0 - 0
0 - 0
1. Derek Stillie
2. Mark Wilson
3. David McCracken
23. Paul Ritchie
6. Peter Canero
5. Alan Archibald
11. Barry Robson
7. Mark Kerr
8. Grant Brebner
10. Jim McIntyre
20. David Fernández
17. Craig Samson
12. Stuart Duff
18. Garry Kenneth
4. Derek McInnes
26. Greg Cameron
9. Lee Miller
21. Collin Samuel
Lee Miller for David Fernández (71)
Collin Samuel for Jim McIntyre (72)
Federico Nieto for Francis Jeffers (53)
Hamed Namouchi for Chris Burke (62)
Ross McCormack for Peter Lovenkrands (78)
Barry Robson (11)
Grant Brebner (55)
Sotirios Kyrgiakos (39)
Sotirios Kyrgiakos (90)
|None.||Sotirios Kyrgiakos (90)|
Charlie Richmond (Referee)
A no score draw after a dramatic ninety minutes saw United extend their recent good league record against Rangers. A win and two draws against the Ibrox side proved crucial in the fight against relegation last season, and Arabs will be hoping that this battling point against the champions will kick-start the present campaign for a top six place.
Rangers too were desperate to improve on a disappointing start to the domestic season, and both managers tinkered with their starting formations. Gordon Chisholm moved Mark Wilson to the centre of midfield alongside Kerr and Brebner, with Canero taking over the vacant right wing-back slot. Alex Mcleish handed Brahim Hemdani his first start, and was clearly looking to go on the offensive from the outset with two attacking wide players – Lovenkrands and Burke – supporting a front two of Prso and Jeffers.
After a hectic opening five minutes, the first half was pretty much one way traffic towards Derek Stillie’s goal, increasing in intensity as the game progressed. With Burke already having missed a decent early chance, United enjoyed a real let-off on sixteen minutes when Stillie was caught in no man’s land, but Barry Ferguson’s net-bound header was cleared by Archibald from beneath his own crossbar. Another let-off followed soon after: Prso beat Ritchie on the right and his low cut-back was met by Lovenkrands just three yards out – but amazingly the Dane blasted over. Stillie scrambled a Prso shot/cross away from the line, and Jeffers spurned two further half chances as the visitors cranked up the pressure with half time approaching. The United keeper then enjoyed another lucky escape, waving a Ferguson free-kick wide only to see the ball rebound off the face of the post and back out into the box. Rangers had a penalty appeal turned down as Archibald seemed to pull Prso back with the striker attempting to connect with an in-swinging Burke cross. The big Croat – at the heart of much of the first half action – then almost connected with a Lovenkrands centre from the left.
Relief for the home fans came with the half time whistle – United lucky still to be in the game, and with a chance to regroup and rethink their strategy.
Both teams emerged for the second half with no changes to personnel or formation – but the game itself was turned on its head. United closed down and harried, and pushed players much further up the park. Immediately United started creating chances. Fernandez shot wide from twenty yards, then McIntyre volleyed straight at Waterreus from a similar distance. Just eight minutes into the second half Alex McLeish made his first change – Nieto for Jeffers – as the his side lost its grip on the match. Barry Robson had United’s first clear opportunity but his first time left foot shot was straight the Wattereus. The keeper then collected a low free-kick from the same player and McCracken’s header was also comfortably saved. Rangers still enjoyed a fair share of possession and territory but were struggling to create chances and players such as Burke and Prso faded from the game, well marshalled by the United defence. Lovenkrands volleyed over from sixteen yards, but Stillie was barely tested in the second half. Namouchi replaced Burke for the last half hour, and young Ross McCormack came on for Lovenkrands for the last fifteen minutes. United swapped Samuel and Miller for Fernandez and McIntyre with both sides searching for a winner. As the clock ticked away and the pressure grew, mistakes looked the most likely way for the dead-lock to be broken.
With eight minutes remaining United came within inches of taking the lead. Waterreus was caught way out of goal having raced from his box to head clear from Samuel. Robson coolly rounded the keeper, unleashed a sixteen yards shot – but it skimmed the head of the back-peddling Rodriguez, brushed the top of the bar and went over. Almost immediately Rangers came close to snatching victory when for the first time in the second half Prso had a clear sight at goal, Ritchie the hero for United as he cleared off the line. Kyrgiakos received his second yellow card as the game entered injury time – too late for it to have any effect on the outcome of a frenetic second half.
An excellent second period from United who might have snatched victory – but they can count themselves fortunate not to have been dead and buried by half time.
|Derek Stillie (GK)||31||13||-||13||-|
|Lee Miller (sub)||22||13||4||13||4|
|Collin Samuel (sub)||24||9||1||62||3|
No league table has been added for this season.