Published: 29th December 2018
Alloa came from behind to shock United and grab their first win over the Tangerines in five attempts this season.
Having deservedly taken the lead through Caullum Booth's first goal for the Club, they allowed the Wasps to hit back and score a late winner.
By Peter Rundo
From the side that defeated Falkirk, manager Robbie Neilson made two changes. Fraser Fyvie, injured last week, wasn’t risked, so Paul Watson came into the back four with Rachid Bouhenna moving into midfield. The other change was up front where Fraser Aird dropped to the bench with Craig Curran taking his place.
Alloa having drawn two and then defeated Queen of the South last week were obviously going to be no pushovers, but we already knew that from how close the four previous meetings with the Wasps had been, the first three having been drawn with United finally winning the last meeting at Tannadice 4-2.
United stated brightly and Craig Curran had the ball in the net after three minutes but was ruled offside.
Then right on seven minutes a flowing move down the left saw Callum Booth deliver a cross from the right from which Pavol Safranko headed over.
And a minute later the home side broke quickly resulting in Bouhenna blocking a Jon Robertson effort on the edge of the box.
United were finding it hard to find a chink in the Wasps' defence whilst Jim Goodwin’s side looked to hit on the break.
However, on the half hour mark, Paul McMullan did get a shot on goal in but it was way off target.
Six minutes from the interval, United came within a whisker of scoring.
Stewart Murdoch’s deflected cross from the right was met by Curran whose glancing header rebounded off the post before being scrambled to safety.
United finished the half dominating proceedings with skipper Sam Stanton firing just past.
The visitors started the second half with purpose creating a couple of good openings.
On 49 minutes, McMullen fired just over from 25 yards and four minutes later and then the same player’s driven cross was touched over the bar by the keeper.
As the pressure was maintained Safranko headed Billy King's cross straight at the keeper.
On 59 minutes, United made the deserved breakthrough.
Safranko was fouled just outside the box for which Alloa’s Sam Roscoe was booked.
With dead-ball specialist Fraser Aird on the bench, Callum Booth stepped up and crashed a left footed drive into the top left-hand corner.
And five minutes later, the full-back fired inches over.
But on 71 minutes the hosts served notice the points weren’t in the bag, substitute Connor Shields stabbing a Scott Taggart cross just past the post.
And sadly, two minutes later, skipper Andy Graham’s looping header from Steve Hetherington’s free-kick found the net.
And United should have got the winner four minutes from time when Booth’s determination gave him the space to cross to the unmarked Fraser Aird who headed past the post.
Disastrously, however, it was the home side who grabbed the winner when Dario Zanatta rammed home from a narrow angle.
Full Time Summary
A desperately disappointing result. Having bossed most of the game particularly the second half and deservedly got their noses in front, the Tangerines, unaccountably, let three points slip from their grasp.
Man of the Match:
Rachid Bouhenna replaced the injured Fraser Fyvie and was excellent.
01 Neil Parry
02 Scott Taggart
03 Liam Dick
04 Sam Roscoe Booked 59
05 Andy Graham (C)
06 Steven Hethrington
07 Kevin Cawley 67’
08 Jon Robertson
10 Alan Trouten 77
15 Jake Hastie
19 Dario Zanatta
33 Chris Henry (GK)
09 Greig Spence
12 Liam Burt
14 Adam Brown 77
16 Zack Karadachki
18 Ahmed Aloulou
23 Connor Shields 67’
01 Benjamin Siegrist
02 Stewart Murdoch Booked 80
44 Paul Watson
04 Frédéric Frans
03 Callum Booth
19 Rachid Bouhenna Booked 82
12 Sam Stanton
11 Billy King 76
09 Craig Curran
14 Pavol Šafranko
34 Matej Rakovan (GK)
16 Matthew Smith
17 Jamie Robson
20 Christoph Rabitsch
24 William Edjenguele
32 Declan Glass
33 Fraser Aird 76
Attendance: 1859 (Arabs 1277)
Referee: Greg Aitken