United made it six clean sheets in a row with a 0 – 0 draw at Raith Rovers. The ten men Tangerines battled terrifically but it could have been so much better had Kevin Cuthbert not saved Tony Andreu’s late penalty.
By Alasdair Marnoch
2,458 United fans made the trip south to Starks Park filling up the away end and creating an excellent atmosphere. McKinnon stuck with the line up from the game against Ayr United and, having recovered from a knee injury, Simon Murray was the only change on the bench.
Following Rovers’ defeat to bottom of the league St Mirren the previous week, defender Kyle Benedictus came back after a one game suspension.
Both teams started slowly but as the game got going so did the scrappy tackles. The first chance of the game fell to the hosts but the ball was caught easily by Cammy Bell.
United registered their first shot in the sixth minute with Obadeyi firing it wide from 20 yards out. At the other end of the park, Raith were awarded a free kick after a tackle by Edjenguélé. The free kick was headed away by the United defence creating what seemed to be a promising counter attack for United. Obadeyi ran down the left wing but struggled to find Fraser and the ball returned to Raith.
United were rewarded with a free kick 25 yards outside the box and Spittal was chosen to take it. He curved it round the wall but it went straight towards the keeper in the middle of the goal.
As the first half progressed it began to get a bit scrappy with a foul on Fraser on the right wing. United were subsequently given a free kick which Durnan took and after a scramble in the box it hit off Tony Andreu and out for a goal kick.
Raith had the last and possibly the closest chance of the half when the ball bounces off McManus’s chest and onto the cross bar. The United defence dealt with it well and this brought the first half to a close.
Once again the half started slowly with the first clear chance occurring in the 52nd minute with Jordan Thompson’s shot going over the bar.
United’s defence was put to the test in the next few minutes but Edjenguélé found a gap in Raith’s defence and ran through their half and on into the home team’s penalty box where his shot went over the bar.
Ten minutes into the second half Toshney (already on a yellow) made a rash tackle on Barr and much to the delight of the home fans was sent off with another yellow card. Durnan is also given a yellow card for dissent.
Since United were only playing with 10 men and one defender short, McKinnon brings on Dillon as the first substitution of the game. With the advantage of an extra man, Raith begin to pile the pressure on United with a shot deflecting off a United defender and going out for a corner. The corner comes in high and gets headed straight towards Cammy Bell.
As the final half hour of the game set in, Spittal had a series of shots that were either saved or cleared. This began to excite the Tangerine Army and got them singing in full voice. With the away crowd behind them, momentum seemed to be with United but they were unable to get past the home team’s defence.
Soon after Simon Murray was brought down in the box and United were given a penalty. Andreu stepped up to take it and it went off the keeper’s palm for a corner.
The game picked up pace in the final 10 minutes with both teams having chances on goal but nothing ever came from any chances.
Summary: Whilst the game was incredibly even, Cammy Bell was never really challenged and United ended another game with a clean sheet.
Raith Rovers: Cuthbert, McHattie, Callachan, M’Voto, Benedictus (c), Johnston, Barr (90+2), Davidson, Skacel (Stewart 71), McManus (Vaughn 83), Thompson
Subs not used: Brennan,Mathews, Roberts, Crawford
Dundee United: Bell, Robson, Durnan, Edjenguélé, Toshney, Telfer (Murray 64), Flood, Spittal, Andreu, Fraser, Obadeyi (Dillon 57).
Subs not used: Murdoch, Smith, Zwick, Donaldson, Van der Velden, Allardice
Referee: Steven Kirkland