After a long and gruelling second half, United came out on top beating Dunfermline 2 -1 taking them to the top of the table, one point clear of runners-up St. Mirren.
By Alasdair Marnoch
First Half: Following Scobbie’s last minute red card in the disappointing draw away to Brechin, László made one change replacing the suspended full back with Paul Quinn. United came out as a very organised side looking to capitalize on Dunfermline’s recent lack of form. The first shot of the game came early on with Scott Fraser firing the ball over the crossbar and into the Shed. United established themselves as the stronger of the two teams, regularly getting the ball into the opposition’s box. However, the Pars were packed in deep making it difficult for United’s attack to pull the trigger and open up the score line.
United were playing nice football and after a number of successful passes in and around Dunfermline’s box, Fraser was brought down 25 yards out. The free kick was taken beautifully by Fraser as he curved it round the wall and into the bottom right corner with his left foot, earning him his first goal since August.
With Dunfermline keen to get back into the game United’s defence were called into action a couple of times with a close-range effort from Higginbotham going sky high over the bar. United put themselves in a difficult situation after Lewis picked the ball up from a back pass from Paul Quinn, resulting in an indirect free kick from inside the box. The attempt was blocked and dealt with well by the United defence.
United were playing positive football with both teams putting in a good shift. Fraser then went on to double his goal tally from inside the six-yard box in the dying minutes of the first half being assisted by Jamie Robson.
Second Half: Dunfermline came out with a different attitude as both piled the pressure onto each other making for an end to end game. As the game progressed Dunfermline (who hadn’t won in the last four games) produced a scrappy style of play with the referee dishing out four yellow cards to the away team.
United looked to extend their lead as Fraser danced past the Dunfermline defence looking to find his hat trick. The keeper pulled off a nice save though to stop his efforts in the 64th minute.
In the 70th minute, Dunfermline’s striker Higginbotham got brought down in the box by Robson and the referee controversially awarded a penalty much to the dismay of the home crowd. McManus took advantage of this opportunity and slotted the ball into the back of the net decreasing United’s lead.
Summary: Once again United came out and made their impact in the first half with some nicely organised football. In the second interval, Dunfermline showed plenty desire to claw the game back, scoring a penalty in the process and committing a total of 19 fouls.
Man of the Match: Fraser brought United a comfortable start to the game and went on to score both goals for United.
Dundee United: Lewis, Murdoch, Quinn, McDonald, Fraser (McMullan 90’), King, Stanton (Keatings, 69’), Flood (c)(Edjeguélé 90’), Robson, Fyvie
Subs not used: Deniz, Allardice, Smith, Chalmers
Dunfermline: Murdoch, Williamson, Martin, Morris (c), Ashcroft, Higginbotham (Aird 55’), Wedderburn, McManus, Cardle, Talbot, Paton
Subs not used: Gill, M’Voto, Smith, Shiels
Referee: Euan Anderson