2 - 1
2 - 1
League (Promotion Playoff 2nd Leg)
Brian Welsh (90)
Owen Coyle (115)
|Ian Cameron (pen.) (72)|
Owen Coyle for Gary McSwegan (83)
Grant Johnson for Robbie Winters (117)
Ray McKinnon for Craig Brewster (119)
Nicky Henderson for James McCue (82)
Alan Dinnie for Derek McWilliams (54)
Andy McLaren (74)
Tommy Smith (54)
Ian Cameron (83)
Alan Dinnie (104)
Les Mottram (Forth) (Referee)
For the neutral this was pure theatre, with United fans having to endure agony before the ecstasy of Owen Coyle's extra-time winner which brought Premier Division football back to Tannadice. Backed by the vast majority of Tannadice's biggest crowd of the season.
The United side which had finished with a flurry at Firhill were entrusted with the task of securing a victory in a match where the stakes were so very high. The lads in tangerine carried on where they had left off the previous Sunday. Twice within a minute Nicky Walker came to Thistle's rescue denying Gary McSwegan on both occasions. Then Craig Brewster was afforded a free header but knocked the ball wide of the target.
The Thistle keeper turned a blockbuster from Gary McSwegan round the post as United totally dominated proceedings, however, a lack of composure in front of goal, no doubt a manifestation of anxiety of the occasion allowed Thistle to hang on. Immediately prior to the interval after a Craig Brewster shot was deflected for a corner, Brian Welsh just failed to get a touch to it.
Thistle's hopes were dashed as the up raised flag of a linesman brought relief to the fraught United following after Thistle did get the ball into the net early in the second period. Thistle were once more penned back but survived the onslaught, although only Steven Pressley will know how he failed to find the net with a header.
Despite having been under the cosh for so long and to the complete consternation of everyone with Tannadice affiliations, Thistle took the lead with 18 minutes left! Henderson, who had only recently come on as a substitute was adjudged to have been pushed to the ground in the box and Ian Cameron slotted home the penalty award. The goal gave the Jags as big a lift as it seemingly deflated United. As the minutes ticked by, all too quickly, Tannadice hopes of saving the tie appeared forlorn.
Until a piece of magic by Andy McLaren took him from a seemingly impossible position with his back to goal on the right-hand side touchline to the bye-line. His cross was headed back across goal by Owen Coyle and Brian Welsh stretched to head in a life-saving equaliser! Just 40 seconds remained when that goal came and illustrates how close United came to failing to go up.
But in extra-time there was only one team in it, Walker again proved Thistle's hero with a string of saves until even he had to admit defeat five minutes from, god forbid, a penalty shoot-out. Once more Andy McLaren was the architect, with deft play on the left which took him to the bye-line and Owen Coyle swept home the cutback with more coolness than the situation demanded. There was no way back for Thistle from that promotion was secured, but only in the most nerve-racking of fashions. I am sure no United supporter would want to go through another 120 minutes of such torture again even if it turned out all right on the night.
|Ally Maxwell (GK)||31||43||-||43||-|
|Grant Johnson (sub)||24||36||6||92||11|
|Ray McKinnon (sub)||25||15||-||77||7|
|Owen Coyle (sub)||29||34||9||34||9|