Dundee gifted St Mirren three easy points with a sloppy and error ridden performance at Dens Park today. The struggling Buddies must have been delighted with the unexpected Christmas genorisity of their hosts. Well taken, but very preventable goals by Kenny McLean and Stephen Mallan put St Mirren two up. A late penalty by McLean made it three, before Gary Irvine scored a late consolation.
Paul Hartley made two changes to the side, opting for a more attacking formation. Martin Boyle and Luka Tankulic came in for Willie Dyer, who moved onto the bench, and the injured Simon Ferry.
The Dark Blues started well, finding space easily and moving the ball smoothly through the midfield. Tankulic looked confident and a fine run nearly took him through on goal but Goodwin nicked the ball away from him as he was about to burst clear. Tankulic then forced a good save from Ridgers with a powerful drive following a poor headed clearance. The resulting corner zipped across the goalmouth with McPake lunging at the ball but unable to turn it in.
St Mirren started to knuckle down in the midfield and stopped the Dee having easy possession. A spot of casual defending by Dundee allowed Kennny McLean the space to send a looping shot over the bar the from just inside the area.
Dundee failed to heed the warning and conceded a sloppy goal in similar fashion midway through the half. Thomas Konrad slipped, allowing the Buddies to send Tesselaar clear on the left. He pulled his cross back for MCLEAN to score with a fine 15 yard shot across Letheren.
The Dark Blues nearly equalised immediately. Gary Irvine burst forward, took the ball from Tankulic and sent an 18 yard shot inches wide. Tankulic then tried his luck from a similar range after making space well, but he sent his shot straight at Ridgers.
Paul McGinn's 30 yard shot took a tricky deflection that required a good save from Ridgers to turn the ball over the bar. The resulting corner caused caused chaos. Tankulic's shot was flying well wide till Clarkson managed to get his head to the ball and turn it back into the goalmouth where Mallan headed against his own post.
The second half continued much as the first had finished. Dundee had most of the ball and the pressure, but never looked at all convincing. The forwards continually had to come deeper to try and help out an outnumbered midfield and they rarely received the ball in places where they could hurt St Mirren.
Isaac Osbourne had been booked in the first half and was extremely fortunate to stay on the park when he made a bad lunge at Kevin Thomson that the referee failed to spot. Thomson reacted angrily and Gary Teale wisely substituted the Saints' midfielder before he picked up a red card.
While Dundee were chasing an equaliser they gave the ball away cheaply far too often. Without playing particularly well, St Mirren always looked capable of punishing the Dark Blues' errors.
Martin Boyle was replaced by Phil Roberts just after the hour. The newcomer tried to break across the half-way line, but lost the ball to Stephen MALLAN, who ran past a couple of weak challenges before curling a shot round Letheren from the edge of the penalty area. Up till then there was hope that if the Dark Blues could dig out an equaliser they could still go for a win. The second goal snuffed out that hope and made it clear that the points were heading west. St Mirren were now able to relax and play their best football of the day.
Gary Harkins had come on for Tankulic shortly before the goal, and Paul Hartley took a chance by substituting Thomas Konrad to send on a further striker, Peter MacDonald. The gamble backfired when the short-handed defence were caught out on the break. Kenny McLean burst into the penalty area where Paul McGinn felled him to bring an inevitable red card and penalty kick. MCLEAN smashed the spot kick high into the net for the third.
Without two of the regular back four, and an overloaded front line the Dark Blues lost their shape in the last 10 minutes. St Mirren saw the match out comfortably, and were only mildly inconvenienced by a late consolation for the Dee. Clarkson's shot was blocked and the ball broke to IRVINE, who swept it home from 15 yards.
This was another game that Dundee started quite well, but in which they fell away badly. Today the Dark Blues looked good only until St Mirren sorted themselves out and started to fight for the ball in midfield. The Buddies were the hungrier side and punished a passive Dundee team who played as if they were hoping the visitors would cave in. When faced with a resolute and hard working opposition Dundee simply couldn't raise their game to dominate the midfield or unsettle the Buddies' defence.
Dundee FC 4-4-2
McGinn, McPake, Konrad (MacDonald 81), Irvine
Boyle (Roberts 62), Thomson, McAlister, Stewart
Tankulic (Harkins 67), Clarkson
Unused subs: Schenk (gk), Dyer, Davidson, Carreiro
Goal: Irvine (83)
Booked: McPake (foul on McGinn)
Sent off: McGinn (denying goal scoring opportunity)
St Mirren 4-4-1-1
Naismith, McAusland, Goodwin, Tesselaar
McLear (Wylde 66), Osbourne (Ball 61), Mallan, Kelly
McLean (Drury 80)
Unused subs: Kello (gk), Marwood, Reilly, Morgan
Goals: McLean (28, 79 pen), Mallan (67)
Booked: Osbourne (foul on Clarkson), Tesselaar (foul on Boyle)
Referee: Don Robertson
Attendance: 6,447 (472 away fans)
Report: James Christie