1 - 1
|Jesper Christiansen (44)||
Stevie Crawford (72)
Tony Bullock .1
Mark Wilson .2
Paul Ritchie .23
Lee Mair .15
Alan Archibald .5
Barry Robson .11
Derek McInnes .4
Grant Brebner .8
Mark Kerr .7
Stevie Crawford .19
Jim McIntyre .10
Paul Jarvie .24
David McCracken .3
David Robertson .33
Greg Cameron .36
James Grady .16
Billy Dodds .14
Jason Scotland .20
|Billy Mehmet for Noel Hunt (76)||
David McCracken for Grant Brebner (45)
James Grady for Derek McInnes (64)
Noel Hunt (35)
Derek Stillie (73)
Craig Thomson (Referee)
The game started brightly for United with Ian McCall’s team taking the game straight to Dunfermline. Within the first minute, a Mark Wilson cross had been headed goalwards by McIntyre bringing a decent save out of Stillie.
The home side soon decided that their open hospitality towards United should stop and they too began to carve out a few openings. A Scott Thomson free kick was bravely charged down buy Derek McInnes and Andy Tod sent a header wide as the Pars picked up their play.
United still looked a threat on the counter attack and a cross from McIntyre was flicked on by the head of Robson and fell just wide of Stillie’s right hand post.
United should, however, have gone behind in 7 minutes when Mason hit a post having beaten Bullock in the United goal. The Danish striker Christiansen was causing all sorts of problems for the United defence with his directness and strength and he forced Paul Ritchie into a good defensive header to clear. Tony Bullock was having a sound game in the United goal and he was again called into action to gather a Nicholson cross which he held on to at the second attempt. Nicholson then once again threatened the United goal with a shot that gave Jason Scotland a fright as he warmed up behind the goal.
All was not lost for United and, as Stevie Crawford played a McIntyre knock-down to Robson, the winger again brought a good save out of Stillie. Mark Kerr was next to test the Pars keeper with a shot that was beaten away.
A real moment of controversy saw Hunt booked for a blatant dive when he was challenged by Mair in the box but the Pars striker still had the Arab boos ringing in his ears when he brought an excellent save from Bullock when he sent a dipping shot just under the bar that the big keeper pushed to safety.
United’s defensive frailty reared its ugly head once again when they lost a goal two minutes before the break. A corner from the right wasn’t properly cleared and when the ball was swung back across goal, Andy Tod knocked the ball back across goal into the path of Christiansen who bundled the ball past Bullock.
The second half started with Grant Brebner being replaced by Dave McCracken. This freed Mark Wilson to play in midfield as Lee Mair went to cover at right back.
The change seemed to do little to stem the tide of the Dunfermline attack as they seemed to probe the United defence at will with their short passing game.
On the hour mark, United survived a penality claim by the Pars fans arguing Robson had handled the ball, but their cries seemed not to be mirrored by their players. Scott Thomson went close with a header and Ian McCall withdrew McInnes replacing him with Grady. As the team settled, Dunfermline missed another great chance to extend their lead with a free header at the back post from Hunt being wasted.
In 70 minutes, United shocked the ground with a goal out of nothing. A Grady cross from the right appeared to be too deep but Barry Robson chased a lost cause and got his head to the ball, looping a header over Stillie and across the face of the goal where Stevie Crawford was delighted to continue his goalscoring exploits on the artificial surface!
The striker had another great chance immediately after the restart but couldn’t get his shot on target. From being apparently out of the game, United gained belief in themselves again and the game began to race from end to end with both sides looking for a winner.
Tony Bullock made a fine save from a Thomson free kick and Lee Mair was on hand to boot the ball clear as the United goalkeeper spilled the ball in front of the Pars attack.
The game then became very fragmented as a series of free kicks were awarded by the referee.
As the game drew to a close, Crawford showed his experience and class by holding on to the ball and taking the pressure off his back line when the Pars were trying to press United.
The match finished all square and both teams will be happy not to have dropped all three points but Dunfermline will be kicking themselves for not capitalising on their dominance overall.
|Tony Bullock (GK)||32||14||-||20||-|
|David McCracken (sub)||23||25||2||124||5|
|James Grady (sub)||33||21||2||21||2|
* - Table split into two divisions of six.