Dundee had to settle for a goalless draw in tonight's friendly at Brechin, where the local City were a tougher nut to crack than their more illustrious namesakes from Manchester. Both sides worked hard, but were guilty of wasteful finishing. The Dark Blues had most of the play and exerted greater pressure, but only a great save from new keeper Grant Adam stopped Brechin's Ryan Ferguson grabbing a winner right at the end.
Grant Adam and Kevin Thomson were the only players in the starting line-up tonight who also started on Sunday. As well as ringing the changes with the personnel Paul Hartley switched to 4-4-2.
Both defences had an uncomfortable start to the game as the two teams carved out good chances. Robert Thomson wasted Brechin's first chance after only two minutes. He should have taken advantage of a defensive mix up, but fired well over the bar.
Dundee should have scored themselves two minutes later. Peter MacDonald then sent a free header too high from a Roberts' corner. Greg Stewart was next to threaten the home goal with a neat turn and shot from 18 yards that forced a good save from keeper Smith.
Paul McGinn then made a great last gasp interception to nod the ball out for a corner when Robert Thomson seemed sure to score.
MacDonald flicked the ball wide from a low McGinn cross as play raced from end to end. Roberts' pace was causing Brechin serious problems on the left. With the equally speedy Martin Boyle on the other wing City's wing backs were forced to defend deeper as the half progressed.
The defences settled down after the opening exchanges and both teams found it harder to make chances. The game sprang back into life towards half time and Brechin were glad to reach half time with a clean sheet.
MacDonald skilfully made space on the left and his dangerous cross forced Steven Jackson to turn the ball over for a corner almost from under his own crossbar.
The best move of the match saw Roberts flash a first time volley into the roof of the net from Thomson's lovely through ball, but sadly the linesman's flag was up.
MacDonald came within an inch of a goal just before half time when his 25 yard free kick rebounded from the crossbar.
Dundee made seven changes at half time, and Paul McGinn swapped wings to play at left back.
The second half took a long time to get going, with both teams working hard but creating little. The longer the half wore on the stronger Dundee looked and the harder they pressed the Brechin defence. However, there were no clear chances and Graeme Smith in the Brechin goal had a quieter time than he would have expected.
Craig Wighton, Paul McGowan and Kieron Cadogan all showed good touches in wide areas, but there was never any end product. Dundee's attacks featured neat pasing in the approach to the penalty area, but the final ball always failed to open up the defence.
Alan Trouten nearly scored a spectacular goal in a Brechin breakaway when he tried to catch out Adam from 45 yards, but his ambitious effort floated over the bar.
The pressure on Brechin's goal then resumed, but the Dark Blues struggled to break through a hard working defence.
City should have grabbed a winner at the death. First Trouten whipped a 15 yard volley just over the bar. Then with only a minute to go Barr sent Ferguson clear but Adam made a great low save to spare the Dee's blushes.
This might have been a friendly, but there was no holding back tonight. Some of the tackling was distinctly competitive. The Dark Blues played some neat football in spells, but were never in full control of the game. For all the pressure they exerted they didn't cause the Brechin defence enough problems. A draw was a fair result in a good workout for both sides.
Brechin City 3-5-2
McLean, Steven Jackson (Cameron 68), Darren McCormack (McLauchlan 76)
Jamie McCormack (Gilmour 59), Trouten, Fusco (Brash 81), Molloy, Hamilton
Andy Jackson (Barr 57), Thomson (Ferguson 57)
Dundee FC 1st half 4-4-2
McGinn, Benedictus, Davidson, Kerr
Boyle, Riley, Thomson, Roberts
Dundee FC 2nd half 4-4-2
Irvine, Benedictus, McPake, McGinn
Cadogan, McGowan, Harkins, McAlister
Referee: Craig Charleston
Report: James Christie