Dundee 1 v 0 Ayr United
United suffered a frustrating 1-0 defeat to Dundee in their first away game of the Championship season. A second half goal from Dundee substitute Andrew Nelson was enough to separate the teams, but Ayr’s performance seemed deserving of at least a draw.
The most disappointing detail was that with both teams playing attractive and entertaining football much of the discussion post-match was about the performance of referee Alan Newlands whose decisions at times had both sets of fans shaking their heads in disbelief. For United manager Ian McCall, who praised his team’s performance, one decision, in particular, caught his eye when Alan Forrest appeared to be blatantly fouled in the box, but the official saw no offence. The incident also resulted in McCall receiving a yellow card as he prematurely celebrated and, in his exuberance, encroached upon the playing surface.
Dundee had the better start to the game and created the first major chance on 9 mins when Paul McGowan won the ball and passed to Kane Hemmings in the box. The striker made space for an attempt on goal, but Jamie Adams blocked and sent the shot over the bar.
As the match progressed, Ayr found their feet and looked set to open the scoring in the 17th min. Michael Moffat beat the defence to slice the ball out to the left where it was picked up by Forrest and only a great reaction save from Dundee keeper Jack Hamilton kept his low, tight-angled shot out and the game level.
It was end-to-end football for the remainder of the first half with both sides looking threatening and challenging for an opener. Neither team managed to find the back of the net though and the score remained goalless at the halftime whistle.
The torrential rain that started during halftime did little harm to the play which remained fast-paced and competitive as the second set of 45 mins got underway.
Ayr created possibly their best chance of the game in the 66th min when Dundee failed to clear, and Forrest raced in to pick up the ball. The winger’s flicked attempt from 15 yards looked to have passed the outrushing Hamilton, but the keeper stuck out a foot to turn the ball narrowly wide.
Only two minutes later, it was United’s turn to save from a rebound when a shot from former Ayr player Declan McDaid bounced off Ross Docherty in the box and fell to the feet of Hemmings who was denied by a remarkable block by keeper Ross Doohan.
The Dee smelled blood and upped the pressure with their efforts finally paying off in the 74th min.
A pinpoint cross from Jordan Marshall was met by substitute Andrew Nelson at the edge of the six-yard box and he deftly headed past Doohan and into the bottom right-hand corner to score what turned out to be the only goal of the game.
Ayr didn’t give up and continued to push forward, but Dundee were now in control and looked the stronger side.
The home team got close to doubling their lead on 88 minutes when Nelson delivered a cross to Josh Todd at the left post. His half-volley looked goal-bound, but an outstanding save from Doohan denied Dundee a late goal and kept the score on 1-0 at full time.
Next up, United are at home to Queen of the South on Saturday the 24th.
Hamilton, Kerr, McGhee, Ness, Forster, McGowan, McDaid, Johnson, Robertson, Marshall, Hemmings
Substitutes: Ferrie (GK), Meekings, Todd, Byrne, Nelson, Moore, Anderson
Doohan, Harvie, Geggan, Moffat, Forrest, McCowan, Bell, Adams, Murdoch, Docherty, Kelly
Substitutes: Hare-Reid (GK), Kerr, Roscoe, Doolan, McGuffie, Ferguson, McKenzie
Referee: Alan Newlands