1 - 0
|Michael Tidser (19)||None.|
23. Robby McCrorie
2. Lee Kilday
4. Gregor Buchanan
14. Reghan Tumilty
7. Chris Millar
12. Michael Tidser
17. Keelan O'Connell
32. Reece Lyon
11. Bob McHugh
20. Greg Kiltie
Ross Laidlaw .34
Callum Booth .3
Charlie Seaman .49
Mark Connolly .55
Mark Reynolds .30
Calum Butcher .18
Logan Chalmers .29
Sam Stanton .12
Pavol Šafranko .14
Cammy Smith .25
Osman Sow .9
1. Derek Gaston
6. Charlie Telfer
8. Jim McAlister
15. Dylan Dykes
36. Darren Hynes
37. Lewis McGrattan
44. Andy Dallas
Benji Siegrist .1
Paul Watson .44
Rachid Bouhenna .19
Chris Mochrie .48
Ian Harkes .47
Nicky Clark .10
Paul McMullan .7
Charlie Telfer for Keelen O'Connell (66)
Dylan Dykes for Reece Lyon (75)
Lewis McGrattan for Michael Tidser (90)
Paul McMullan for Cammy Smith (56)
Chris Mochrie for Logan Chalmers (67)
Nicky Clark for Osman Sow (73)
|Charlie Telfer (85)||None.|
Grant Irvine (Referee)
United’s final regular season game in the Scottish Championship ended with a 1-0 defeat against Morton at Cappielow. The match was a meaningless one for both teams, with second place secured for United and Morton’s 1-0 victory over Dunfermline the previous week preserving their Championship status for next season.
Reflecting the dead rubber status of this game. Dundee United head coach Robbie Neilson made six changes from the team which beat Falkirk 2-0 in their previous game. Ross Laidlaw made his first United start in goals, and youngster Logan Chalmers also made his first start for the club. The other four players to go back into the starting eleven were Sam Stanton, Charlie Seaman, Mark Connolly and Cammy Smith. The six players to drop out were Ben Siegrist, Paul Watson, Rachid Bouhenna, Jamie Robson, Paul McMullan and Ian Harkes.
Morton’s plans for the game were thrown into disarray a mere 90 minutes before the game kicked off, with manager Jonatan Johansson and assistant manager Peter Houston quitting after an apparent disagreement with the Morton board, and so Jim McAlister and Chris Millar took charge of the team for this game. Despite that setback, they started the game as the better side and United struggled to get any sustained spells of possession in the early stages.
Having said that, the first chance of the game came for the away side on the eighth minute when Pavol Safranko met a Charlie Seaman cross from the right, but his header was easily saved by Morton goalkeeper Robby McCrorie. A minute later, Osman Sow won a free kick out on the left wing. Cammy Smith’s attempted cross was blocked, but the ball was only cleared as far as Calum Butcher who hit a shot from 25 yards out, but the ball flew wide of the post. Logan Chalmers had a weak shot soon afterwards which was saved by McCrorie, and Pavol Safranko was then foiled by a good block from Gregor Buchanan when it briefly looked as if the Slovakian had a clear shot on goal from outside the area.
Morton took the lead after 17 minutes after Mark Connolly tripped Greg Kiltie right on the edge of the United penalty area. Michael Tidser lined up the free kick and curled a wonderful effort past Ross Laidlaw and into the top left corner of the net to give the home side the advantage. Despite that goal, the game felt rather like the end of season affair it was, and was played in a somewhat relaxed atmosphere. The next chance came ten minutes after the goal and was again for the home team, although United were the architects of their own downfall as Calum Butcher played a sloppy pass which Mark Connolly failed to clear. The ball broke for Reece Lyon, but his shot was poor.
Morton were continuing to be the team in the ascendancy, and as the half drew on former United player Reghan Tumilty had a couple of efforts on goal. His first effort was a harmless left footed curling effort which went over the bar, but he managed to get his second effort on target. It was a low shot which Ross Laidlaw had to dive to his right to palm away from goal. United then had a couple of chances at the other end before half time. The first came seven minutes before the break after some good build up play between Osman Sow and Sam Stanton, before Stanton saw a shot from outside the area deflected into the arms of Robby McCrorie. Sow then had a chance of his own three minutes before the break when he got his head on a Sam Stanton cross. Somehow, from point blank range he could only direct his header wide of the post, although his blushes were spared by an offside flag.
Neither side made any changes at half time, and United nearly got the equaliser in the first minute of the half when Osman Sow headed the ball down for Cammy Smith, who hit a 25 yard shot that Morton goalkeeper Robby McCrorie was able to tip on to the crossbar. A monute later, from a Charlie Seaman free kick fell at the feet of Mark Reynolds, but the big defender could only hit the ball over the bar. Logan Chalmers was the next player to threaten the Morton goal, but his shot went wide of the post. Pavol Safranko then almost exploited some dithering on the ball from Robby McCrorie, but the Morton goalkeeper was just able to knock the ball out of play for a throw in before Safranko could nick the ball off him. McCrorie looked more impressive just after the hour mark as he made a fine stop to block a close range effort from Mark Connolly. This followed a free header from Gregor Buchanan at the other end which, fortunately for United, was headed straight at Ross Laidlaw.
Midway through the second half, there was a piece of Dundee United history as Chris Mochrie came on for Logan Chalmers. At the age of 16 years and 27 days, Mochrie became the youngest first team player in Dundee United’s history. He took the record from John Souttar, who was 16 years and 99 days old when he made his United debut in 2013.
With seventeen minutes left to play, only a fine stop from Ross Laidlaw prevented Morton from doubling their lead as a diving header from Greg Kiltie had to be clawed past the post by the United goalkeeper. Chris Mochrie then tried his luck from outside the penalty area, but his shot was just wide.
Pavol Safranko came close to grabbing an equaliser with ten minutes left for play with a shot from a tight angle on the left hand side of the Morton penalty area that flew just wide of the post. With seven minutes left, Greg Kiltie had another chance for Morton but his goalbound shot was blocked by Mark Connolly. The game rather petered out by this point, with both sets of fans being every bit as occupied by events taking place elsewhere as they were by events taking place at Cappielow. As it was, Morton were able to see the game out for a 1-0 that sealed fifth place in the league for them, with the shadow United side offering little in the way of resistance. The Terrors now has a week to wait to find out the identity of their playoff opponents in ten days’ time, with Ayr United and Inverness Caledonian Thistle fighting out for that honour.
Match report written by Derek Keilloh
|Ross Laidlaw (GK)||26||1||-||1||-|
|Chris Mochrie (sub)||16||1||-||1||-|
|Nicky Clark (sub)||27||32||13||32||13|
|Paul McMullan (sub)||23||39||6||79||15|