Magnificent And Resilient

Paul Watson scoring

Published: 10th November 2018

A first half Paul Watson goal gave United an extremely hard-earned victory over promotion rivals Ross County and extended manager Robbie Neilson’s unbeaten start to five games. More importantly, it took United to within a point of their second placed hosts.

By Peter Rundo

For what United gaffer Robbie Neilson labelled a ‘massive game’, he made just one change from the side that were 2-0 winners over Queen of the South last week. And it was an enforced one with Callum Booth have failed to recover from the hamstring injury against the Doonhamers, Paul Watson came in at right-back with Stewart Murdoch switching to the opposite flank. County’s only change was the return of Liam Fontaine for Don Cowie.

Billy McKay had the ball in the net with less than a minute gone but was clearly offside. On five minutes, County forced the first save of the game, Billy McKay’s downward header from a Marcuse Fraser cross being tipped over the bar by Ben Siegrist.

The home side, pressing strongly, continued to make the early running forcing a series of, fortunately, fruitless corners.

United’s first corner after quarter of an hour was met rapturously by the large Arab following and a minute later, the visiting fans were in even fuller voice to celebrate the Tangerines going in front very much against the run of play. It has to be said Fraser Aird played a free-kick into the heart to the box and William Edjuenguélé knocked down for Watson to squeeze home at the near post from close range for his fourth goal of the season. 

The goal definitely settled United and when Paul MccMullan went down in the box midway through the half, all it earned him was a yellow card for simulation.

At the other end, County appealed in vein for a penalty when Edjuenguélé shouldered Davis Keillor-Dunn off the ball as he chased a long ball out of defence just after half-an -hour.

However, United almost snatched a second when an Aird shot was deflected inches past the post by ex-Terror Keith Watson. As United stayed on the attack, Josh Mullin became the game’s second booking after a very late challenge on Murdoch. Sean Kelly followed him into the book shortly afterwards after blocked a surging run by McMullan.

Four minutes from the end of a tempestuous first half, Siegrist did well to punch away a dangerous cross from Lindsay. And right on the whistle, Paul Watson headed another cross into the danger area clear to preserve the Tangerines advantage.

10.11.18 v Ross County (A)

County started the second half brightly with United grateful to dig the ball out of the danger area after Mullin’s low cross wasn’t dealt with initially. Lindsay curled one a foot or so past ten minutes after the restart and at the Rachid Bouhenna struck a free-kick a shade too high.

Fraser Fyvie was the fourth player to be brandished a yellow after 59 minutes for holding on to the ball after giving away a free-kick as County stepped up the pressure. Then, worryingly the United skipper limped off after 63 minutes and was replaced by Christoph Rabitsch.

And three minutes later, County also suffered an injury blow with defender Liam Fontaine stretchered off and replaced by former Tannadice striker Brian Graham. United made another change with Nicky Clark replacing Billy King.

These interruptions did nothing for the flow of the game although a Declan McManus cross was deflected on to the top of the bar as it went for a corner with ten minutes left.

Six minutes from the end goal hero Paul Watson came off and Jamie Robson came with Murdoch switching to right-back.

A minue later, Siegrist plucked McManus’s downward header away with McKay waiting to pounce.

And Arabs then had to endure seven minutes of added time in which Murdoch and Rabitsch were booked as County pushed hard for an equaliser. Little wonder they greeted the final whistle so eacstitacally.

Full Time Summary:

No one can doubt the importance of this victory, not least for the manner in which it was achieved. Certainly they can play better but grinding out results in big game like this is the kind of stuff of which champions are made.

Man of the Match:

Everyone was a hero but Paul Watson edges it by scorimg a goal that could be worth its weight in gold come the end of theseason

Ross County: 

01 Scott Fox

02 Marcus Fraser (C)

03 Sean Kelly

04 Liam Fontaine 67’

06 Ross Draper

08 Jamie Lindsay

09 Billy McKay

11 Iain Vigurs 

14 Josh Mullin

11 Keith Watson

17 Davis Keillor-Dunn 54’

 

Subs

21 Ross Munro (GK)

10 Declan McManus 54’

12 Stellios Demetriou

19 Brain Graham 67’

22 Tony Dingwall

26 Don Murray

27 Ross Stewart

 

United

01 Benjamin Siegrist

44 Paul Watson

19 Rachid Bouhenna

24 William Edjuenguélé  

02 Stewart Murdoch 72’

08 Fraser Fyvie (C)           

12 Sam Stanton 63’

33 Fraser Aird

07 Paul McMullan

11 Billy King

14 Pavol Šafranko

 

Subs

34 Matej Rakovan (GK)

05 Adam Barton

09 Craig Curran

10 Nicky Clark 72’

16 Matthew Smith

17 Jamie Robson

20 Christoph Rabitsch 63’

 

Attendance: 4565

Referee: Alan Newlands