HIS GREATEST LOVE
Without ever reaching the pinnacles of brilliance, Dundee did just enough to take them safely through to meet Partick Thistle at Firhill on Saturday, 26th January. Playing against a team who battle and fight from start to finish Dundee have, in the past, wilted against such opposition. But that’s now two gutsy displays in a row by a side who seem to have added spirit and commitment to the skill nobody ever doubted was there.
The first half saw Dundee well on top and it was in this spell the game was won. After Alan Freeland had booked Fabian Caballero for diving, Beto Carranza is upended 30 yards out, and this time the free kick is awarded. Alessandro Romano touches it to FAN ZHIYI and the Chinese Captain hits a glorious strike, hard and low, that evades the wall and beats keeper Hogarth all ends up.
At this stage there was little to suggest this would be the only goal of the game as Dundee gave the impression they could score at will and were playing neat, open football.
But this goal spurred Falkirk into action and soon Julian Speroni had his first save of the match when a superb McStay through ball gave Miller a chance from close in, but Dundee’s young goalkeeper makes the stop.
The game should have been put beyond reach when Fabian Caballero appeared to be pulled back when through on goal and a rather soft penalty kick is awarded. To the surprise of the Dundee fans, Fabian decided to take the spot kick himself and his sidefooted shot gave keeper Hogarth no problems and he saves easily. Some will ask why Fab took the penalty himself and not either Beto Carranza, who has scored two this season, or Juan Sara, who has scored one.
The second half saw Falkirk become much more aggressive and physical, but Dundee rose to the occasion and more than matched the First Division team for fight and spirit.
Lee Mair’s foul on Gavin Rae produced a booking for the youngster. Lee, a lodger in Gav’s house, might have went home last night to find the blinds closed and the locks changed.
The turning point in the game came early in the second half when the ball strikes Barry Smith on the shoulder, but the linesman decides it was his arm and the second penalty of the match was awarded. The penalty is struck well enough but Julian Speroni dives to his right to make a great save and the resulting header from the rebound is headed high over the bar.
From then on Falkirk threw everything into attack, but Dundee answered them well and soon found gaps appearing as the home side pushed forward. With Speroni inspirational in goal for Dundee, Ketsbaia and Kemes both missed what, by their standards, were fairly easy chances, to put the game beyond doubt.
A hard working, fighting performance by Dundee, giving them two victories in a row. Can they make it three?