Dundee 0
Falkirk 1
League (Championship)

0 - 1

League (Championship)
Saturday, March 29th, 2014
Dens Park
Attendance: 4,919
3:00 PM Kick-off

None. Mark Beck (19)

Team Managers
Paul Hartley
Gary Holt

Starting Eleven
1. Kyle Letheren
25. Adam Cummins
5. Willie Dyer
18. Declan Gallagher
2. Gary Irvine
6. Iain Davidson
20. Jim McAlister
10. Gavin Rae
29. Craig Beattie
23. Martin Boyle
9. Peter MacDonald
Michael McGovern .1
Will Vaulks .6
David McCracken .34
Stephen Kingsley .3
Joe Chalmers .36
Blair Alston .8
Mark Millar .35
Craig Sibbald .10
Conor McGrandles
Rory Loy .33
Mark Beck .7

27. Dan Twardzik
30. Cammy Kerr
11. Ryan Conroy
8. Kevin McBride
7. Nicky Riley
16. Steven Doris
27. Christian Nadé
Graham Bowman .12
Johnny Flynn .5
Luke Leahy .19
Olumide Durojaiye .4
Connor Hogg .29
Scott Shepherd .31
Lewis Small .18

Ryan Conroy for Jim McAlister (55)
Christian Nadé for Craig Beattie (65)
Nicky Riley for Gavin Rae (73)
Luke Leahy for Blair Alston (65)
Olumide Durojaiye for Conor McGrandles (87)
Johnny Flynn for Rory Loy (89)

Gary Irvine (83)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

John McKendrick (Referee)
Kylie McMullan & Scott Lambie (Assistants)

Photography by David Young

Match Report

A 1-0 defeat againt Falkirk at Dens Park today cost Dundee top spot in the Championship on goals scored. Mark Beck scored the only goal for the Bairns in a first half that the Dark Blues dominated. However, Dundee's nerves seemed to get the better of them in a poor second half, in which the sole highlight was a penalty save by Kyle Letheren.

The only change from Tuesday night's winning team was that Craig Beattie replaced Nicky Riley, with Martin Boyle moving to the right wing.

Dundee started well against an uncertain Bairns' defence, that was leaving space in front of the full backs and consistently failed to clear the ball when they had the chance.

The Dark Blues had the first chance after 10 minutes when Peter MacDonald's header from a corner was hacked off the line by Millar. The Dee continued to threaten but the vital goal fell to Falkirk after 19 minutes. Millar's inswinger was headed home at the near post by Mark BECK.

Falkirk were not playing the fluent passing game that has caused Dundee so many problems this season, but they posed a different threat today in the lanky form of Beck, on loan from Carlisle. He might not have been particularly elegant on the ground, but in the air he unsettled the Dundee defence.

Craig Beattie nearly fashioned a quick equaliser. He turned Kingsley brilliantly to run clear, but keeper McGovern managed to block his shot.

Falkirk's next corner nearly led to a goal, but for Dundee. Declan Gallagher won the ball superbly to send Boyle racing down the right. With the Bairns' defenders backtracking he ran on and rolled the ball across for Beattie 14 yards out. The striker should have scored, but went for power rather than accuracy and hit the ball straight at McGovern.

The Dee had a rather fortunate escape themselves when Loy's run set up a scramble in which Grandles and Beck had shots charged down.

The Falkirk defence continued to look vulnerable, but Dundee couldn't force the equaliser. A third golden chance fell to Craig Beattie. MacDonald chested Davidson's cross down, but from eight yards Beattie smashed his shot against the outside of the post.

The Dark Blues defence may have looked more secure than the Bairns', but it was hardly convincing and Dundee had a final let off when Loy's 18 yard shot took a deflection and flew narrowly wide.

Sadly for Dundee they couldn't carve open the Bairns' defence as easily in the second half and they paid the price for squandering their first half chances. Falkirk looked more comfortable sitting back, and their midfield finally started to offer their defence some protection.

Boyle was still lively on the right, and a good run ended with a very poor late challenge by Millar that the officials somehow missed.

Jim McAlister took a head knock bravely challenging for an Irvine cross. Ryan Conroy took his place on the left of midfield. Dundee were exerting plenty of pressure, but there was little composure or conviction and it was the visitors who came closest to scoring again.

Davidson dived into a challenge on Millar who was heading for the byline. He took both man and ball. Referee Mr McKendrick decided it was more man than ball and pointed to the penalty spot. Last week Kyle Letheren saved a spot kick by standing his ground. Today he saved Millar's penalty with a magnificent low save to his left.

This gave the crowd a huge lift and they got right behind the Dee. Christian Nadé came on for Beattie, and then Nicky Riley replaced Rae. Dundee now had three strikers and two wide players, but they lacked a midfield to control the game.

Dundee's desperate attempts to chase an equaliser always left them vulnerable to a Falkirk break. Beck was largely ineffective in the second half, but Rory Loy's probing runs were far more dangerous. His team mates didn't get forward to support him, however, as the Bairns concentrated on watching the clock.

Falkirk's time wasting was largely tolerated by the referee. Mr McKendrick was infuriating the home crowd with some unnecessary fussiness, but Dundee's problems were of their own making and the Dee could have no complaints over the big decisions by the referee today.

Dundee did manage to force the ball into the net in injury time when Gallagher bundled Irvine's cross into the net along with the keeper. Such goals have been allowed recently, but no-one was very surprised when Mr McKendrick refused to allow it.

All Dundee had to show for their second half pressure were some wayward shots from distance and a couple of Boyle shots that were charged down or deflected. All the other attacks petered out with poor final balls and poor choices.

In recent games Dundee have been tight at the back and have taken the few chances that came their way. Today they conceded a disappointingly soft goal then spurned some excellent chances. In the first half they actually played far better than in many recent wins. Without scoring that counts for nothing, and the way that Dundee fell away in the second half disappointed everyone.

The hectic spell of five games in 15 days is now over, with the Dee having taken 10 points but lost the top spot. They now have a week to regroup and prepare for the big showdown at New Douglas Park next week. The Dark Blues will need all the support they can get in what is surely their biggest game for several years.

Match report written by James Christie - Official Dundee website

Squad Statistics (as at March 29th, 2014)

2013-14 All Time
Kyle Letheren (GK)27 36 - 36 -
Adam Cummins21 2 - 2 -
Willie Dyer27 21 - 21 -
Declan Gallagher23 374655
Gary Irvine29 36 - 1542
Iain Davidson30 263664
Jim McAlister28 374799
Gavin Rae36 37129831
Craig Beattie30 154154
Martin Boyle20 281381
Peter MacDonald33 36193619
Nicky Riley (sub)27 26 - 12211
Ryan Conroy (sub)26 34611425
Christian Nadé (sub)29 9191

League Table (as at March 29th, 2014)

No league table has been added for this season.

Manager's Programme Notes

Today we give a warm welcome to the players and staff of Falkirk FC for what I'm sure will be another entertaining match.

This is our second consecutive game at Dens Park, and we know we have to make the home games count in these remaining weeks of the season.

I thought the players were excellent in our last outing versus a very good Queen of the South side. We dominated the game after the break, playing some good football and creating chances, and it was pleasing to get yet another clean sheet.

We wanted to get the crowd behind us from the off by playing a higher tempo of football, and I felt we achieved that. The backing we received from the fans on Tuesday was again tremendous and it just goes to show what an important role they'll have to play in our remaining games.

Falkirk will come here with confidence after also having a good win on Tuesday night. They have some good young players in their ranks and like to pass the ball, so whilst I'm expecting the game to be competitive, I'm also predicting an entertaining encounter with two teams trying to attack.

As I've said many times, keeping clean sheets has been something we've been able to do in most of the games since I've arrived here, and it's something we'll continue to work on. We know we will have to be at our best in that regard again today and they have players who can cause us problems if we allow them the opportunity to do so.

We will have to be at our best all over the pitch, and go forward and defend as a team. The attitude the players have shown in the last six weeks has been nothing short of tremendous and if we continue to keep our work rate as high as it has been, I'm always confident that bit of quality we have in our squad can see us through.