Dundee 1
Falkirk 1
League (Championship)

1 - 1

League (Championship)
Saturday, November 16th, 2013
Dens Park
Attendance: 4,661
3:00 PM Kick-off

Ryan Conroy (pen.) (24)
Luke Leahy (93)

Team Managers
John Brown
Gary Holt

Starting Eleven
1. Kyle Letheren
3. Matt Lockwood
2. Gary Irvine
18. Declan Gallagher
6. Iain Davidson
10. Gavin Rae
7. Nicky Riley
11. Ryan Conroy
20. Jim McAlister
33. Craig Wighton
9. Peter MacDonald
Michael McGovern .1
Kieran Duffie .2
David McCracken .34
Will Vaulks .6
Stephen Kingsley .3
Tyler Fulton .7
Mark Millar .35
Conor McGrandles .11
Craig Sibbald .10
Rory Loy .33
Philip Roberts .9

27. Dan Twardzik
21. James Thomson
8. Kevin McBride
4. Stephen O'Donnell
23. Martin Boyle
15. Carlo Monti
16. Steven Doris
Graham Bowman .12
Johnny Flynn .5
Luke Leahy .19
Olumide Durojaiye .4
Blair Alston .8
Rakish Bingham .13
Scott Shepherd .31

Kevin McBride for Craig Wighton (70)
Carlo Monti for Nicky Riley (92)
Johnny Flynn for David McCracken (53)
Blair Alston for Craig Sibbald (59)
Luke Leahy for Kieran Duffie (72)

Jim McAlister (27)
Peter MacDonald (77)
Declan Gallagher (82)
Mark Millar (20)
Will Vaulks (56)
Philip Roberts (82)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Stevie O'Reilly (Referee)
Willie Conquer & Andy Milne (Assistants)

Photography by David Young

Match Report

A below par Dundee dropped two valuable points against Falkirk in the Championship today. After taking the lead with a Ryan Conroy penalty in the first half the Dark Blues conceded a bizarre 93rd minute equaliser when the ball cannoned off Luke Leahy's head and into the net. The Bairns' goal may have been freakish but the visitors were well worth a draw; it took two outstanding saves by Kyle Letheren to prevent an earlier equaliser.

Dundee were unchanged from last week. Craig Beattie wasn't fit enough to take a place on the bench where he was replaced by Stephen O'Donnell, a welcome sight after being unavailable through injury since the January 2nd.

Dundee had marginally the better of the first half, but that was largely due to the vulnerability of the Bairns' defence rather than Dundee dominating the play. Nicky Riley was a constant threat and created several moments of panic in the visitors' defence.

The Falkirk centre backs had not looked comfortable and it was no surprise when the opening goal came from a defensive error. Will Vaulks was a couple of yards inside the penalty area when he needlessly threw both hands into the air to block a MacDonald cross. Ryan CONROY was back on spot kick duties after MacDonald's miss against Livingston and he confidently struck the penalty home.

Twice in recent weeks Dundee have conceded soft equalisers immediately after taking the lead. Again the Dark Blues gave the supporters an agonising couple of minutes following the goal. Gary Irvine nodded a harmless long ball backwards and past Letheren, who had already started coming out to collect the ball. The home crowd looked on aghast as the ball trundled towards the net. Happily Iain Davidson prevented a ludicrously embarrassing own goal by racing back to scoop the ball off the line.

Within seconds Falkirk did get the ball into the net when McGrandles poked home a free kick, but the assistant referee's flag was up and the support breathed another sigh of relief.

The Bairns should have scored when Philip Roberts sped past Irvine and into the penalty area. Instead of shooting he served up a great chance for Rory Loy who seemed certain to score, but Kyle Letheren raced forward to pull off a fantastic save.

The second half was long, tense and frustrating as a disjointed Dundee tried and failed to seal victory. Meanwhile the fast moving visitors always looked capable of grabbing an equaliser, though their neat football and movement was often undermined by poor decisions and impetuosity in the final third. Jay Fulton provided a good example of these failings when he skinned Nicky Riley on the left and then tried to score from an impossible angle. Letheren duly saved while Fulton's team mates were screaming for a cut back.

That save was routine, but the next was was something special. Roberts pace was causing Dundee problems. He raced clear down the left and cut in to try and curl a shot round Letheren, but the keeper brilliantly tipped the ball round the post.

Dundee meanwhile had plenty of possession, but like the visitors they were struggling to find the right final ball. With 20 minutes to go John Brown replaced Craig Wighton with Kevin McBride. Nicky Riley had been having a fine match and moved into a central striking role, leaving the right midfield slot for McBride, presumably to provide better cover than the more adventurous Riley could offer.

As the clock wound down Falkirk had two more chances. Substitute Flynn lashed at a loose ball 15 yards out, but his shot was too close to Letheren who nevertheless did well to hold it. Luke Leahy, also a substitute, should have done better than to turn a cross over the bar from a few yards out, admittedly under pressure from Irvine.

As Falkirk pushed men forward Dundee threatened to grab a killer second goal on the break. Twice the Dee broke clear with men over. The first time MacDonald chose to shoot rather than crossing, but McGovern saved well, turning his chip over the bar. The second break broke down messily when MacDonald fluffed his pass after cleverly making space.

Dundee seemed to have weathered the storm but two and a half minutes into stoppage time Falkirk conjured up a fluky equaliser. Kevin McBride's arrival had stiffened the right side of the defence, but it was from that area that the goal came. Loy managed to reach the byline and his fierce cross was deflected into the face of LEAHY and the ball looped agonisingly past Letheren and inside the post. It was a hard one for the Dundee support to take, but no-one would have complained if a more orthodox equaliser had arrived earlier.

Today the Dark Blues lacked the drive and cohesion that they've shown recently in their good run. The Bairns' defence was vulnerable, but the Dee rarely troubled them after half time. The passing and movement were not good enough and it would have been harsh on Falkirk if they'd not managed to equalise, however late and lucky the goal might have been.

In September Dundee played very poorly against the Bairns and deservedly lost. Today they were far better, but still some way short of the standards the players should be setting. If today's disappointing performance is repeated against Hamilton next week then there is a real danger that Accies will open up a lead in the Championship that will be difficult to pull back.

Match report written by James Christie - Official Dundee website

Squad Statistics (as at November 16th, 2013)

2013-14 All Time
Kyle Letheren (GK)26 18 - 18 -
Gary Irvine28 17 - 1352
Matt Lockwood37 11 - 11310
Declan Gallagher22 182463
Gavin Rae35 18127931
Iain Davidson29 131532
Jim McAlister28 181606
Ryan Conroy26 1849823
Nicky Riley27 13 - 10911
Peter MacDonald32 18121812
Craig Wighton16 5151
Kevin McBride (sub)32 142523
Carlo Monti (sub)23 112112

League Table (as at November 16th, 2013)

No league table has been added for this season.

Manager's Programme Notes

I'd like to start by offering the Directors, supporters, players and staff of Falkirk F.C a warm welcome to Dens Park Stadium.

We know we face a tough challenge against another very good Championship side. Gary Holt and his staff have continued the excellent work started by Steve Pressley, and they will continue to improve I'm sure as he stamps his own mark on his team. Falkirk are a team that has continually impressed me over recent times as they try to play football in the correct way, and continually produce some very good young players.

After an indifferent October, they will be coming here on a high on the back of a great victory over Livingston last week. There's no doubt as well that we were well beaten last time our teams met at The Falkirk Stadium so we will be looking to reverse that today on our own turf, but our players will have to be at their very best to do so. Falkirk totally dominated us that day, and although it was one of our poorest performances of the season to date that's taking nothing away from them as they thoroughly deserved the points.

I thought it was a good day all round last Saturday as we won a big three points against Raith Rovers. I said before the game that it would be tough, as they were on a fantastic run of form, but I felt that we took our chances when they came around and were unlucky perhaps not to score more.

Undoubtedly the sending off helped us in terms of being able to dictate the pace of the game, but even when both teams were at full strength I thought we looked confident and in control.

Our boys have reason to be confident too given our good form of late. On the whole, we have been defending well and scoring some good goals and we'll look to continue that this afternoon. We have also showed a resilience at home recently and will be looking to carry that on.

Having over five thousand supporters at Dens Park last Saturday was incredible, and again shows that this club in so many ways should be in the Scottish Premiership. We have a duty to give the fans the best team possible, and I think Dundee people have always responded to honest endeavour and hard work. Hopefully that's part of what they've enjoyed seeing over the past while, and combined with the quality we have, will be enough to get us the right result again come quarter to five.