2 - 3
Yoann Arquin (76)
Darren Maatsen (89)
Nadir Çiftçi (21)
Stuart Armstrong (48)
Nadir Çiftçi (58)
Radoslaw Cierzniak .1
John Souttar .4
Seán Dillon .2
Conor Townsend .3
Jarosław Fojut .5
Paul Paton .6
Stuart Armstrong .10
Chris Erskine .17
Calum Butcher .20
Nadir Çiftçi .7
Ryan Dow .18
Michal Szromnik .26
Keith Watson .12
Blair Spittal .24
Charlie Telfer .21
Aidan Connolly .22
Gary Mackay-Steven .11
John Rankin .8
Liam Boyce for Steven Ross (57)
Darren Maatsen for Joe Cardle (63)
Yoann Arquin for Jake Jervis (73)
Aidan Connolly for Chris Erskine (72)
Gary Mackay-Steven for Ryan Dow (72)
John Rankin for Calum Butcher (85)
|Richard Brittain (45)||
Calum Butcher (24)
|Liam Boyce (84)||None.|
Bobby Madden (Referee)
The options available to Jackie McNamara were significantly improved for this Friday night clash compared to Saturday’s cup win at Motherwell. Defender Jaroslaw Fojut was back from illness and John Rankin was deemed fit again after his recent injury woes. In addition, both Nadir Ciftci and Calum Morris were free from suspension. McNamara opted to draft in two of the quartet, contributing to a total of three changes. Watson made way for Fojut, Butcher replaced Telfer in midfield and Ciftci came in for Mackay-Steven. County made two changes with Toshney and Ross back in the side, replacing Boyd and Carey.
County were first to threaten when an inviting Tony Dingwall centre flashed across the face of the United goal but no-one could take advantage. United burst forward in response and a great run by Townsend was brought shuddering to a halt at the edge of the County penalty area. Ciftci was unable to capitalise and his free-kick flew high and wide. Ciftci was the creator moments later when he released Erskine through the centre. The midfielder engineered enough space for a strike but Brown was alert to parry away. As County began to dictate play, United countered with lightening break to snatch the lead. A powerful run from Armstrong progressed his team deep into their opponents’ half. A neat touch played in Erskine, who in turn fed Nadir Çiftçi and the striker took advantage of some poor defending to round Brown and slot home. It should have been two just a few minutes later when a Ciftci cut back was met by Erskine at the edge of the box. A clever ball provided Armstrong with a clear sight of goal, but Brown blocked his sliding effort. Ross County monopolised possession for the second quarter of the match but were restricted to long range efforts that rarely threatened Cierzniak.
The second half exploded into life right from kick off when County forced Cierzniak to save just seconds in. The game raged from one end to another in the opening minutes of the second period and on 48 minutes United doubled their lead. A rampaging run from Butcher ended with a slide pass into the feet of Stuart Armstrong, leaving the midfielder with just the ‘keeper to beat. In contrast to the match at Motherwell, the United number 10 showed great composure to side-step Brown and roll the ball into the empty net. With just under an hour played United killed the game with a crucial third. Again it was the away side’s most creative player, Chris Erskine, who was the provider. A great first time pass from the midfielder provided Nadir Çiftçi with the chance to double his tally for the evening. The big striker held off the defensive challenge to steer home a right foot effort low into the bottom corner. Then, with fifteen minutes remaining, the home side got the goal they craved. Substitute Yoann Arquin found space on the penalty spot and swivelled before slotting a left foot shot into the far corner. With five minutes left, a high tackle by Boyce on Paton earned the County substitute a red card. That did nothing to dampen the home side’s spirit and amazingly they pulled another one back with a minute remaining of regulation time. Substitute Darren Maatsen fired home off the underside of the bar.
"It should have been more comfortable. Credit to them as they came back in - even with 10 men they gave everything they had - but for me we took our foot off the gas and stopped passing the ball the way we should have. When we play properly we're a good side. Callum Morris didn't even make the bench tonight so it shows how strong the squad is and everybody is going to be needed over the next few months.Tonight was a massive game for us and we had to win it."
"United were clinical this evening with Ciftci and Armstrong showing great composure to get their goals. 3-0 probably flattered us and to be fair to County they probably deserved a goal. Some nervous moments towards the end but a great three points. Armstrong starting to look more like himself. Erskine was superb again. Very creative and a wonderful passer of the ball."
Match Photos courtesy of Riki Grauer - More photos available at:
Dundee United Official Flickr Page
|Radoslaw Cierzniak (GK)||31||18||-||109||-|
|John Rankin (sub)||31||15||1||146||10|
|Aidan Connolly (sub)||19||7||2||9||2|
|Gary Mackay-Steven (sub)||24||17||1||123||23|
No league table has been added for this season.