Dundee Utd 2
Falkirk 2
League (Premiership Playoff SF 1st Leg)

Dundee Utd
2 - 2

League (Premiership Playoff SF 1st Leg)
Tuesday, May 16th, 2017
Tannadice Park. Att. 7,034
3:00 PM Kick-off

Simon Murray (16)
Blair Spittal (53)
James Craigen (27)
Joe McKee (59)

Team Managers
Ray McKinnon
Peter Houston

Starting Eleven
1. Cammy Bell
4. Mark Durnan
14. William Edjenguélé
8. Stewart Murdoch
24. Jamie Robson
19. Tony Andreu
16. Willo Flood
17. Wato Kuaté
7. Blair Spittal
18. Thomas Mikkelsen
9. Simon Murray
Robbie Thomson
Aaron Muirhead
Luca Gasparotto
Peter Grant
Luke Leahy
James Craigen
Joe McKee
Mark Kerr
Craig Sibbald
Nathan Austin
Lee Miller

21. Luis Zwick
2. Seán Dillon
3. Paul Dixon
35. Scott Allardice
10. Scott Fraser
11. Alex Nicholls
12. Charlie Telfer
Danny Rogers
Tom Taiwo
John Baird
Myles Hippolyte
Bob McHugh
Fraser Aird
Paul Watson

Seán Dillon for Stewart Murdoch (8)
Charlie Telfer for Wato Kuaté (64)
Paul Dixon for Jamie Robson (80)
John Baird for Lee Miller (64)
Tom Taiwo for Craig Sibbald (75)
Bob McHugh for Nathan Austin (80)

Mark Durnan (36)
Craig Sibbald (69)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Bobby Madden (Referee)
Alastair Mather & David McGeachie (Assistants)
Steven Kirkland (Fourth Official)

Ticket stub / Admission info

Match Report

Following from the 5-1 aggregate win over Greenock Morton the previous week Falkirk were the semi-final opponents for United for the first leg play off encounter at Tannadice. With the deciding leg at the Falkirk Stadium on Friday night a positive result for the hosts would be crucial to their hopes of going through to the two-legged final. Boss Ray McKinnon named an unchanged side after watching the team finish the job so comfortably in the 3-0 win on Friday over the Greenock side. On a perfect night for football the feeling in both camps was that of a quiet confidence and an extremely tight game looked in prospect.

It was a nervy opening few minutes for the home side who conceded possession on several occasions before James Craigen scooped an ambitious shot on the turn wide of Cammy Bell’s right hand post. Still feeling the effects of an earlier challenge from Nathan Austin right back Stewart Murdoch was then forced off in the 8th minute with Sean Dillon filling the void at right back. Keen to start posing an attacking threat Tony Andreu was first to test visiting goalkeeper Robert Thomson but his shot from outside the box was comfortably held. Moments later Simon Murray’s more powerful strike from long range sailed wide of the upright as the Tangerines looked increasingly threatening going forward. In the 12th minute another effort from the same position from Murray was deflected to Andreu whose effort towards goal lacked the right connection resulting in an easy save for Thomson. The hosts were growing in confidence and a slick move again involving Andreu and Murray nearly put Blair Spittal clean through on goal but the Falkirk defence were just able to clear. Craig Sibbald had a chance to deliver a set piece from a promising area just after the quarter hour mark but sent the ball straight out of play. From the resulting goal kick his side were made to pay as United took an all-important lead. Bell sent the goal kick long up field and Thomas Mikkelsen’s headed flick put Simon Murray clean through. The in-form striker made no mistake with the finish drilling low into the bottom corner beyond Thomson from the right side of the box for his 17th goal of the season. The visitors pushed forward looking to launch an immediate comeback and after a short spell of pressure Luke Leahy’s low ball across the face of goal was one which Bell was relieved to see run out of play. In the 26th minute a crunching tackle at the edge of the box from William Edjenguele allowed Wato Kuate to launch a counter attack with a lovely diagonal ball out wide to Murray. The striker cut in from the right flank but in the end sent his low shot well wide of target. A minute later Sibbald won possession from Kuate in midfield and played the ball wide to Joseph McKee. His pin point cross was acrobatically met first time by James Craigen 8 yards out leaving Bell with no chance as the ball sailed into the top corner. Crosses into the box were making the Tangerines defence nervous and successive corners ended with Lee Miller heading into the arms of Bell inside the 6 yard area. Craigen then forced a save from Bell in the 37th minute, with the United keeper doing well to turn his low shot around the post. From the corner Bell then saved from Austin from close range as United continued to look vulnerable at the back. Another shot from Craigen, this time one which he dragged wide from outside the box, and then Sibbald with an angled drive which was held by Bell brought an end to an eventful opening first half.

After Falkirk again forced two corners shortly after the break the terrors had an opportunity to counter attack through Willo Flood who after exchanging passes with Spittal attempted a left foot shot which was never going to worry goalkeeper Thomson. In a far more telling attack in the 54th minute the hosts again took this lead and it was another man in goal scoring form who got his name on the scoresheet. Murray held the ball up beautifully after breaking from midfield and when the shooting opportunity never presented itself he instead played the ball across the area to Blair Spittal who made no mistake with a fine angled drive which nestled in the bottom corner. Again the lead wasn’t one which the hosts could hold onto as Falkirk again got themselves level just 5 minutes later. When Flood conceded a free kick around 25 yards out there seemed to be little danger of a direct attempt on goal. Joe McKee had other ideas however and he struck the ball cleanly and caught Bell out as the ball sailed high into the net much to the frustration of the home side. Attempting to replicate the heroics from McKee, Andreu sent a free kick over the bar from distance as he looked to again restore United’s lead. Charlie Telfer, who had just come on for Kuate, forced a save from Thomson low to his right before 5 minutes later Murray took a pass from Spittal and saw his shot saved in similar fashion. As the game entered the latter stages Spittal broke into the box and fired over after good play down the right flank before there was a huge let off for United in the 79th minute. An excellent delivery from the right by Craigen was headed into the top corner by sub John Baird only for him to see the celebrations cut short after the linesman flagged for offside. With 2 minutes remaining a deep cross from Dillon was met by the head of Mikkelsen but his floating header sailed over before right on the 90th minute he almost scored a winner with a header towards the back post which Thomson clawed away from goal with Murray also waiting to pounce. What would have been a dramatic last gasp winner was denied and an entertaining night ended with the tie poised at 2-2. In a game which saw several shifts in momentum throughout a draw was probably a fair outcome such was the margin of difference between the sides. The deciding leg at the Falkirk Stadium was therefore set up perfectly with both sides 90 minutes away from the final and all to play for.

Written by Ally Stewart

Squad Statistics (as at May 16th, 2017)

2016-17 All Time
Cammy Bell (GK)30 46 - 46 -
Mark Durnan24 425758
William Edjenguélé30 382382
Stewart Murdoch27 301301
Jamie Robson19 291301
Tony Andreu28 39193919
Willo Flood32 4321957
Wato Kuaté21 7171
Blair Spittal21 37510514
Thomas Mikkelsen27 238238
Simon Murray25 47177224
Seán Dillon (sub)33 18 - 3437
Paul Dixon (sub)30 25 - 2205
Charlie Telfer (sub)21 352686

Team Sheet (Scanned Photo)

League Table (as at May 16th, 2017)

Pld W D L +/- Pts
1. Hibernian 36 19 14 3 +34 71
2. Falkirk 36 16 12 8 +18 60
3. DUNDEE UTD 36 15 12 9 +8 57
4. Morton 36 13 13 10 +3 52
5. Dunfermline 36 12 12 12 +3 48
6. QOS 36 11 10 15 -6 43
7. St Mirren 36 9 12 15 -4 39
8. Dumbarton 36 9 12 15 -10 39
9. Raith Rovers 36 10 9 17 -17 39
10. Ayr Utd 36 7 12 17 -29 33

League results since United's last match