1 - 2
1 - 2
Kane Hemmings (4)
Juanma Delgado (pen. 55)
Juanma Delgado (60)
1. Scott Bain
3. Kevin Holt
5. James McPake
19. Paul McGinn
16. Julen Etxabeguren
29. Gary Harkins
10. Kevin Thomson
17. Nick Ross
18. Paul McGowan
7. Greg Stewart
15. Kane Hemmings
12. David Mitchell
6. Daryll Meggatt
30. Cammy Kerr
4. Thomas Konrad
2. Gary Irvine
11. Simon Ferry
14. Phillip Roberts
Sam Nicholson for Osman Sow (54)
Billy King for Juwon Oshaniwa (76)
Gavin Reilly for Juanma Delgado (80)
Gary Harkins (54)
Kevin Thomson (67)
Kane Hemmings (77)
Paul McGinn (81)
Prince Buaben (11)
Callum Paterson (42)
Alim Öztürk (45+1)
Blazej Augustyn (77)
Craig Thomson (Referee)
The Dark Blues went down to a disappointing 2-1 defeat at home to Hearts in the season's first league game at Dens. Dundee had the better of the first half and led at half time through an early Kane Hemmings header. Two goals by Juanma early in the second half gave Hearts the lead and they successfully killed the game after that. Most of the good football and entertainment came in a thrilling first half, but the way Hearts ground out their win in the second half will have delighted their supporters and shows that they will be a strong force in this season's Premiership.
The Dark Blues made two changes: James McPake returned from suspension and Thomas Konrad dropped onto the bench, while Paul McGowan came in for the injured Rory Loy. Hearts made one change. Nigerian international left back Jowan Oshaniwa replaced midfielder Sam Nicholson.
Right from the start Dundee clicked into the slick attacking style on display last week. Kane Hemmings showed great skill to take a McGinn pass on the right and burrow his way through the Hearts defence. Alexander did well to turn his shot round the post, but the Hearts keeper was left helpless when the corner came over. Greg Stewart took a short corner to McGowan, who returned it for Stewart to dink a delightful cross over for HEMMINGS to guide his header into the net with four minutes gone.
Dundee were knocking the ball around confidently and causing Hearts serious problems with their inventive movement and passing. However, in Hearts first serious attack after 13 minutes they should have scored. Juanma touched Buaben's deep cross on for Walker, who had only Bain to beat. The Dee keeper saved magnificently at close range, and looked on gratefully as the off-balance Jambos' midfielder sent his follow up header sailing over the bar.
Dundee should have punished that miss, but wasted a great chance of their own only a minute later. Hemmings burst into the penalty area on the left and rolled the ball across for Paul McGowan, who should have left Alexander without a hope. The Dee midfielder didn't get enough on his shot and Alexander's blocking save took enough pace off the ball for it to be scrambled off the line.
The match continued in exciting fashion as Dundee missed another wonderful chance. The Dark Blues sliced Hearts' defence open with a clever free kick; Harkins shot wide at the near post after Stewart had played him in.
After a frantic opening 20 minutes dominated by the Dee Hearts started to come back into the game. The visitors were more competitive in midfield and Dundee eased back on the pace, concentrating on keeping possession and trying to stop Hearts building any momentum.
It was Hearts turn next to miss a great chance when Dundee's defence struggled to deal with a corner. The second ball in found the Spanish striker right in front of goal with the easiest of chances, but he appalled the Hearts support behind the goal by heading wide. The final chances of the half fell to Dundee. Nick Ross found space on the left after linking beautifully with Stewart, and his low cross was almost turned in by Hemmings at the near post, but Alexander blocked for a corner. The Hearts keeper had to make another great save before the break, getting down to parry Holt's header from Harkins' chipped cross.
Hearts reorganised at half time, pushing left back Oshinawa forward into midfield, moving Ozturk back into central defence and Rossi out to left back. They quickly threatened the home goal but Walker's dangerous low cross into the goalmouth found no Hearts players.
Twice in quick succession Kevin Holt caused Hearts problems down the left, but Dundee were now finding it much harder to play the game they wanted in midfield. There were fewer opportunities for the front players and the signs were ominous. Hearts' big defenders were causing Dundee problems from set pieces, and 10 minutes into the second half the Dark Blues were caught out from a corner. The first ball floated beyond the crowded goalmouth, but when it was returned James McPake could have no complaints when a Hearts' header caught his outstretched hand and Mr Thomson awarded a penalty.
JUANMA rolled the ball into the corner with Bain going the wrong way, and Hearts were right back in the game. The Dark Blues' defence had been looking composed in open play, but disappointingly gave away a quick second goal. Only five minutes after the equaliser play broke down thirty yards from Dundee's goal. Players from both sides dived in, and when the ball broke free JUANMA had far too much space to run in, cut inside and clip the ball past Bain.
After struggling to contain Dundee's attacking in the first half Hearts now strangled the life out of the game, pressing Dundee hard in midfield and not giving the Dark Blues' danger men an inch of space. The flowing football and thrills were at an end as Hearts professionally saw out the game. Dundee did put a few neat moves together, but the Hearts defence was always in place to snuff out the danger.
Holt popped up in attack again with another dangerous far post header from McGinn's cross, but Ozturk cleared the ball past his own post. Harkins and Stewart worked a neat passing move, only for Harkins' run into the box to be blocked by Paterson, with the home fans appealing for a penalty Mr Thomson never looked like giving.
After that Dundee struggled to get close to Alexander's goal, and could have conceded a bad third goal when they carelessly lost possession coming out of defence. Substitute Billy King set up Walker, but his low drive was well taken by Bain.
This was a game that Dundee should have taken something from. The loss of Rory Loy meant that Greg Stewart had to play further forward and he couldn't find the space he exploited so successfully last week. Dundee nevertheless played very well in the first half, and should have put the game out of Hearts' reach. The Jam Tarts couldn't build attacks as impressively as the Dark Blues, but it was an ominous sign that they could nevertheless fashion two great chances. Hearts were always dangerous when they sent their big defenders forward for set pieces, and that was the route from which the equaliser came. The winning goal was entirely avoidable, but the key to the match was Hearts midfield, which was far more effective and competitive in the second half and ensured that the visitors were able to dictate the game after taking the lead. Frustratingly, Dundee failed to put the match out of Hearts reach when it was the Dark Blues midfield that was in charge.
It shouldn't be forgotten that four players were making their competitive debut at Dens Park today. All four, Kevin Holt, Julen Etxabeguren, Nick Ross and Kane Hemmings had their moments, and they are sure to be important players when they settle in fully. Today's defeat was certainly disappointing, but there are promising signs for the season ahead.
Match report written by James Christie for the official Dundee website.
|Scott Bain (GK)||-||2||-||28||-|
No league table has been added for this season.