great ball over the the top allowing HYDE to run in from the left. He nodded the ball into his path, ran into the penalty area and clipped a beautiful finish round the advancing Cuthbert.

Dundee then proceeded to rub salt in Ayr's wounds by adding a cruel fourth goal. It involved an outrageously cheeky piece of skill from Jamie McCluskey. Ayr had lost their shape charging forward, and when the ball was cleared to McCluskey he cut infield and performed a bewildering spinning pirouette over the ball that might have been considered showboating if it hadn't been so effective in losing the covering players and leaving him in space. McCluskey then hit a peach of a pass to let Ryan CONROY run clear and score his 10th goal of the season.

That was that, and the players left the field as the DJ played the highly appropriate "That's Entertainment" by the Jam. Entertaining it certainly was, but there's no doubt that Dundee were flattered by tonight's score. Both defences had poor games. Dundee got away with it. Ayr were punished ruthlessly.

Dundee could have lost this game, and Ayr might consider themselves unlucky. However, you don't have to be Alan Hansen to acknowledge that if you miss your chances and you're wide open at the back then things are likely to turn out messy.

It was clear that Ayr's defence was horribly vulnerable to diagonal balls over the top. If Dundee had been more accurate with these passes it could have been a much easier victory, and the Dee wouldn't have had to rely on Big Rab, and sloppy finishing from the visitors.

The defence will certainly have to tighten up, and the midfield will have to provide more effective cover. Still, four goals, a highly entertaining match, and three points; not such a bad evening at Dens. But I still find it hard to believe it ended up as our biggest home win of the season.

Match report written by James Christie - Official Dundee website

Squad Statistics (as at March 27th, 2012)

2011-12 All Time
Robert Douglas (GK)39 37 - 265 -
Kyle Benedictus20 9 - 44 -
Gary Irvine27 371732
Matt Lockwood35 374729
Craig McKeown27 28 - 1001
Ryan Conroy24 36103610
Kevin McBride30 6 - 6 -
Jamie McCluskey24 314314
Stephen O'Donnell28 342725
Leighton McIntosh19 151275
Steven Milne31 321414939
Graham Bayne (sub)32 20 - 431
Jake Hyde (sub)21 276299

League Table (as at March 27th, 2012)

No league table has been added for this season.

Manager's Programme Notes

I think there is no doubt Ross County left Dundee the happier team when we played them in our last home game here at Dens. Although it was pleasing to again show the mental strength to come back from a goal down, losing goals in that manner is something we have been working hard on, and we will continue to do so between now and the end of the season.

I was delighted to go to a tough venue and get the win at Livingston last week. It's always difficult to come up against a team with a new manager, and especially as we won so convincingly when we played them last in January, we were expecting a tight game. That proved to be the case, and although it was disappointing to go 2-1 down at one stage, the character and resilience of the players once again shone through.

We've seen these qualities many times in the past few weeks, and it was great to be able to get the 3 points after a succession of draws. We need to go on a winning run from now until the season's end, and hopefully this will be the start of it.

Having had our usual routine disrupted slightly with this game being played this evening as opposed to a Saturday, we have tried to keep the boys as sharp as possible. This included a bounce game against Aberdeen on Tuesday. We put out a very strong team in what was an extremely worthwhile exercise against good quality opposition.

Mark Fotheringham was one of the players who played in that game, and I was greatly encouraged with his performance, and even more delighted now that he has now joined us until the end of the season. Mark is a player I know well, he has played at a good level, knows the club and the fans, and I'm sure you'll all welcome him back to Dundee. A

yr United have had some impressive results of late, and despite being above them in the league, we know they have quality in their ranks. I've said many times that there are no easy games in this league, and we'll again have to be at our best if we are to get the win.

I know the supporters will continue to back us, and we'll continue to do our best as always.