5 - 2
Kris Boyd (7)
Kris Boyd (16)
Kris Boyd (33)
Kris Boyd (37)
Kris Boyd (84)
Alan Archibald (29)
Billy Dodds (73)
Lars Hirschfeld .17
Mark Wilson .2
David McCracken .3
Stuart Duff .12
Alan Archibald .5
Derek McInnes .4
Grant Brebner .8
Andy McLaren .18
Barry Robson .11
Jim McIntyre .10
Paul Jarvie .24
Steven Bell .26
Mark Kerr .7
Billy Dodds .14
Jason Scotland .20
James Grady .16
James Fowler for Gary McDonald (70)
Gary Wales for Craig Dargo (73)
Rhian Dodds for Allan Johnston (82)
Mark Kerr for Grant Brebner (45)
Jason Scotland for Andy McLaren (45)
Billy Dodds for Mark Wilson (70)
Andy McLaren (43)
Barry Robson (66)
Kevin Toner (Referee)
Lars Hirschfeld continued in goal in place of the injured Tony Bullock and was determined to build on his performance against Clyde in midweek. The back four lined up with Stuart Duff and Alan Archibald flanking the central duo of David McCracken and Chris Innes. Mark Wilson had been passed fit and started the game at right midfield with Grant Brebner, Derek McInnes and Barry Robson completing the midfield select. Up front Jim McIntyre was partnered by Andy McLaren.
United kicked off against a strong blowing wind and immediately forced a corner after good link-up play down the left wing. Wilson’s in-swinging corner was cleared by the Kilmarnock defence. United continued to do all the pressing in the opening few moments and a dangerous Wilson free kick was clutched under his bar by former Tannadice goalkeeper Alan Combe. The first five minutes gave little indication of what was about to happen as United were seldom out of the Kilmarnock half. In the 6th minute, the first signs of hesitancy in the United defence saw Kilmarnock’s first shot of the match go high over the bar. Within a minute the home side were ahead in bizarre circumstances. Lars Hirschfeld attempted to clear a pass back from Archibald with his weaker left foot and only succeeded in slicing the ball to the feet of Kris Boyd. The Kilmarnock striker gladly accepted the gift and wasted no time in depositing the ball in the back of the unguarded net. The game was fairly even with United having the bulk of possession and forward play. In the 16th minute United were left with a real uphill struggle. Johnston beat the offside trap to race down the right wing and his driven cross was despatched by Boyd despite a sterling effort from Hirschfeld. United responded yet again by almost scoring at the other end but McIntyre’s header was just over the bar. United were trying to force their way back into the game but with the need for goals came the risk of exposure at the back. This was highlighted in the 23rd minute when a United corner resulting in Killie having a three on one situation just inside their own half. Duff stuck to his task and did well to win the through ball and clear the danger.
United responded with a strong claim for a penalty when Dillon charged down McLaren as he chased the ball to the by-line in the box. With 28 minutes on the clock United were right back in the game. A great Barry Robson corner was bulleted home by Alan Archibald and at this stage it looked as if either side could go on to win. However, United hopes were cruelly dashed just four minutes later when possession was lost needlessly in midfield, allowing Kris Boyd to race straight through the defence to score his hat trick.
Worse was to follow in the 35th minute when, following a scramble in the box, Alan Archibald was harshly adjudged to have fouled Danny Invincible. Kris Boyd made no mistake from the penalty spot to score his fourth goal of the game. For the rest of the first half United had to weather a Kilmarnock storm with the home team looking menacing every time they moved forward. United did almost snatch another goal back just before half time but McIntyre was unable to make enough contact and the chance was lost.
First Half Summary: After a good start, United were rocked by the first, bizarre, goal. Despite this the players got themselves into a position where they could have gone to win, only to lose a cheap third goal. They are now really chasing the game with Kris Boyd looking to add to his tally. McIntyre has been on the end of all the United attacks so far.
United came out for the second half in a 3-5-2 formation with Scotland and Kerr on for McLaren and Brebner. United started the second period as if keen to make up for the below par performance of the first half. The strong wind was now at their backs and it proved difficult for Kilmarnock to escape their own half in the early stages. Stuart Duff, playing left side of the five man midfield was getting to the by-line and getting crosses into the box. In the 52nd minute United had an excellent appeal for a penalty turned down when Chris Innes appeared to be pulled back when challenging to get on the end of a Mark Wilson free kick. In the 55th minute United were handed a decent chance to pull a goal back after Jason Scotland was fouled on the angle of the box on the left hand side. From the resulting free kick, however, Mark Wilson could only flight the ball over the bar.
The 59th minute saw the beginning of the end of the game for Mark Wilson when a late lunging challenge from Craig Dargo left him crumpled in a heap on the park. He returned to the park a few moments later but looked uncomfortable. With 22 minutes remaining, a Barry Robson shot from 30 yards looked destined for the top corner before being deflected for a corner. In the 70th minute it was clear that Mark Wilson could not continue and he was replaced by Billy Dodds. This meant Stuart Duff going to right wing back, Barry Robson reverting to the left with Dodds taking his place in the centre of the park. The frustration amongst the United players was evident and in 71 minutes it earned Barry Robson a yellow card for dissent to the referee. Good work from Jason Scotland saw United win a corner in the 74th minute but no advantage could be taken.
After a period of sustained pressure, United deservedly pulled a goal back in 78 minutes. The ball broke to Stuart Duff 20 yards out and his shot was deflected to Billy Dodds, who despatched the ball past Alan Combe from seven yards. Two minutes later it was almost 4-3 when Kerr unleashed a cracker from the right angle of the box which just evaded the junction of Alan Combe’s goalposts. For the first time since the early stages, there appeared to be a real purpose about United’s play. Jason Scotland was having an impact on the proceedings and after 82 minutes he almost unlocked the defence for Dodds to score. However his touch was a little too heavy and the chance was lost.
Kilmarnock were not content to sit in their own half and looked dangerous on the break. As United pushed for the goal that would get them right back into the game they were hit by a sucker punch. For the first time this half, Danny Invincible raced clear on the right and his cut back was slammed home by Kris Boyd for his and his team’s fifth goal. In the final minute United almost pulled another goal back but McIntyre’s header from McInnes’ free kick drifted past the upright.
Match report written by Joe Rice
|Lars Hirschfeld (GK)||25||3||-||3||-|
|Mark Kerr (sub)||22||8||1||43||2|
|Billy Dodds (sub)||35||8||2||115||41|
|Jason Scotland (sub)||25||8||-||31||5|
* - Table split into two divisions of six.