1 - 5
1 - 5
Pavol Šafranko (17)
Billy Mckay (11)
Billy Mckay (29)
Sean Kelly (42)
Josh Mullin (50)
Billy Mckay (51)
||Stuart Kettlewell & Steven Ferguson|
Billy King for Paul McMullan (46)
Fraser Fyvie for Christoph Rabitsch (56)
Stewart Murdoch for Fraser Aird (56)
Davis Keillor-Dunn for Michael Gardyne (7)
Declan McManus for Billy Mckay (69)
Don Cowie for Jamie Lindsay (74)
Craig Curran (37)
Callum Morris (20)
Keith Watson (34)
Stewart Murdoch (59)
John Beaton (Referee)
The Csaba Laszlo regime at Tannadice finally ended with a 5-1 defeat against Ross County. A hat trick from former United player Billy Mckay and some utterly shambolic defending saw the end of the Hungarian’s 11 month tenure at Tannadice. The day after the game, Csaba Laszlo was sacked and United were left searching for their fifth permanent manager in just over three years.
For this game, Laszlo kept faith with the same eleven who started the previous week’s 2-0 win over Falkirk. However, the returning Fraser Fyvie was able to take his place on the bench as he continued his comeback from his long term knee injury. Ross County has a few familiar faces in their squad, with former United players Callum Morris, Michael Gardyne, Keith Watson and Billy Mckay starting the game and Brian Graham on the bench.
Dundee United had a great chance to take the lead in the first minute of the game. Yannick Loemba was sent clear by a poor passback attempt from Liam Fontaine and found himself with only Ross County goalkeeper Scott Fox to beat. However, Loemba was to be thwarted as he possibly took one touch too many and Fox raced off his line and blocked his effort on goal. Michael Gardyne’s return to Tannadice only lasted a few minutes as he was forced off by injury and was replaced by Davis Keillor-Dunn.
It was a cagey start, but the opening goal came for the visitors after 11 minutes. United were caught sleeping after a quick free kick and Josh Mullin broke down the right. His cross into the six yard box was parried by Matej Rakovan but only to the waiting Billy Mckay a mere yard out from goal, and the former United player was able to knock the ball into the empty net.
United nearly went 2-0 down a few minutes later. Josh Mullin was played in on goal by a misjudged header from Jamie Robson. Mullin’s cross towards David Keillor-Dunn was just missed by the Ross County substitute and the chance was gone. United took advantage of their good fortune by grabbing an equaliser in the 17th minute. Fraser Aird hit a deep cross from the right and Pavol Safranko cushioned the ball past Scott Fox from the edge of the box to level proceedings.
Three minutes after equalising, United had a good chance to take the lead, and again Fraser Aird was the architect. The Canadian hit a free kick into the box from the right-hand side which was met by Rachid Bouhenna, although he could only head the ball wide. It would not have counted in any event as he was rather harshly adjudged to have fouled his marker. Frederic Frans was the next United player to have an opportunity, and it was almost a carbon copy of the previous chance as the Belgian headed Yannick Loemba’s free kick from the left over the bar. Despite the missed chances, United fans had encouragement after a poor start.
However, that was as good as it got for United as abysmal defending saw Ross County score two more goals before half time. The away side went 2-1 up in the 29th minute as a mistake by Jamie Robson again saw Josh Mullin in acres of space on the United left. His cross into the box was parried by Matej Rakovan and broke to Billy Mckay around 12 yards from goal. He stabbed the ball into the net to give the Staggies their lead back.
All of the trouble for United was coming down their left, with Josh Mullin given numerous opportunities to get crosses into the box, with a horribly exposed Jamie Robson struggling time and again to prevent him doing so. When Ross County scored their third goal after 41 minutes it again came from that side, although the goal itself was different from the first two. After winning a free kick on the United left, Sean Kelly swung a low cross into the box which evaded everyone, seemed to almost go through Matej Rakovan in the United goal, and went straight into the net at the far post.
It had been an awful first half for United, and the second half was to get even worse. Although Csaba Laszlo brought on Billy King for Paul McMullan, it did nothing to stem the tide as the woeful defending continued, and within seven minutes of the second half beginning United had conceded two more goals. With five minutes gone in the half, Billy Mckay was to turn provider this time, as he brought the ball down and broke down the right hand side. He squared the ball to Josh Mullin who was left with a tap-in at the back post that he was never likely to miss. The fifth goal came a mere two minutes later, and was a virtually identical goal, although it was with the personnel reversed as Josh Mullin was this time the provider on the United left, and his cross into the box was tapped into the net by Billy Mckay to give the former United player his hat trick and to give Ross County a scarcely believable 5-1 lead with almost 40 minutes left to play. All five of the Ross County goals had come from the United left.
There were very few United fans left in the ground after the fifth goal went in, and there was a growing belief that the score would end up being whatever Ross County wanted it to be as United looked utterly incapable of stopping them. The players had by and large thrown in the towel by this stage, knowing that they would be on the end of a heavy defeat. Csaba Laszlo’s response was to use his final two changes by bringing on Stewart Murdoch and Fraser Fyvie for Christophe Rabitsch and Fraser Aird. However, the change was to backfire massively as Murdoch was sent off a mere three minutes after coming on as he got into a tussle with Jamie Lindsay on the United left. The former Ross County defender stamped on Lindsay as he lay prone on the ground, and the deserved red card he received made United’s day even more ignominious.
The final half hour of the game was rather uneventful, with the result beyond doubt. Aside from a Fraser Fyvie free kick with 25 minutes left and a turn and shot from the same player towards the end, United did not look like getting back into the game. The away side always looked comfortable, although they did not have any real chances to increase their lead in the final half hour. The game played out in a rather low-key setting and Ross County finished up with an emphatic 5-1 win which took them three points clear of their beleaguered opponents.
The match ended in a strange atmosphere with very few United fans in the ground, and those who were there made their feelings clear about the performance and the United manager. Given that Csaba Laszlo’s job already looked precarious, his sacking appeared inevitable after this horrific result and sure enough, the day after the game United announced his dismissal, with Laurie Ellis being placed in temporary charge of the team.
Match report written by Derek Keilloh
|Matej Rakovan (GK)||28||9||-||9||-|
|Stewart Murdoch (sub)||28||6||-||72||1|
|Billy King (sub)||24||4||-||52||8|
|Fraser Fyvie (sub)||25||3||1||20||4|