Dundee 0 - 2 St Mirren: Kenny McLean wonder goal helps St Mirren to away win
STRUGGLING for fans, struggling for inspiration and, most importantly, struggling for goals, unless Dundee’s newly-assembled side can gel and begin to convert those chances which come their way, they will inevitably struggle to survive in the top flight.
Scorers: St Mirren - McLean 38; Parkin 61
This match was there for the taking, yet they only kicked into life in the second half and by then they were playing catch-up.
St Mirren’s Danny Lennon was clearly the happier of the two managers, “with two fantastic goals and a clean sheet when we didn’t even really get out of third gear”. Dundee’s Barry Smith was “disappointed”, and well he might have been, especially with a desperately dull first half.
Indeed, the match only kicked into life with a spectacular goal by Kenny McLean just before the break when Davide Grassi’s clearance fell to him on the edge of the centre circle. The midfielder took one touch and then unleashed a remarkable left-footed thunderbolt that was still rising as it rocketed past a stunned Rab Douglas.
It was a rare moment to raise the spirits in an otherwise dour first half which suggested that scoring goals is already Dundee’s primary challenge. Last week’s goalless draw at Rugby Park was a pleasant surprise for a side essentially put together to compete in the First Division, but early on against St Mirren they looked full of fight but toothless. The exception was their only shot on target, seconds before half-time, when Ryan Conroy’s superb low drive from outside the area smacked off the right-hand post with Craig Samson well beaten.
Those were comfortably the best moments of a first half in which St Mirren looked the more likely to score, with Stephen Thompson’s bustling workrate responsible for two of their three serious attempts on goal.
Who knows what Smith said during the break, but it certainly worked. Dundee were completely rejuvenated, passing with more confidence and urgency, and snapping into tackles. Yet as Dundee pressed forward, they left space for the visitors, with Graham Carey and Dougie Imrie the main beneficiaries.
Imrie could have extended Saints’ lead five minutes into the second period when Thompson worked him into the Dundee box only for Imrie to fall over the ball with the goal at his mercy. But if Dundee were leaving themselves open, they were also threatening at the other end. The increasingly influential James McAlister was the catalyst, the youngster almost scoring when he burst into the area, only to be thwarted by an excellent close-quarters save from Samson.
That started a sustained period of Dundee pressure, during which Iain Davidson drove just over the bar and Stewart was clean through, only for McLean to put in a perfect tackle that had the home fans screaming for a penalty. As Dundee rued that missed opportunity, St Mirren struck on the break, Imrie steaming down the left wing and pinging the ball into the box where Sam Parkin had enough time and space to bring down the ball and stroke it into the corner.
Even then Dundee had enough chances to take something from this game. Stewart unaccountably sent a free back-post header over from six feet out, and Davidson had a headed goal chalked off for offside five minutes later.
After that, Dundee pressed, but St Mirren always looked comfortable, and even when John Baird was put clean through in injury time, he lobbed the ball ineffectually over the bar. Slim pickings for Dundee, who will know that if they want to get anything out of next Sunday’s derby, they will need to turn up for both halves.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west