Disclaimer – This first bit was written just before game.
There is nothing more exciting as a football fan than going to a game and wondering if some new signings will be playing for the first time. It doesn’t matter how bad your team are your heart will always be lifted by the news that you have some new players to judge support. Thankfully this United team are progressing quite well at the moment so signings Craig Slater, Brandon Mason and Emil Lyng are joining a squad that is already quite strong (if a little depleted).
Laszlo will have seen today’s game as a very difficult prospect as Falkirk are also in the midst of a signing spree and surely must come good at some point this season (they can’t be this bad all season can they?)
The starting eleven had two changes, both enforced. Paul McMullan was suspended due to his stupidity last week and Mark Durnan is still feeling the effects of a niggling injury that was made worse against Brechin. Of the new signings it was Brandon Mason and Craig Slater who made their debuts with Emil Lyng on the bench.
The first half was probably the worst we have seen under Csaba Laszlo so far. The early goal was really the only positive for United and to be honest losing 2-1 at the break flattered us. Falkirk hit the bar and post with Craig Sibbald bossing the midfield. It was flat all over the park and our normally solid defence looked incredibly weak with Robson on the right being torn apart from the other Robson on the left for Falkirk. Paul Quinn really struggled in the tackle and looked very weak physically. It didn’t help that his passing was also pretty woeful. Harry Lewis looked very suspect, especially coming for crosses. Almost every Falkirk corner seemed to cause mass panic which was not helped by the insistence from Lewis to come charging out for every ball. Falkirk strolled the first 45.
Surely the second half would be better? Surely? No. No it wasn’t. In fact it was worse. Amazingly there was no reaction from the United team after the first half performance. Normally you expect a quick start or a bit of pressure early on but it was completely missing. All credit to Falkirk for their work-rate and forward play but as a team United were totally abject and had no redeeming qualities. Not much else to say about the game other than Laszlo will absolutely devastated and incredibly angry. This is a performance that will embarrass him and it embarrassed the 1200 odd United fans that made the effort to go. There can be very few slip ups now with St.Mirren continuing to pick up points. No more room for error and we need to move on from one of the worst performances I can remember from a United side.
Dundee United Player Ratings –
25. Harry Lewis – 2 – At fault for at least one of the goals and looked unsure all afternoon. Poorest he has been in a United shirt.
32. Brandon Mason – 3 – He obviously enjoyed getting forward but today caught him out. Maybe the pace of the game was a bit of a shock but he looked nervy on the ball and was out muscled far too easily.
3. Tam Scobbie – 3 – Badly caught out in a few one on one runs from people like Longridge and he did not look like an experienced pro today. Out paced and out thought.
5. Paul Quinn – 2 – I’ve seen this type of performance from Quinn before and it reminded me of the game against Crusaders. Totally devoid of any leadership and quality from someone you expect better from.
17. Jamie Robson – 3 – Looked very uncomfortable in possession playing on his weaker side and he was easily beaten down the line far too often.
15. Craig Slater – 4 – Probably United’s best midfielder despite being substituted early in the second half. Neat and tidy in possession so should be an important player over the next few months.
12. Sam Stanton – 3 – Very quiet compared to his usual box-to-box style. Never got a sniff and was physically as weak as I have seen him.
16. Willo Flood – 3 – Back to the bad old days of last season. Looked totally lost and well short of pace compared to the Falkirk players around him. He was totally bossed by the Falkirk midfield.
11. Billy King – 3 – Weak going forward and did nothing to help out Mason behind him. Nothing came off for him apart from his early goal which he took well.
19. James Keatings – 2 – Going backwards again for Keatings. After last week’s decent performance he went missing today. Offered nothing on the ball.
8. Scott McDonald – 2 – Isolated upfront but did nothing to help his cause by not putting in any effort off the ball. Looked like he was in the huff for the majority of the game.
Subs – 58. Emil Lyng (2) Made no impact under difficult circumstances. 38. Logan Chalmers (2) Difficult game for the youngster to be involved in. 28. Matty Smith (2) Same as Chalmers, couldn’t make any impact.
Man of the Match – Craig Sibbald. Not a chance any United player would be anywhere near this. In the first half Sibbald was by far the best player on the park, in the second he was a bit quieter but still dominated the midfield. Louis Longridge got the stadium announcement and was also very impressive for the Bairns.
Next Fixture – Dunfermline Away – 13th December. We must surely see a massive reaction from United? Laszlo has a full week to prepare for what will be a massive game for his team. We must win at East End Park. Not only that we need to put in a dominant performance to repay the faith that the fans showed today (and will again next week).