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The Dark Blues
  • Match Reports 2013

    The Dark Blues left it oh, so very late but grabbed three vital points at Starks Park to extend their lead at the top of the Championship to five points. Two goal Jim McAlister was the hero; struck after 89 minutes then added another two minutes into injury time. The late goals were heartbreaking for 10 man Rovers whose frantic backs to the wall defending fell just short of taking a point. Home captain Jason Thomson was red carded midway through the second half, which allowed the Dee to take charge.

    Dundee's joy at the win, however, was tempered by the sad sight of keeper Kyle Letheren being taken off early in the second half after being knocked out.

    John Brown again made the minimum of changes to his starting line-up. Ryan Conroy kept his place efter replacing the injured Nicky Riley during Saturday's win against Dumbarton.

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    The Dark Blues started confidently and the first half hour was played largely in the home half. Dundee's movement and passing was far better than Rovers. The home side struggled to get their forward players into the game. In contrast Peter MacDonald and Martin Boyle were buzzing menacingly around Rovers' defence.

    The first chance fell to Boyle, but keeper Ross Laidlaw saved well from his close range header after MacDonald headed on Gallagher's free kick.

    Rovers' defenders were often at full stretch keeping Dundee at bay, but they restricted the Dark Blues to just one more chance in the first half. Boyle flicked the ball on to release Ryan Conroy, whose low shot from the edge of the penalty area was saved by Laidlaw.

    Gradually Rovers worked their way into the match without posing any real threat to Kyle Letheren's goal. Gordon Smith took advantage of defensive hesitation on the edge of the penalty area to squeeze in a shot that Letheren was able to take comfortably.

    Dundee resumed after the break looking the more likely to score the opening goal, on a day when it seemed a single goal would be all that was needed to take the points.

    MacDonald headed wide from a Conroy free kick, but the real drama early in the half was at the other end. Kyle Letheren punched clear, but a sickening midair collision also involving Peter MacDonald and Reece Donaldson left the Welsh keeper prone on the turf, out for the count. After lengthy treatment he was led off and replaced by John Gibson.

    It was fully 10 minutes before Gibson had a chance to get a feel of the ball with his hands as the Dark Blues chased the win at the other end of the park. The Dee's prospects received a huge boost when Jason Thomson felled Boyle just outside the penalty area. He had already been booked, and Mr Robertson produced the inevitable yellow and red cards.

    Rovers took off Gordon Smith to send on central defender Laurie Ellis. Rovers rallied briefly, and a couple of promising attacks saw the ball flying around the Dundee goal without Gibson needing to make a save. The Dark Blues then took control and Rovers fell back to fight a rearguard battle for a point.

    Callum Booth made a mess of a Conroy cross, sending it straight to McAlister, whose fierce 15 yard shot was parried by Laidlaw. Boyle followed up, but his shot was cleared off the line by Dougie Hill.

    Dundee were piling forward, but couldn't force a goal from a series of set pieces and dangerous attacks. Rovers kept their nerves until the last minute of normal time when Declan Gallagher hit a steepling up and under into the penalty area. Laidlaw dropped the ball and Jim MCALISTER tapped the loose ball into the net to send the Dark Blues players and supporters wild with delight.

    There was still time for plenty of injury time excitement. Cardle's floated free kick was headed on by Ellis and Gibson had to block Hill's shot. Donaldson's shot was then deflected over the bar.

    From the corner Gibson did well to clear under the most intense pressure. Dundee broke at speed with substitute Craig Wighton racing over the half way line. The youngster timed his pass perfectly, sending MCALISTER clear to run through, dribble round the keeper and trigger more hysteria in the away stand when he stroked the ball home.

    John Gibson still had to earn his clean sheet with a good save from Elliot, pushing his angled header onto the post.

    This was a huge win for the Dee, who made it clear they badly wanted all the points and were not going to settle for a draw. It was a great team performance, which might not have hit the heights of style, but was full of hard running, good movement and above all passion!

    After the recent controversy over the support that the players have received there was no doubting the quality of the backing from the travelling Dees today. The supporters were right behind the team all through the match. They kept cheering the players on enthusiastically, and didn't get impatient as the clock would down. When the goals finally arrived, boy, did they enjoy them!

    Raith Rovers 4-4-2

    Laidlaw
    Thomson, Hill, Donaldson, Booth
    Callachan (Anderson 87), Fox, Moon, Cardle
    Smith (Ellis 67), Elliot

    Unused subs: Stewart (gk), Vaughan, Matthews

    Booked: Thomson twice (fouls on Conroy and Boyle)

    Sent off: Thomson (two yellows)

    Dundee FC 4-4-2

    Letheren (Gibson 58)
    Irvine, Gallagher, Benedictus, Lockwood
    McAlister, McBride, Rae, Conroy
    MacDonald, Boyle (Wighton 84)

    Unused subs; O'Donnell, Dyer, Monti, McIntosh, Kerr

    Goals: McAlister (89, 90+2)

    Booked: Benedictus (foul on Thomson), Irvine (foul on ELliot), Gallagher (persistent fouling)

    Attendance: 4,039

    Referee: Don Robertson

    Report; James Christie    

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