Dundee 2
Greenock Morton 0
League (Championship)

2 - 0

League (Championship)
Saturday, March 1st, 2014
Dens Park
Attendance: 4,488
3:00 PM Kick-off

Christian Nadé (13)
Peter MacDonald (86)

Team Managers
Paul Hartley
Kenny Shiels

Starting Eleven
1. Kyle Letheren
18. Declan Gallagher
2. Gary Irvine
5. Willie Dyer
17. Kyle Benedictus
10. Gavin Rae
8. Kevin McBride
20. Jim McAlister
23. Martin Boyle
9. Peter MacDonald
27. Christian Nadé
Derek Gaston .1
Jamie McCormack .44
Darren Cole .40
Stuart Findlay .6
3Marc Fitzpatrick .3
Barrie Mckay .19
Scott Taggart .2
Fouad Bachirou .21
David O'Brien .11
Gary O'Connor .15
Rowan Vine .18

27. Dan Twardzik
3. Matt Lockwood
30. Cammy Kerr
6. Iain Davidson
7. Nicky Riley
28. Sean Bonnett-Johnson
33. Craig Wighton
Lewis McIntyre .20
Tam O'Ware .22
Mark Russell .28
Cameron O'Neil .33
Aiden Fulton .26
Archie Campbell .10
David McNeil .27
Jack Smith .17

Iain Davidson for Gavin Rae (79)
Nicky Riley for Christian Nadé (83)
Archie Campbell for Rowan Vine (70)
Aiden Fulton for Jamie McCormack (83)

Willie Dyer (57)
Christian Nadé (58)
Declan Gallagher (75)
Martin Boyle (91)
Fouad Bachirou (67)
Marc Fitzpatrick (82)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

George Salmond (Referee)
Raymond White & Lorraine Clark (Assistants)

Photography by David Young

Match Report

The Dark Blues got back into the winning groove and retained their place at the top of the Championship with a 2-0 over Morton at Dens Park this afternoon. An early goal from the impressive Christian Nadé and a late clincher from Peter MacDonald gave Dundee a well deserved victory. In between the Dee dominated, but couldn't turn some clever play into the goals that would have given them a more emphatic win.

Paul Hartley made one change from last week's disappointing defeat against Cowdenbeath. Carlo Monti dropped out and Christian Nadé came in for his first appearance at Dens Park. The Dark Blues took up an aggressive 4-4-2 formation, with Boyle and McAlister pushing in from the flanks and both full backs galloping forward to provide width.

Dundee's hard working pressing in the Morton half made life difficult for the Morton defence, who did themselves no favours by repeatedly dallying on the ball. Christian Nadé nearly snatched an eary goal when he robbed Cole 30 yards out. He dribbled round goalkeeper Gaston, but his angled shot was cleared off the line by Findlay.

Nadé didn't have long to wait for his first goal for the Dee. MacDonald played the ball out to Boyle, who hit a perfectly flighted cross that allowed NADÉ to score with a firm header from 8 yards out.

The big centre forward could have made it two only a minute later. His glancing header from McAlister's cross drifted agonisingly wide of the far post with Boyle arriving just too late to turn it in.

Boyle then skinned full back Fitzpatrick with lovely wing play and pulled the ball back for MacDonald whose shot was blocked.

Morton came into the game more later in the half, but couldn't turn possession into a real goal threat. Vine and O'Connor each had fleeting half chances, but neither could get the power or direction into their shots to trouble Letheren.

Dundee started the second half brightly and Derek Gaston in the Morton goal had to work hard to keep out the eager Dark Blues. First he had to turn a fierce Boyle shot wide. Next he pulled off a fine close range save from McAlister, who had combined cleverly with Boyle. The ball broke free to Rae, who set up MacDonald but he scooped the ball over the bar from 16 yards.

Jim McAlister robbed Bachirou in midfield, allowing MacDonald to run down the left. He cut inside and forced Gaston to parry his fierce shot.

Dundee's invention and clever close passing in the final third should really have led to more goals, but frustratingly the Dee couldn't get the crucial second goal. Christian Nadé came desperately close to a goal that would have been the talk of the Dundee pubs this evening. With his back to goal in a crowded penalty area he turned and danced through the Morton defence, only to pull his shot inches past the post.

The home fans were warming to the French centre forward, whose good control and hard work created plenty of space and good possession for his teammates. He got a big round of applause when a clearance was battered upfield in his direction. As the ball was whizzing past him waist high Nadé stretched out a foot and pulled the ball down under perfect control - as smoothly and nonchalantly as a fan picking up the half time pie.

Not surprisingly when he was substituted after 82 minutes he received a standing ovation. The applause was repeated moments later when he was inevitably named the sponsor's Man of the Match.

Nicky Riley came on to give the Morton defence new problems with his pace and mobility. The visitors had been huffing and puffing, but were struggling to get through a solid looking Dee back line. They failed to make any chances in the second half, but perhaps should have done better when Lindsay headed wide from a corner.

The longer the game went on the more ragged Morton looked as they tried to push men forward, making more space for Dundee to attack. Morton's frustration boiled over into a bizarre confrontation that entertained the fans in the Bobby Cox when Findlay and Fitzpatrick raged at each other about who should have been picking up Martin Boyle. It looked like the two defenders were going to settle the dispute with their fists and referee Mr Salmond had to act as a peacemaker.

Finally, four minutes from the end, Dundee scored the goal they needed to allow the fans to relax. McAlister slipped the ball through for Boyle whose shot was well saved by Gaston, only for Peter MACDONALD to pounce and tap the ball into the empty goal.

There was still time for one scare at the other end, when Campbell broke through. However, Kyle Benedictus pulled off a great last ditch tackle to rob the substitute. His timing had to be perfect or it would have meant a penalty, red card and one match suspension.

In injury time Dundee buzzed around the Morton penalty area, threatening to add more pain to the broken visitors. In the end they had to settle for a two goal win. The score should really should have been more convincing, but this was a satisfactory win and performance, even though it was against the bottom team.

Last week Dundee lacked guile and invention. Today there was plenty of both. If the forward players continue to link up as well as they did today, if they keep working hard and pressing defences into mistakes, then we will see enough goals to keep the fans happy.

At the back it was good to see the defence back to their usual solid form, and the centre backs looked comfortable all afternoon even though the full backs were pushing forward aggressively.

There is still plenty of room for improvement, and in particular the finishing and decision making in the final third should be better. With a little more composure Dundee could have put a fragile Morton defence through the wringer today, The Dark Blues made life unnecessarily difficult by taking so long to score the vital second. However, this was a good all round performance today that sets the minimum standard for the run in to the end of the season.

Match report written by James Christie - Official Dundee website

Squad Statistics (as at March 1st, 2014)

2013-14 All Time
Kyle Letheren (GK)27 31 - 31 -
Declan Gallagher23 324605
Kyle Benedictus22 15 - 941
Willie Dyer27 16 - 16 -
Gary Irvine28 31 - 1492
Gavin Rae36 32129331
Jim McAlister28 324749
Kevin McBride32 253634
Christian Nadé29 5151
Peter MacDonald33 31173117
Martin Boyle20 241341
Iain Davidson (sub)30 212613
Nicky Riley (sub)27 21 - 11711

League Table (as at March 1st, 2014)

No league table has been added for this season.

Manager's Programme Notes

On behalf of the coaching staff and myself I'd like to welcome the players and staff of Greenock Morton to Dens Park this afternoon.

We know there are no easy encounters in the Championship, and we will need to be at our best again today to get 3 points against Kenny Sheils' side who are battling for every point. Kenny has made some shrewd signings since taking the reins at Cappielow and they'll be keen to kick start their season; we have to be ready to match their work rate and rely on the quality that we have to see us through.

This is my second game as manager at Dens Park, and we'll be looking to mirror the performance that won us the game when we played Hamilton Accies here a couple of weeks ago. We took the game to our opponents from the off and created good chances and were unlucky not to hit the back of the net more than once.

Following another good result and spirited display two weeks ago in Dumfries against Queen of the South, it was disappointing to take nothing from the game in Fife last Saturday.

We knew we would face a tough afternoon at Central Park last week and Cowdenbeath made it very difficult for us. That being said though, we all know we have to play better as a team. There wasn't much in the game at all until they scored. I would say we were on top for the majority of the game, and were caught out when pressing for the equaliser.

But we have no time to lick our wounds; we have to move on quickly and that's exactly what we've been working hard to do in training all week. There are 11 games left and hopefully we can again find our best form quickly starting today.

The backing that the fans have given the team, and also myself, since I've been here has been incredible and I'd like to thank everyone for that. To have over five thousand here for our last home game gave the players a massive lift walking on to the pitch, and hopefully there will be similar numbers today. The fans can certainly play their part between now and the end of the season by continuing to back the players as they have done during the last three games.

The large numbers we've had following the team all season shows to me and to everybody watching that this club should be back in the Premiership, and we're working very hard behind the scenes to ensure that's exactly where we'll be come May.