May 16, 2017
A nervy night saw the game end all square after a keenly fought match at Tannadice which saw the Tangerines twice take the lead, through Murray and Spittal, only to be pegged back after strikes from Craigan and McKee.
By Ally Stewart
After a nervous opening the hosts settled into their game and a neat move involving Andreu and Murray nearly put Blair Spittal clean through on goal but the Falkirk defence were just able to clear. Following a spell of pressure, United opened the scoring in the 16th minute after Bell sent a goal kick up field which Mikkelsen flicked on sending Murray clean through on goal. The in-form striker made no mistake with the finish drilling low into the bottom corner from right side of the box for his 17th goal of the season.
The visitors pushed forward looking to launch an immediate comeback and after a short spell of pressure Luke Leahy’s low ball across the face of goal was one which Bell was relieved to see run out of play. The visitors were level again after 27 minutes when Sibbald won possession in midfield and played the ball wide to Joseph McKee, whose pin point cross was acrobatically met first time by Craigan 8 yards out leaving Bell with no chance. Crosses into the box were making the Tangerines defence nervous and successive corners ended with Lee Miller heading into the arms of Bell inside the 6-yard area. Craigan then forced a save from Bell in the 37th minute, with the United keeper doing well to turn his low shot around the post. From the corner Bell then saved from Austin from close range as United continued to look vulnerable at the back but the first half ended with the teams level.
Following a counter attack in the 54th minute the hosts again took the lead and it was another man in goal scoring form who got his name on the scoresheet. Murray held the ball up beautifully after breaking from midfield and when the shooting opportunity didn’t present itself he instead played the ball across the area to Spittal who made no mistake with a fine angled drive which nestled in the bottom corner. Again the lead wasn’t one which the hosts could hold onto as Falkirk got themselves level just 5 minutes later. Flood conceded a free kick from around 25 yards out which seemed to pose little danger of a direct attempt on goal. McKee had other ideas however and he struck the ball cleanly and caught Bell out as his shot sailed high into the net much to the frustration of the home side. Attempting to replicate the heroics from McKee, Andreu sent a free kick over the bar from distance as he looked to again restore United’s lead. Charlie Telfer, who had just come on for Kuate, forced a save from Thomson low to his right before 5 minutes later Murray took a pass from Spittal and saw his shot saved in similar fashion. As the game entered the latter stages Spittal broke into the box and fired over after good play down the right flank before there was a huge let off for United in the 79th minute. An excellent delivery from the right by Craigan was headed into the top corner by sub John Baird only to see his celebrations cut short after the linesman flagged for offside. With 2 minutes remaining a deep cross from Dillon was met by the head of Mikkelsen but his floating header sailed over before right on the 90th minute he almost scored a winner with a header towards the back post which Thomson turned away with Murray also lurking. The ball was cleared and there was to be no further twist to the tale on the night.
Full Time Summary
In a game which saw several shifts in momentum throughout a draw was probably a fair outcome such was the margin of difference between the sides. The opportunity is now there for either to progress with everything to play for on Friday night at the Falkirk Stadium.
Man of the Match
Scorer of one and provider of the other of United’s goals on the night following another energetic display, Simon Murray was the main bright light for the hosts, with Blair Spittal also standing out with him as the main attacking threat.
United – Bell, Robson (Dixon 80), Edjenguele, Durnan, Murdoch (Dillon 8) Flood, Andreu, Kuate (Telfer 63), Spittal, Mikkelsen, Murray. Subs not used – Zwick, Allardice, Fraser, Nicholls.
Falkirk – Thomson, Leahy, McKee, Kerr, Sibbald (Taiwo 74) Grant, Gasparotto, Austin (McHugh 80), Miller (Baird 63), Craigan. Subs not used – Rogers, Hippolyte, Aird, Watson.
Attendance – 7034
Referee – Bobby MaddenTweet