Dundee United secured a first away league win of the season at East End Park today. Four goals, three penalties, all saved by Cammy Bell, and a single red card added up to an enthralling fixture which you could not take your eyes off for a second.
United kicked the game off bathed in the sunshine at East End Park. The first real action came on eight minutes when referee John Beaton amazed both sets of fans by pointing to the penalty spot as Gavin Reilly was adjudged to have been impeded trying to get on the end of a corner. Reilly himself stepped up and fired his shot down the centre, but Bell managed to get a strong hand on the ball and deflected it away to safety.
The game was flowing from end to end without any real goalmouth action until the twenty first minute as United took the lead with their first meaningful attempt on goal. Obadeyi raced down the left and fired in a low cross which the Dunfermline defence failed to clear. Simon Murray was on it quick as a flash and spun to find the back of the net from 4 yards out.
Three minutes later and Dunfermline were awarded their second penalty. Bell came out and saved well from the onrushing Reilly but as the ball deflected away with van der Struijk and Nicky Clark competing for the ball, to howling protests from the visiting fans, referee Beaton pointed to the spot. Clark took the honours for this penalty and this time put it to the right of Bell, but the United number one guessed correctly and pushed the shot away.
On thirty one minutes it was three penalty awards to Dunfermline, this time Dixon was adjuged to have hand balled and was booked. Bell was also cautioned for his protests. McMullen stepped up for this one; different taker but same outcome as Bell guessed correctly again, dived to his right and made it a hatrick of penalty saves in one half.
The remainder of the half was played at a ferocious pace but with no clear cut chances.
Half Time: Dunfermline 0 – 1 Dundee United
Both teams started the second half as they had ended the first and it was United who doubled their advantage two minutes into the half. Van der Velden played in the onrushing Andreu and Hutton could only take the pace off his shot as it squirmed over the line.
Dunfermline, however, reacted well to this setback and immediately reduced the deficit to a single goal when McMullen’s shot was deflected into the path of Michael Paton and he made no mistake from 6 yards out.
The action was now incessant as Dunfermline mounted on onslaught on the United goal. Their cause was helped by referee Beaton as he produced a second yellow card for Paul Dixon, reducing United to ten men. While they huffed and puffed Dunfermline could not mount a serious assault on the united goal, which looked much more resilient than they have in recent weeks.
The introduction of Cammy Smith for the tiring Murray gave United more ability to hold up the ball when the chance came and his strength and pace caused Dunfermline problems as the game wore on. In the dying minutes Tony Andreu secured all three points, firing into the net via the post, following great link up play between Flood and Smith.
The fans erupted at full time as United secured the points in a scintillating game.
Full Time : Dunfermline 1 – 3 Dundee United
Man of the match: Tony Andreu will be on record as scoring the goals that gave United three points, but Cammy Bell with three penalty saves in twenty five minutes wins the award for his heroics today.
Dunfermiline: Hutton, Williamson ( El Alagui 73 ), Ashcroft, Fordyce, Martin ( Cardle 83 ), McMullan, Geggan ( C ), Paton, McCabe, Clark, Reilly
Unused Subs: Gill, Richards-Everton, Herron, Higginbotham, Moffat
United: Bell, Dixon, Edjenguele, Van Der Struijk, Toshney, Telfer, Flood ( C ) , Obadeyi ( Robson 62 ), Van Der Velden ( Donaldson 79 ), Andreu, Murray ( C. Smith 67 )
Unused Subs: Zwick, Dillon, Spittal, Fraser
Referee: John Beaton