United were sentenced to another season in the second tier of Scottish football after a 4-3 loss on aggregate to Livingston. Fraser’s goal wasn’t enough to bring back United’s chances of progressing to Premiership Final Playoff.
By Alasdair Marnoch
First Half: Laszlo made two changes to the starting line-up following United’s defeat in the first leg bringing on Gillespie and Durnan. After some nice build-up play from King and Stanton in the opening minutes, United had a chance to level the score line on aggregate but Scott McDonald’s strike from close range was intercepted by the Livi defence and cleared up the pitch.
The home side went on to open up the scoring in the sixth minute after a set piece with Lithgow heading the ball in from the back post, being assisted by Gallagher.
United had long-range shots from both Gillispie and McDonald blocked in quick succession whilst Livi’s Italian midfielder Rafa De Vita was down injured, eventually being subbed off for Jordan Thompson in the nineteenth minute.
United weren’t down for long however, as Scott Fraser brought them back into the game from inside the box with a low shot that made its way past the keeper after an excellent assist from Scott McDonald.
The rest of the first half was littered with scrappy tackles, Durnan and Lee Miller getting their names put in the book.
With minutes five remaining in the first half, Harry Lewis was called into action with an impressive save, which he did well to get to whilst being under pressure from the home teams attack.
United edged the first half with Scott McDonald being at the heart of play. Livi played with five at the back making it very difficult for United to get into their box.
Second Half: Livi came out in the second half with a new found energy, passing well trying to dismantle a fragile United defence. But as second half progressed United became more confident and both sets of fans were treated to some end to end football.
United had a scrappy spell in Livingston’s box, but after a series of shots, King’s effort was deflected out for a corner which came to nothing.
Anthony Ralston crossed a lofty ball into the box for Thomas Mikkelsen on the 61st minute, but the ball is headed wide and goes out for a goal kick. Livingston were defending corners well and United were struggling to adapt to a different style of play.
Livingston won themselves a throw-in deep into United’s half, which was launched into the box. After a scramble, United’s defence cleared the ball.
Billy King set himself up to equalise on aggregate in the 64th minute from outside the box with a powerful shot, but the ball was deflected over the cross bar and sent into the United fans for a corner.
Youngster Matty Smith was brought on in the final fifteen minutes to give the side some fresh legs up front.
Once again, the woodwork saved a United side that seemed to be running out of ideas. A thundering shot from Robinson rattling off the underside off the bar.
Summary: Livi set out to defend their victory at Tannadice and United found it very difficult to make their way passed their five man strong defence.
Man of the Match: McDonald played a major part in the majority of United’s tactics and set up Fraser for United’s only goal of the game.
Livingston: Alexander, Lithgow, Halkett, Gallagher, Longridge, Pittman, Byrne, Mullin (Cadden), De Vita (Thompson, 19’), Miller, Jacobs
Subs not used: Maley, Buchanan, McMillan, Robinson, Frizzel
Dundee United: Lewis, Murdoch, Durnan, McDonald, Mikkelsen (Smith, 74’), Fraser, King, Stanton, Gillespie (McMullan, 83’), Ralston, Moshni
Subs not used: Donaldson, Scobbie, Edjenguele, Slater, Robson,
Referee: Don Robertson