Dunfermline Athletic

Dundee United 1 Dunfermline 1

Saturday, 12th Aug 2023

cinch Championship: Chris Hamilton, Paul Allan and Michael O’Halloran start. Craig Wighton (61) 0-1: Mathew Cudjoe (90+5)

For their first away match of the Championship season, Dunfermline returned to Tannadice for the first time since October 2019. Chris Hamilton, Paul Allan and Michael O’Halloran started while Rhys Breen was suspended, an ill Lewis McCann would sit in the stand and Andrew Tod was on the bench alongside new signing on loan from Celtic, Ben Summers

Dundee United made one change from the side that defeated Arbroath, Ross Docherty was out with a hamstring problem so Kieran Freeman started. Craig Wighton got the match underway defending the goal in front of their supporters in the Carling Stand but it was at the other end where the early action happened. Within 30 seconds Josh Edwards forced a corner on the left, a second followed before the home defence headed clear.

On four minutes O’Halloran made a strong run through the middle and laid the ball off for Aaron Comrie on the edge of the box but he was dispossessed in a robust tackle by Kevin Holt. At the other end United’s first threat came from low driven shot at an angle from the right from the boot of captain, Tony Watt that slipped narrowly wide of the left goalpost.

Then O’Halloran was deep inside the opposition box to cut back from the right and Comrie got in a shot that Jack Walton kept out. United relied with a break that ended with an eighth minute free kick and a yellow card for Chris Hamilton.

The home team pushed forward and the Fifers were in defensive mode as their opponents had uncomfortable amounts of possession around their penalty box. Attempts were restricted to long distance - two from Scott McMann both held by Pars keeper, Harry Sharp. Next an Edwards long throw in on the quarter hour saw both Hamilton and Benedictus requiring treatment from the physios. Declan Gallagher was also treated as a consequence of a clash of heads with Hamilton. After more than three minutes all returned but Bene was brandishing a bandage wrapped around his head.

McMann then sped into the left side of the Pars box and his cut back cannoned off Comrie into Sharp’s hands. Benedictus made a good block on an effort launched on target by Liam Grimshaw before a cross from the left led to a scramble in front of the Pars goal but the offside flag went up to halt any danger.

In 28 minutes Edwards exchanged passes with O’Halloran on the left corner of the penalty box but the left wingback’s shot from 15 yards was blocked. The half was interrupted by stoppages for injuries and on 32 minutes Kieran Freeman was forced off to be replaced by Archie Meekison.

It was the subs’ high boot that connected with Hamilton to give Dunfermline an opportunity from a free kick 25 yards out but Joe Chalmers sent the 38th minute effort over the crossbar. Edwards won a corner on the left two minutes later but Allan’s cross went over everyone and a goal kick followed.

After an exchange with Wighton, Otoo on a marauding run forced another corner on the left and although that was cleared O’Halloran, Edwards was cut down and another free kick. This time Chalmers to Wighton who tried to pick out Allan on the right and his return was turned behind for another corner. Again United handled the threat.

It had been a half disrupted by stoppages and it was little surprise that referee Euan Anderson allowed six additional minutes. Stats showed a first half advantage to Dunfermline, there had been chances at both ends but without either keeper pulling off wonder saves it was goalless at the interval.

Half time: Dundee United 0 Dunfermline 0

The second half had started tentatively but in 51 minutes Mathew Cudjoe released a stunning shot from 20 yards out that Sharp tipped over the bar. A great save and then two corners efficiently defended. A sortie up the left from Edwards to Otoo to Wighton raised the spirits of the away fans but another United corner in 56 minutes but Middleton’s inswinger travelled through the box untouched.

Two minutes later a double substitution saw Ben Summers and Andrew Tod replace Paul Allan and Michael O’Halloran. Summers was involved immediately and it was the 19 year old who fed Edwards on the left to line up Wighton but he shot wide. Edwards was cut down and with there being no whistle, Jim Goodwin and Dave Mackay got into heated words that earned them both yellow cards. Then in 61 minutes WIGHTON was able to rise to meet an Edwards delivery, his header from 12 yards out floating into the far side of the United net. Cue a great celebration in front of the Pars fans. 0-1

Summers hit the five man wall from his 22 yard free kick before Chalmers shot from an acute angle causing Walton to be happy to concede a corner. Dunfermline were fired up by the goal and looked to have really rattled their opponents for a period. United rallied as you would have expected as Kai Fotheringham and then Declan Glass were introduced for Glenn Middleton and Tony Watt.

Cudjoe had another excellent chance from the edge of the box that he belted just outside the Pars left goalpost. Sibbald smashed a shot from 25 yards over the Pars bar and sub Declan Glass whistled one narrowly wide as the clock began to run down.

It looked like the Fifers had pulled off what would have been just their second win at Tannadice since 2011 but in fifth minute of time added on the Tangerine Terrors found the equaliser. They mounted a final push and when the ball came in from the left CUDJOE was able to smash a left footed shot from 25 yard into the right side of the Pars net. 1-1

A really disappointing end for the 896 Pars fans and all the players, it would feel like a defeat but one point and still unbeaten, now in 26 league matches.

DUNDEE UNITED: Jack Walton; Kieran Freeman (Archie Meekison 32), Declan Gallagher, Kevin Holt, Scott McMann; Craig Sibbald, Liam Grimshaw: Mathew Cudjoe, Tony Watt (c) (Declan Glass 75), Glenn Middleton (Kai Fotheringham 70), Louis Moult
SUBS NOT USED: Ross Graham, Logan Chalmers, Rory MacLeod, Ollie Denham, Flynn Duffy, Jack Newman (GK)
SCORERS: Cudjoe (90+5)
YELLOW CARD: Jim Goodwin (60)

DUNFERMLINE: Harrison Sharp: Sam Fisher, Kyle Benedictus, Ewan Otoo: Chris Hamilton: Aaron Comrie, Paul Allan (Andrew Tod 57), Joe Chalmers, Josh Edwards: Craig Wighton, Michael O’Halloran (Ben Summers 57)
SUBS NOT USED: Miller Fenton, Taylor Sutherland, Max Little (GK)
SCORERS: Wighton (61)
YELLOW CARD: Hamilton (8), Dave Mackay (60), Fisher (90+2)

REFEREE: Euan Anderson
WEATHER: Changeable 20°C

NEXT MATCH: cinch Championship (home) v Raith Rovers, Saturday 26th August 2023, kick off 3.00pm at KDM Group East End Park

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