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Monday, 28 September 2009

2009-10 Season Review - September

Before any games kicked off this month, Gary Harkins's efforts for the previous month went rewarded with his player of the month award. There is a strong possibility that the 1-1 draw with Airdrie United will be null and void as Livingston could be re-instated to the First Division; Scottish football does love its off field court cases.
The first competitive fixture was for the other dark blues in a 2-0 win over Macedonia, but we didn't need to wait long for Dundee's first game- the day after, in fact. Dundee travelled to Stirling in the Alba Challenge Cup quarter final and circa 700 fans followed the team through. Griffiths notched a brace in a 2-1 win to see us through to the semi-finals. The team's performance prompted mixed comments from home and away fans alike suggesting Dundee deserved the win, but need to improve if promotion is to be achieved.

"...excellent performance from Stirling today, but Dundee's superior finishing proved to be the difference. Good to see a healthy away crowd too, must have been 700 odd Dundee fans made the effort.

We played well, and created lots of chances, but Dundee's 'injured' keeper pulled out a few good saves. Disappointed we lost obviously, but well pleased with how we played. If we keep up that level of performance for most of the season, we'll be playing Dundee again next season, in the league." StewartyMac, P&B.

The disappointment of Scotland's 1-0 defeat to the Netherlands was soon forgotten as the anticipation of another big game in the league campaign built. There was also the news that Dundee had drawn Annan Athletic at Dens in the semi-final of the Challenge Cup- the best possible draw we could have hoped for in our quest for our first trophy of the season.

Another decent Dens crowd saw a Gary Harkins penalty decide the Dunfermline game. It was far from convincing but it kept Dundee's unbeaten start to the season going and the 100% record for the month of September intact.

"Little between the sides first half, we probably started the better and slightly edged the play before the Dundee scored, (being denied two stonewallers in the process, one for a two handed shove on Bayne and the other for a blatant pull back on Cardle as he cut inside and set to shoot). Frustrating because the confidence boost the goal brought to Dundee made a big difference and we really offered no real threat after that and resorted too easily to aimless punts up the park. Kirk should have at least forced a save from the keeper from his one real chance and Phinn was unlucky second half to see a sweetly caught volley from Bayne's knockdown fire straight at the keeper." gingapar, P&B.

Next up- QOS away. This was always going to be a difficult game but Dundee didn't do themselves any favours when Bullock got himself sent off after 5 minutes, giving away a penalty in the process. Judge for yourselves via the link whether or not it was merited. That was effectively game over as Dundee couldn't score while QOS went on to score another before full time.

"Dont want to be negative but the sending off and penalty early on allowed us to win the game, I feel that if it had stayed 11 v 11 Dundee would have got the better of us. Once we got the 2nd I was looking for more but at the end it was a big 3 points for us. Dundee are without doubt a good side but they seemed to lack discipline at times all over the park and another Ref might have seen them finish with less than 10 men. Harkins was again a bit anonymous against us and never got to grips with the game as I would have expected. Griffiths was having strong words with Jocky Scott when he went off. I thought Tosher bossed the game today and was excellent and well desreved the man of the match reward. All the lads done well and David Lilley looked assured at the back and McCausland and Harris had sound games, Reidy had a couple of jittery moments but held his game together. McKenna and Burnsy both did well and Wilson and Tosher showed their quality. The front two worked very hard although I thought Davie Weatherston was often a bit isolated at times especially in the second half. Holmer was excellent, winning almost everything in the air and having lots of neat touches on the ground......await Hard Labours view with bated breathe...... A fine 3 points against what is without doubt the best side in the league"
Musky, QotS-Mad

Next up was the eagerly awaited cup tie against Aberdeen. This was a chance for the team to pick itself up after the defeat to QotS. In another classic night match at Dens Dundee took a 2 goal lead before, surprise surprise, losing it again with 2 minutes left. Deja Vu struck the home crowd. However, towards the end of the 1st period of extra time, Griffiths took advantage of a Langfield fumble to notch Dundee's winner. The win came at a cost with Douglas and McMenamin picking up injuries.

" I did enjoy the game. I also think in patches we played some decent stuff. I also thought Dundee looked a very good counter attacking team with plenty of pace and the boy Griffiths was good. I thought we would sneak it in extra time but wasn't to be and I wonder if had we won would there be boys on here posting how lucky we were and how crap we had played. It was good to see the likes of Pawlett going on a run and bursting into the penalty area even if it didn't end in a goal it was exciting to watch. Paton looks a player and is more composed than any of our other strikers currently." Seanthesheep, Aberdeen-Mad

The cup draw on the 24th of the month paired Dundee with Rangers at Dens in what could be another great cup night at Dens. Once the dust had settled on the Aberdeen game the bread and butter of the league returned in the form of a match up with Ross County at Dens. Bullock received news his red card at QotS has been reduced to a yellow and Jocky fixed up Derek Soutar as cover until January. Two second half goals from Griffiths secured the 3 points. The pairing of Cowan and MacKenzie at the back is becoming a huge favourite with the fans.

"Over the piece Dundee deserved their win.....

County had a real off day, partly due to the the loss of the highly influential Richard Brittain. Both him and Steven Craig were separately stretchered off within the first 20 mins. This obviously affected County's game plan and changed the pattern of the game. Brittain looks like he took a real bad one when in a tussle with Harkins on 10 mins. it seemed that Harkins studs came heavily down on his leg. Although this looked purely accidental the game was stopped for a full three minutes before the stretcher appeared. Craig followed him on 20 mins. although in this case it looked like his injury came from an awkward fall.

Despite these setbacks, the first half was fairly even with relatively little goalmouth action. The best chances during this period came from Vigurs blasting over the bar from a good position on the edge of the box -and with time/space - and at the other end McGovern pulling off a great reflex close-range save from Griffiths, who found himself one-on-one with Griffiths.

During the first ten minutes of the second half County pressed Dundee hard, and forced a series of corners. During this time Vigurs should have scored from the edge of the box, in space, but he tried to pass the ball low into the net instead of blasting it, and Bullock retrieved his effort at the second attempt.

After that Dundee pinned County back for most of the second half. Griffiths put them ahead on the hour mark when he headed the ball unchallenged into an empty net from six yards out following a Harkins corner. A bad defensive goal to lose. His second goal thirteen minutes from the end resulted from a great through ball from Clarke that split the County defence. Griffiths beat the offside trap and raced into the box behind the County defence, dummied the onrushing McGovern, and blasted the ball into the net from the right. When this goal was scored Watt was off the park receiving treatment. The second goal killed the game off, and the County heads went down.

In between both goals McGovern also pulled off a fantastic reflex save from a close range free Higgins header in a very similar position to where Griffiths scored his first from.

Apart from the first 10 mins. of this half a nervy County did little to threaten on the counter, and played extremely deep, often hoofing the ball away from the defensive area.

A total contrast to recent County performances, but the real worry is what effect these injuries, particularly to Brittain, will have in games to come - with such a small squad.

This is not meant to sound like sour grapes, but we weren't that impressed with Dundee. The main difference between the sides was the clinical finishing of Griffiths, a real pain in the a*** to County in recent times.

Despite this setback County stay ahead of Dundee in the league table, but have now dropped to second place."
Fyrish-stag, Over the Bridge Forum

As we head into October Dundee still find themselves in all competitions which is as much as can be asked for. However, it seems the team still has much of the proverbial "gelling" to do in order to step up a gear. While the QotS defeat- the only defeat of the season so far- can be put down to unfortunate circumstances given the subsequent rescinded red card, Dundee are not traveling well in the league. On a positive note, it seems that the defence has been aided, in no small measure, to the centre back pairing of Cowan and MacKenzie and the capture of Klimpl at the end of August. The team is slowly improving and the strongest first XI is starting to become clear.

September:
6th- Stirling Albion 1-2 Dundee, 1,277- Challenge Cup Quarter Final
Griffiths (2)

Bullock, Paton, Malone, Klimpl, MacKenzie (Forsyth 65), Benedictus (Lauchlan 25), Hart (Clarke 85), Kerr, McMenamin, Griffiths, Harkins.

Subs Not Used: Geddes, Young.

12th-Dundee 1-0 Dunfermline Athletic, 5,326 (League Position-3)
Harkins

Bullock, Paton, Malone, Klimpl (Cameron 87), MacKenzie, Lauchlan (Cowan 72), McHale, Kerr, Griffiths (Higgins 85), McMenamin, Harkins.

Subs Not Used: Douglas, Clarke.

19th- Queen of the South 2-0 Dundee, 2,875 (League Position-6th)

Bullock, Paton, Malone, MacKenzie, Cowan, Klimpl, McHale (Forsyth 72), Cameron (Douglas 5), Harkins, Griffiths (Higgins 61), McMenamin.

Subs Not Used: Casement, Kerr.

22nd- Dundee 3-2 Aberdeen, (AET- 2-2 90 mins), 6,131, League Cup 3rd Round,
Malone, Forsyth, Griffiths

Douglas (Bullock), Paton, MacKenzie, Cowan, Malone, Klimpl, Forsyth, Harkins, Kerr, McMenamin (Clarke), Higgins (Griffiths)

Subs not used: McHale & Casement

26th- Dundee 2-0 Ross County, 4,682, (League Position- 5th)
Griffiths (2)

Bullock, Paton, Malone, Klimpl, MacKenzie, Cowan, Forsyth, Kerr, Griffiths (McHale 90), Higgins (Clarke 70), Harkins (Hart 85).

Subs Not Used: Souter, Casement.

September Goal Count:
(L-League; LC-League Cup; LCC-League Challenge Cup)
  1. Griffiths 5 (2-L, 2-LCC, 1-LC)
  2. Harkins 1 (1-L)
  3. Malone 1 (1-LC)
  4. Forsyth 1 (1-LC)
Running Total for Season:
  1. Griffiths 8 (2-L; 3-LC; 3-LCC)
  2. Harkins 6 (4-L; 1-LC; 1-LCC)
  3. McMenamin 3 (2-L; 1-LC)
  4. Courier 3 (2-LC; 1-LCC)
  5. Higgins 2 (1 L; 1 LC)
  6. Cameron 1 (1-LC)
  7. Malone 1 (1-LC)
  8. Forsyth 1 (1-LC)
Average Home League Attendance So Far- 5,241
Cumulative League Attendance (4 games)- 20,964

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