1 - 1
|Sean Grady (14)||
Johnny Russell (85)
Lunan for McNally (45)
Kilgannon for Gavin Beith (45)
Allison for Ovenstone (45)
Smith for Kerrigan (45)
Trialist for Grady (45)
Lombardi for Fotheringham (45)
Watson for Duell (60)
Trialist for Ryan McCord (65)
Neil Watters (Referee)
A little more than 48 hours before the glitz and glamour of Dundee United’s pre-season friendly with Barcelona, a young reserve side headed to Station Park to take on Third Division new boys Forfar Athletic. Eager to stake a claim for a spot in Thursday’s squad, United battled hard in what turned out to be an entertaining encounter, but would ultimately have to settle for a draw.
Ironically, the Barcelona visit coincides with the last competitive meeting between Dundee United and Forfar in 1987, when, just ten days after Jim McLean’s side were still giddy from defeating the Catalonian giants both home and away, they were almost humbled at the quarter final stage of the Scottish Cup by Forfar. Although a last gasp equaliser at Tannadice for United would force a replay, which United subsequently won 2-0.
United’s young second-string starting eleven boasted an average age of just 19-years-old, with “veteran” David Proctor the oldest on the pitch, at 23 years. Familiar faces David Robertson, Garry Kenneth and David Goodwillie all started, while new Ghanaian signing Prince Buaben also took to the pitch for kick-off.
Forfar, in the midst of rebuilding for the season ahead after their relegation from the third tier of Scottish football in May, had six new summer signings in their starting eleven. Martyn Fotheringham, John Ovenstone, Andy Reid, Bryan Duell, Sean Grady and Steve Kerrigan were among the fresh faces.
It seemed summer had finally arrived as the sun beat down on Station Park, and the game started lively with both sides keen to stamp their authority on the game early on.
In the fifth minute, Prince Buaben linked up well with William Easton across midfield, resulting in a long-range effort from Easton which never really troubled the keeper.
David Proctor was at the root of the next United attack, as he and Buaben combined down the right flank, feeding the ball to Russell, whose attempted cross rebounded to the feet of Proctor. The former Inverness player swung the ball deep into the Forfar box, but Reid snatched the ball from the air as Goodwillie rose for the header.
In the 14th minute Forfar pounced on their first real opportunity in front of goal. Gavin Beith found space down the left wing, and trundled a ball across the United goal mouth. With the defence unable to clear the danger, Sean Grady slid in to stab the ball past McLean from six yards.
Clearly spurred on after taking the lead, Forfar continued to break forward. Some excellent link up play between Grady and Tulloch outfoxed the United back line, but as Tulloch raced toward the box, Proctor was on hand to deal with the threat.
As the half-hour mark approached, United began to find their feet, but an ambitious 30-plus yard effort from David Robertson never really troubled the keeper.
A few moments later, United came agonisingly close to squaring the game. Marco Andreoni whipped in a free-kick after Easton was fouled by Kerrigan on the left wing. His cross sailed over the defence, with Goodwillie collecting the ball at the back post and sending it back across goal. Proctor was at the back post and leapt well to connect, but his glancing header somehow rolled across the face of goal and past the wrong side of the post.
United created a good deal of pressure in the final third of the first half, and just seconds after Proctor’s effort, a pinpoint cross from Easton found the feet of Ryan McCord at the corner of the Forfar box. But his rasping drive thumped off the inside of the post and rebounded to safety.
On the 40-minute mark, Buaben jinked past the defence and found Easton on the edge of the box, but the 21-year-old never connected cleanly with his drive and Reid easily saved.
United returned from the tunnel unchanged, while Forfar opted to make five changes, and the fresh legs seemed to make a real difference as a resurgent Forfar took the upper hand.
Substitute Michelle Lombardi almost doubled the home side’s lead after the restart as he found himself through on goal, but the chance was squandered as he blasted well wide. A few moments later, in an almost identical attack, Lombardi again fired towards McLean’s goal. His second effort came much closer, but was deflected just over the bar.
Forfar again threatened after Buaben was adjudged to have fouled Lombardi as he made his way across the edge of the United box. Tulloch stepped up to take the free-kick but, fortunately for McLean, his powerful shot was comfortably wide of the goal.
United had to wait until the 63rd minute to really test Forfar’s changed defensive line-up, and they forged their way back into the game after an impressive spell from Forfar when Andreoni fired a long cross toward the box from just inside the Forfar half, and Proctor rose well to connect but his looping effort was wide of the mark.
And the equaliser almost came in the 77th minute. Easton raced down the left flank, finding Goodwillie, who won a free-kick just outside the box after stumbling past two defenders. Andreoni curled the free-kick round the wall, but his effort rattled off the right post. Robertson pounced on the rebound, but his long range effort sailed wide.
With just five minutes remaining, United were back on level terms. Easton aimed a cross towards the back post from the left wing. Goodwillie connected, sending the ball back across the goal mouth, and Russell was on hand to nod the ball home from close range, giving the keeper no chance.
And United could have closed out the game in dramatic fashion. With just a minute left on the clock, Andreoni again fired in a dangerous cross, which crept over the lunging heads of Buaben and Robertson, only to be collected by the keeper.
No league table has been added for this season.