Match Review – Dundee United vs Alloa Athletic

When is a win both good and bad? When it is Dundee United 2 – 1 Alloa Athletic.

It has been interesting reading the social media and forum reaction to yesterday’s victory at Tannadice and people, generally, seem to fall in to one of two camps – “Results are all that matter and we got three points” or “That wasn’t good enough, it was a rubbish”.

I would argue it is a case of both being true and I would say that it is perfectly acceptable to be happy with an important win but also unhappy with the level of performance from the team. My honest appraisal of yesterday is a bit biased but only because I was out and about with friends yesterday and between 11am and 2:30pm I was at a beer festival, having a laugh and socialising. Then I went to Tannadice. It was obvious just a few minutes in that this was going to be one of those games where United play hesitantly and plod along with little urgency or attacking flair. It is safe to say that I was in a bit of a huff having left beer and friends for sideways passing and another cautious 4231.

The days previous to the Alloa game had ignited a little bit of interest in our title challenge even if we all know it is probably out of reach. The gutsy and aggressive display against County was a real bonus to us all because it highlighted the physical capabilities of the team and reminded us of the early displays under Neilson. Unfortunately yesterday was never going toe like that and in part that was always going to be influenced by Alloa’s objective of sitting in and making things difficult.

I absolutely acknowledge that three points is the objective each and every game but my worry about yesterday was that the level of performance and the weaknesses within the team will see us struggle in games against sides who turn the screw and have a go. When you look ahead to the Dunfermline game there is no chance that yesterday’s display would be enough to get three points and that is the bit that worries me. We should be approaching games against Alloa and next week against Queen of the South with an arrogant and physical swagger because we have the resources and a side capable of doing that.

Don’t get me wrong, we definitely deserved to win yesterday and we controlled large spells of the game but it still felt a bit ‘meh’ and at a time when we really should just be going all out each and every week it felt like a let down despite those three important points.

Player Ratings – 

1 – Benji Siegrist – Sorry but yesterday was another one of ‘those games’ for the goalkeeper. He played well against County but against Alloa had another howler. 3

44 – Paul Watson – Adds a physical presence and we benefit at set-pieces when he plays but he isn’t a right-back as we all know. 5

30 – Mark Reynolds – Had a solid game and was voted as the sponsor’s man of the match. 5

19 – Rachid Bouhenna – Did okay but seemed to panic at certain times and mistimed a few challenges that put us under pressure. 4

3 – Callum Booth – Looks like he enjoys playing with Robson down the flank and did get forward when possible. 5

12 – Sam Stanton – Would do some things so well and then pass the ball to nobody. Very erratic. 4

18 – Calum Butcher – Started poorly and never really dominated the midfield. Did show a bit of promise later on in the match. 5

17 – Jamie Robson – To give Robson huge credit he has played well the last two games and in a position he lacks experience in. Not particularly skilful but determined to get forward whenever possible. 6

10 – Nicky Clark – He continues to get us goals but maybe still not contributing enough across the park. 5

25 – Cammy Smith – Feel for him and again he was out of position before then getting injured. 4

7 – Paul McMullan – After an excellent display against Ross County he took a step backwards yesterday but did play out on the wing for the majority of the game and didn’t get a chance through the middle. 5

Subs – 

50 – Peter Pawlett – Had more of an impact as the game went on and made a real difference in the later stages.

49. Charlie Seaman – Made little impact.

47. Ian Harkes – I felt he should have started ahead of Stanton. His use of the ball is really important to us.

Man of the Match – I probably was not alone on Tuesday night in being thoroughly confused when Jamie Robson lined up on the left-wing against Ross County. To his credit though he has played twice in that role and on both occasions he has shown drive and enthusiasm. He isn’t capable of all the tricks and flicks you would associate with a winger but he does have energy and a determination to get forward with the ball.

Up Next – The re-arranged trip to Dunfermline and a game that could see us cut our deficit to two points (albeit with County having games in hand). It could be a huge psychological boost for us but we are facing a Dunfermline side in great form and one that have had a bit of a rest since their last fixture. As always, the Steak Bridies will be the real star of the show…