Dundee's good recent run ended in a disappointing 3-1 defeat at St Mirren today. The match turned decisively on Colin Nish's first half red card. St Mirren dominated the remainder of the match and deserved all the points.
Steven Thompson gave St Mirren a first half lead. Although Ryan Conroy equalised from the penalty spot in the second half Saints ran out winners with another goal from Thompson again and then Imrie at the death.
Dundee couldn't field an unchanged team for the fourth match. Matt Lockwood was missing and was replaced at left back by Ryan Conroy.
Dundee started the match slowly as the home side were keen to get forward and shoot at every opportunity. The Dee gradually worked their way into the match and started to build some good moves. These mostly involved Colin Nish, who was linking well with Steven Milne.
It was a huge blow to the Dee when the big striker was sent off after 26 minutes. He lost control of the ball and, trying to recover it, he lunged in recklessly on Paul Dummett. Referee Willie Collum decided it deserved a straight red, and Dundee were left with a huge problem, over an hour to play and down to 10 men.
Things quickly got worse. McLean sent Guy clear with a neat pass through the inside left channel. The striker took the ball past Douglas, seemed to have carried it too far, but pulled it back across goal for THOMPSON to fire into the roof of the net.
Dundee were forced back for the rest of the first half. Dundee had been breaking quickly from defence, moving the ball up to Nish who had been holding it and bringing others into the game. But now Milne was isolated up front and Dundee couldn't keep possession when they came out of defence. The ball was always quickly lost and returned to keep Dundee under pressure.
Another good pass from McLean released Dunnett down the left and his cross was fired wide by Goodwin. McGinn tried to catch out Douglas with a chip from 18 yards, but the big keeper stretched
After half time Riley and McAlister started to play slightly further infield to offer more support to Steven Milne. Both sides were working very hard and St Mirren were matching Dundee for effort, which allowed them to make their one man advantage count. Kenny McLean's penetrating passes from midfield were posing problems for the Dee defence, and the central defenders had to be at their best to keep out St Mirren.
At the other end Riley cut in from the left to sting Samson's hands from 25 yards. Teale and McLean both shot narrowly wide from the edge of the penalty area and Douglas had to pull out a fine save to keep out a Thompson header. Dundee were meanwhile able to apply a spell of pressure, but struggled to get into positions from which they could give the home defence serious problems.
Midway through the half Dundee got back into the game from the penalty spot. Conroy took a free kick from wide on the left. Gallagher headed on and the ball seemed to be going out of play. Milne chased it and tried to hook it over his head into the goalmouth, but Goodwin was jumping behind him and blocked the ball with his outstretched hands. Mr Collum seemed unsure at first, but pointed to the spot on seeing his assistant's signal.
Ryan CONROY rammed the ball just inside the post and Dundee were back in the match.
The game had never been leisurely, but the tempo got even faster as Dundee were playing with more confidence while St Mirren were trying to restore their lead.
20 minutes from time St Mirren won a free kick wide on the left. Gary Teale's crossing had been impressive all afternoon, and again he hit a good ball to the near post where THOMPSON was able to twist and send a fine header past Douglas and just inside the post.
Dundee fought hard to try and get another equaliser, but as they chased the game with a man short they left themselves exposed to St Mirren's breaks. They were eventually caught out after 86 minutes when McAusland launched a long ball down the right. Substitute IMRIE took the ball, cut inside and lashed a fierce angled shot past Douglas to tie up the points for St Mirren.
The Buddies might have grabbed a fourth that would have been very harsh on Dundee right at the end when Gallagher under pressure had to turn the ball just over his own bar.
St Mirren certainly deserved their win, but Dundee were in contention till the third goal. In such a tight game the sending off proved crucial, and St Mirren made sure their advantage counted. Things didn't work out for Dundee today, but there was still plenty off effort and spirit from the Dark Blues. Sadly that wasn't enough with 10 men against a St Mirren team who were able to shake themselves out of their recent dreadful run. In particular Saints had vital contributions throughout from McLean and Teale who were able to deliver the passes that hurt Dundee and ensure the Buddies merited their victory.
St Mirren FC 4-4-2
van Zanten, Mair, McAusland, Dummett
Teale, McLean, Goodwin, McGinn (Imrie 73)
Thompson, Guy (Parkin 73)
Unused subs; Smith (gk), Carey, Barron, Reilly, Robertson
Goals; Thompson (30, 71), Imrie (86)
Bookings; Dummett (foul on Riley)
Dundee FC 4-4-2
Irvine, Benedictus, Gallagher, Conroy
Riley (Boyle 89), McBride, Davidson, McAlister
Nish, Milne (John Baird 78)
Unused subs; Alex Baird (gk), McGregor, Toshney, Webster
Goal; Conroy (63 pen)
Sent off; Nish (foul on Dummett)
Attendance; 4,825 (975 Dees)
Referee; Willie Collum
Report; James Christie