I told someone last week that my blog is easy to write at the moment because United have provided us with so much to moan about. With the win last time out against Queen of the South I found it harder to fill a blog post because things seemed to be on the up! The big question today then, could United again provide me with more writer’s block?
In terms of team news ahead of the match it was obvious that the two biggest worries were the loss of Stanton and Clark. We had no indication of Clark maybe being out (but this is United and we don’t do proper injury updates). The return of Stewart Murdoch was probably expected but the bench, due to injuries, still looked worryingly thin.
As far as opening spells go we got a very welcome surprise as United started really positively and grabbed an early goal. This was the perfect start for the fans and it relaxed the atmosphere inside Tannadice (although again the home crowd was pretty poor in terms of numbers). What came next was atypical for United. We dropped deeper, we changed our shape to be more defensive and we started to look more and more anxious as the game wore on. Luckily Partick were abysmal so fans were ‘treated’ to an hour or so of very, very poor football from both sides. As the minutes ticked by it did feel as though the inevitable may happen but, in a twist that shocked all of us, we actually scored not one, but two goals in a spell of real dominance during the last 20 or so minutes. We took both goals very well and the third in particular was a really good move that seemed to appear out of nowhere given the football on show.
United are still not quite there in terms of being a fluid side and we are still very guilty of slack possession and huge errors in judgement but this was a massive three points and in the context of the season it could turn out to be a real catalyst for Laszlo’s team. We also witnessed a miracle today as, after years of throw-in anguish, United finally utilised a long-throw! Hallelujah!
A couple of last thoughts before we look at the player ratings. It was really nice to see Frans and Loemba, for the second match running, go over to the fans at the end of the game and take the time to shake hands, take photos and chat to supporters. Some people think players doing that is a bit cheesy and ‘fake’ but they look genuinely pleased to be doing it and makes a difference when little things like that happen. The club have lost their way when it comes to connecting to the fans so it is nice seeing players do this (hopefully more might join them). The second point is on the fans. It is still really saddening to see such low crowds at Tannadice. I know it takes time to build the fanbase back and the supporters haven’t had much to cheer but seeing so many empty seats still frustrates me. It is a sign of how far we’ve fallen but hopefully the team can make a difference. If they do go on a decent run and remain in the title picture then you will surely see a rise in attendances.
Player Ratings –
1 – Matej Rakovan – Very solid for 89 minutes and then a total flap for the Partick goal. 6
44 – Paul Watson – A veritable goal-machine. Solid enough at the back but his goals were the real star of the show. 8
2 – Stewart Murdoch – Gets a great deal of grief but he didn’t really do much wrong today. 6
4 – Frederic Frans – Another solid enough display apart from one or two moments of misjudgement in the first half. 6
17 – Jamie Robson – A copy and paste job for Robson’s comment but to be honest it is all I can say. He needs to be more decisive and more aggressive. 4
33 – Fraser Aird – Very quiet for long spells but one or two fantastic runs. Great assist for the third goal. 7
5 – Adam Barton – Gives me the fear. He seems to play the game at his own pace and looks like a great player when under no pressure but that isn’t going to happen so his composure is his biggest weakness and he gets caught out far too often. 5
20 – Christopher Rabitsch – He deserves great credit today for being the one energetic player in the middle of the park. Worked incredibly hard for the team. 7
90 – Yannick Loemba – He has unbelievable technique at times but made a large number of mistakes in the first 45. Got better as the game went on. 6
14 – Pavol Šafranko – Offers great physical presence and enjoys the dirtier side of the game which will be vital this season. 7
9 – Craig Curran – Fantastic energy. Played most of the game in an unfamiliar position out wide but he never stopped running and deserved his goal. 7
Subs – 32. Declan Glass – Late change and had no chance to make an impact. 3. Callum Booth – Great to see him get a few minutes under his belt.
Man of the Match – For obvious reasons it has to be Paul Watson. An honourable mention to a couple of others like Aird and Curran who played really well in spells but Watson got the vital goals and he looks like a player who could be a real asset at set-pieces this season.
Up Next – The problem with winning is that it puts you under more pressure for the next match. With United now on 6 points and on a two win ‘streak’ it is important that we travel to Alloa next week and we do well. These types of fixtures were a huge achilles heel for us last season and the real test of the the mental strength of this United squad will be going to places like Recreation Park and winning.
Championship Results –
Ayr United 4 – 1 Dunfermline Athletic
Dundee United 3 – 1 Partick Thistle
Falkirk 0 – 3 Queen of the South
Inverness Caledonian Thistle 2 – 2 Alloa Atheltic
Greenock Morton 2 – 1 Ross County