Ayr United 0
Dundee 2
League (Championship)

Ayr Utd 

0 - 2


League (Championship)
Friday, December 23rd, 2022
Somerset Park
Attendance: 2,704
7:45 PM Kick-off

None. Luke McCowan (68)
Luke McCowan (84)

Team Managers
Lee Bullen Gary Bowyer

Starting Eleven
21. Charlie Albinson
3. Patrick Reading
5. Sean McGinty
17. Nicholas McAllister
6. Andy Murdoch
8. Ben Dempsey
29. David Bangala
9. Dipo Akinyemi
16. Logan Chalmers
18. Brad Young
22. Mark McKenzie
Adam Legzdins .1
Ryan Sweeney .5
Lee Ashcroft .14
Jordan McGhee .6
Jordan Marshall .3
Cammy Kerr .2
Josh Mulligan .15
Ben Williamson .22
Paul McMullan .18
Luke McCowan .17
Zak Rudden .20

1. Aidan McAdams
24. Scott Tomlinson
26. Kinlay Bilham
25. Finn Ecrepont
32. Dylan Watret
11. Jayden Mitchell-Lawson
23. Sam Ashford
30. Fraser Bryden
31. Paul Smith
Ian Lawlor .21
Lyall Cameron .25
Joe Grayson .38
Max Anderson .24
Luke Strachan .27
Finlay Robertson .19
Cillian Sheridan .23
Derick Osei .31

Jayden Mitchell-Lawson for Mark McKenzie (46)
Fraser Bryden for Brad Young (60)
Cillian Sheridan for Zak Rudden (74)
Finlay Robertson for Jordan Marshall (87)
Lyall Cameron for Paul McMullan (94)

Mark McKenzie (24)
Sean McGinty (38)
David Bangala (53)
Brad Young (55)
David Bangala (63)
Paddy Reading (79)
Nick McAllister (94)
Lee Ashcroft (71)

Red Cards
David Bangala (63) Josh Mulligan (19)

Match Officials

Steven McLean (Referee)
Alastair Mather & Michael MacDermid (Assistants)

Photography by Dee Archive

Match Report

The Dark Blues hit the top of the Championship with a superb 2-0 win at Ayr to go a point ahead of Queen’s Park at the top. Former Ayr player Luke McCowan returned to Somerset Park to torment his old club, scoring twice in the second half. The Dee coped with the loss of Josh Mulligan to an early red card, and were on top even before Ayr were also reduced to 10 men when David Bangala was sent off just after the hour. There was only going to be one winner after that, and McCowan scored two beautiful goals to ensure the marvellous travelling support had a happy journey home.

Dundee made four changes to the team that beat Falkirk in the SPFL Trust Trophy. Jordan Marshall, Jordan McGhee, Ben Williamson and Josh Mulligan returned to the starting eleven. They replaced Fin Robertson, Joe Grayson and Lyall Cameron, who were substitutes, and Tyler French who missed out through illness.

The Dark Blues made a fast and aggressive start, winning six corners in the first seven minutes. For all the Dee’s eager attacking there was no significant goal threat. That was largely the story of a first half in which defences were on top against attackers who never quite clicked into gear – for either side.

Dundee’s early dominance was shaken by a red card to Josh Mulligan after 18 minutes. The youngster was playing up front and was challenged by Ayr defender Nicky McAllister. Both players ended in a heap and referee Steven McLean seemed to suggest the use of an elbow as he waved his red card.

Muliigan’s dismissal gave Ayr a boost and they came back into the game, but without threatening Adam Legzdins’ goal. Both teams occasionally worked their into promising positions without ever being able to set up a worthwhile shooting chance. Dundee quickly regained their composure after the red card and were solid in midfield and defence, although it took a while to ensure Rudden got effective support in attack.

Right at the end of the half Ayr had the only chance so far. Patrick Reading fizzed over a dangerous low cross that Jordan Marshall tucked away for a corner. Logan Chalmers’ corner was cleared back to him and he ran into to blast a low shot towards the near post. Legzdins couldn’t hold it but McAllister missed, shooting high and wide.

In the first minute of the second half the Dark Blues passed up their only chance of the match so far. Rudden allowed a through ball to run past him, releasing Paul McMullan. The winger ran clear but his shot flashed across goal and past the far post.

Despite being a man down Dundee settled into a confident, patient game controlling play against an Ayr team who struggled to get through the Dee midfield. The Dark Blues kept their shape superbly and never looked like they had fewer players. The defence was rock solid thoughout an excellent second half.

Ben Williamson and Paul McMullan were increasingly influential, building attacks and running at Ayr. Luke McCowan grew into the game too as the Dee put in more dangerous attacks than the home side could muster.

After 62 minutes the game swung decisively in Dundee’s favour. David Bangala had already been booked when he took a dig at McCowan’s ankle with the ball long gone. The referee pulled out his yellow card, and only after prolonged arguments from Ayr and consultation with the linesman was the red card produced. Ayr seemed to be claiming that Logan Chalmers was responsible for the foul. The officials thought otherwise.

It was no surprise when Dundee went ahead after 68 minutes. Rudden sent McCOWAN racing through the middle to drag the ball wide of the last man before hitting a perfect, accurate low shot across Albinson and inside the far post. The former Ayr player celebrated in very restrained style, unlike the ecstatic Dees behind that goal.

Ayr tried their hardest to get back into the game but Dundee’s grip was relentless. The Honest Men managed to get the ball into the Dee penalty area often enough, but were never able to unsettle the Dundee defence. Legzdins only had to deal with harmless shots from distance and crosses.

Zak Rudden had put in a fantastic shift grafting as the sole striker and he was replaced by Cillian Sheridan after 74 minutes. The tall Irish striker might not be as mobile as Rudden, but his aerial strength and hold up play helped bring supporting players into the game.

A second Dee goal looked more likely than an equaliser, but the quality of the killer goal after 84 minutes was a very enjoyable surprise.

Luke McCowan won a free kick 30 yards out, directly in front of goal and chose to take it himself. McCOWAN swung the ball over the wall and inside the post to send the boisterous travelling support into ecstasy all over again.

Unsurprisingly Dundee saw the game out comfortably to take the fourth successive clean sheet in the fifth win on the spin. That’s nine games undefeated now, and this was probably have been the best performance in that run. Dundee responded impressively to the red card setback, built a solid platform to win the game, and put Ayr to the sword ruthlessly in a superb second half display.

Dundee impressive management of the game with 10 men meant that like Ayr could never exploit the numerical advantage they enjoyed for half the match. The players’ positioning and movement were so good that the Dee always had men where they were needed at the right time.

Again this was a magnificent team victory. Every man did his job, and it would be very difficult to pick a man of the match – though Luke McCowan certainly did his very best to swing the vote in his favour!

Match report written by James Christie - Official Dundee website

Squad Statistics (as at December 23rd, 2022)

2022-23 All Time
Adam Legzdins (GK)36 10 - 55 -
Cammy Kerr27 2642488
Jordan Marshall26 18 - 1082
Jordan McGhee26 19 - 1128
Lee Ashcroft29 2117610
Ryan Sweeney25 232615
Ben Williamson21 18 - 18 -
Josh Mulligan20 242415
Paul McMullan26 265908
Zak Rudden22 237368
Luke McCowan25 2065611
Lyall Cameron (sub)20 205245
Finlay Robertson (sub)20 102472
Cillian Sheridan (sub)33 91201

League Table (as at December 23rd, 2022)

Pld W D L +/- Pts
1. Dundee 18 10 4 4 +10 34
2. Queen's Park 18 10 3 5 +9 33
3. Ayr Utd 19 9 5 5 +11 32
4. Morton 18 8 6 4 +8 30
5. Partick 19 9 3 7 +7 30
6. Raith Rovers 19 7 3 9 -2 24
7. Inverness CT 18 6 5 7 -6 23
8. Cove Rangers 18 5 6 7 -1 21
9. Arbroath 19 2 8 9 -15 14
10. Hamilton 18 2 5 11 -21 11