After a turbulent and momentous week for Dundee United could the players send the fans home for Christmas with three points as an early present?
Yesterday’s game actually started off in a very subdued manner. The crowd seemed a little flat and it was clear from the first whistle that Falkirk were simply trying not to lose. This is always a difficult one for this United side as we have been guilty in the past of struggling to cut open teams who sit deep and pack the middle of the park. To give us a bit of credit though we did use the space fairly well and we wore Falkirk down after a slow start.
It was an assured and dominant performance and it was needed after the previous few weeks. We have added a win to our home tally and hopefully this is the beginning of another good run of form and an upturn in our Tannadice fortunes.
Despite the first-half being a dominant but fairly dull performance it was in the second 45 that things started to get interesting. Falkirk obviously decided at half-time that they would return to the pitch and simply kick people as often as they could. It was a bizarre performance from Ray McKinnon’s side and if it is something they hope to continue then they will really struggle (Alloa for example play much, much better football than they do).
In the end the match turned into an entertaining one with a decent atmosphere (and some interesting reactions from the Falkirk support). We had a sending off but possibly could have had more. We had players being thrown into advertising boards and we also witnessed Paul McMullan clothesline the referee from behind. We then had a wild celebration from the Falkirk fans when McKinnon took Marcus Haber off (it was one of the worst individual displays I’ve seen in a long time).
We made things difficult for ourselves in the final ten minutes but in all reality if the game had ended 4-0 nobody would have complained. It is a disappointment that we did not make our domination count and it is still a feature of our play that we will need to improve. Both County and Ayr have a significantly better goal difference so we need to start eating into that if we get the chance.
A happy weekend given the Ayr result as it narrows the gap slightly and gets people back into a positive mind-set for the next few fixtures.
Player Ratings –
1 – Benji Seigrist – An assured and confident performance. Some great pieces of distribution.A worry when he went down injured late on so hopefully it is nothing serious. 7
2 – Stewart Murdoch – Very comfortable. Still maybe needs to be better going forward but he strolled the defensive side of things. 6
19 – Rachid Bouhenna – Another who had the cigars out. Saw a huge amount of the ball given that we had to be patient in our play. 7
4 – Frederic Frans – A copy and paste job from Bouhenna’s rating. Had an easy afternoon and unlucky not to score. 7
3 – Callum Booth – Night and day performance from Booth. Excellent going forward and always offered the overlap. 7
8 – Fraser Fyvie – Games like this show why we need him so much. Desperate to be on the ball and always so comfortable in possession. Hopefully his injury is not serious but he could out for a couple of games at least. 7
12 – Sam Stanton – His best overall performance in a long time. A true box-to-box display and it shows what he can be capable of. 8
7 – Paul McMullan – Continues to work hard and is always likely to beat his man. Still needs to improve on his distribution and decision making. 6
11 – Billy King – Didn’t get involved and it was Callum Booth who showed him how it was done down the left hand side. Needs to improve. 5
33 – Fraser Aird – Some wonderful crosses yet again. His delivery from set-pieces is superb. Still needs to be better when it comes to his overall play. 6
14 – Pavol Šafranko – Hardly touched the ball early on but once the game opened up he started to show his quality. Yet again his link-up play and movement was superb. Delighted to see him back in amongst the goals. 7
9. Craig Curran – Showed good energy when he came on but still can’t figure out if he is a true striker or is better as a defensive wide player.
44. Paul Watson – Had half and hour and he didn’t really settle into the back four which caused some panic late on.
16. Matty Smith – Didn’t get enough time to make much of an impact.
Man of the Match – For me it has to be Sam Stanton. He gave us real quality throughout and was all over the park. Strong defensively and energetic going forward he needs to produce this more often but yesterday he strolled it and had a field-day against the weak Falkirk midfield.
Up Next – We travel to Alloa post-Christmas. We should take a really good support down the road and hopefully we can look at a victory against a team that we have struggled against in spells this year. Unbelievably this will be the FIFTH time we have faced Alloa this season.
Championship Results –
Alloa 2 – 0 Queen of the South
Dundee United 2 – 1 Falkirk
Dunfermline 0 – 0 Ayr United
Greenock Morton 1 – 2 Inverness
Ross County 2 – 0 Partick Thistle
The blog will still be around over the festive period and there will plenty to come over the next couple of weeks. Before then I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who reads the site and has supported it over the months and years. To everyone I want to say…