2 - 1
2 - 1
League (First Division)
Jim Bett (35)
Owen Coyle (44)
|John McQuillan (83)|
Brian Welsh for Grant Johnson (67)
Craig Brewster for Gary McSwegan (79)
Mark Proctor for Gary Farquhar (15)
Roddy Grant for Mark Proctor (54)
Jim Bett (18)
Christian Dailly (28)
Maurice Malpas (62)
Paul Cherry (46)
John O'Neil (55)
Danny Griffin (66)
Hugh Dallas (Motherwell) (Referee)
The home debut of Gary McSwegan and Owen Coyle's first appearance after his transfer the day before attracted the highest crowd of the season to Tannadice, but this was a match in which events off the field were to cast a shadow over proceedings. Early on Saints had the better of the exchanges and the United goal survived a major let off in the seventh minute. A cut-back from Twaddle was touched on by John O'Neil, but Ally Maxwell blocked his effort. The ball ran loose to George O'Boyle whose flick was goal-bound until Steven Pressley popped up to clear the ball just as it was on the point of crossing the line.
Two minutes later, United did figure as an attacking force when Gary McSwegan swept a shot just wide of the target. This signalled United's dominance of the match, though Saints, and Twaddle in particular continued to threaten at the other end. On the half hour mark came the first scoring opportunity for debutante Owen Coyle, but he blazed over when presented with a great chance from outside the six yard box. Five minutes later, United made better use of a scoring opportunity. Andy McLaren was brought down on the edge of the area and Jim Bett stepped up to curl the free-kick just inside Alan Main's near post.
The drama instantly switched to off the field when Saints manager and former Unites stalwart Paul Sturrock collapsed and was stretched away before being taken to Ninewells Hospital.
When play got underway it was United who dominated in the run up to the interval and after Owen Coyle and Rab Shannon headed and shot over respectively, United's new strike-force combined to magnificently fashion out a second goal. Gary McSwegan cutely back-heeled the ball into Owen Coyle's path and the newcomer took the ball round Alan Main to slot home his first goal for the club.
In contrast to the first period, Saints had the greater share of possession in the second half, but for the most part failed to make it count. However, with 17 minutes left John McQuillan first-timed a shot in on goal which Ally Maxwell parried into the air, but he couldn't prevent it bouncing over the line as Saints reduced the arrears. Suddenly the Saints came alive and there were one or two sticky moments before the final whistle sounded a United victory, and Ally Maxwell brought off two great saves in that closing assault. Having said that Owen Coyle by his own admission should have scored again, but Alan Main blocked his shot when he found himself right through on the keeper. But the abiding memory of this game will be the Paul Sturrock being carried away. Happily, tests revealed there was nothing seriously wrong.
CLUB COMMENT - "This was a great result for us and I thought the first half in particular was a very good advert for the First Division, but what happened to Paul Sturrock puts football into perspective." - BILLY KIRKWOOD, MANAGER.
|Ally Maxwell (GK)||30||11||-||11||-|
|Brian Welsh (sub)||26||9||-||156||12|
|Craig Brewster (sub)||28||4||2||80||30|