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The game got off to such a lively start that referee Mr McKendrick's patience was stretched by some hefty challenges by both sides. The opening stages offered plenty of legal excitement as each team took turns to hit the woodwork. In the second minute Kane Hemmings moved onto a loose ball and lashed a low 25 yarder against keeper McGurn's post. Next it was the turn of Lewis Vaughan to rattle Scott Bain's crossbar after the Dee keeper had failed to hold Mark Stewart's shot.
Rovers never came nearly as close again in an increasingly one sided first half. Hemmings was keen to shoot on sight and another effort from distance was deflected wide for a corner. A neat move down the left ended with Hemmings spinning on the ball and shooting over the bar.
The opening goal came midway through the first half after Nick Ross broke up a Rovers' attack. Greg Stewart raced through the midfield and returned the ball to Ross, who found HEMMINGS in space to drill a low shot past McGurn.
The Dark Blues settled down in control of the match. Nicky Low was particularly prominent showing lots of energy and bite, and a good range of passing. Dundee were able to hold onto the ball patiently in the Rovers' half, probing dangerously for openings. The midfield diamond, with Gary Harkins in a surprisingly deep role, and Stewart in the advanced spot behind the strikers, was proving highly effective at dominating the home side. The final member of the midfield was Nick Ross, who showed himself to be a neat and clever player, linking well with his colleagues. Width was provided by energetic bursts up the wings by full backs Gary Irvine and Kevin Holt.
Up front Rory Loy and Kane Hemmings, ably assisted by Greg Stewart, were giving the Rovers' defence a testing evening. The home side must have been happy to reach the break only a goal behind. Hemmings came closest to a second after a lovely combination with Stewart, but his curling shot was well saved by McGurn.
The Dark Blues made four changes at half time; Paul McGinn, Darryl Meggatt and Julen Etxabeguren came on in defence for Gary Irvine, Thomas Konrad and James McPake. In attack Luka Tankulic replaced Rory Loy.
It took only two minutes of the second for the Dee to add to their lead. Stewart found space wide on the left from a free kick. His hard, low cross was missed by McGurn. Meggatt took a stab at the ball, but his central defensive partner Julen ETXABEGUREN tapped it over the line at the far post.
Rovers had looked out of contention, but surprisingly pulled a goal back quickly. Anderson's low cross from the right was deflected into the path of James CRAIGEN who scooped the ball past Bain for a goal that was almost as scruffy as the one the Dark Blues had just scored.
Craigen might not have connected cleanly with that shot, but when he took aim from 20 yards a few minutes later he couldn't have hit the ball any more sweetly. Bain was happy to push the thunderbolt round the post for a corner.
Rovers stepped up a gear after their goal and competed much more effectively. Etxabeguren and Meggatt both looked capable individually, but as a pairing they were still a work in progress. Rovers threatened to get through gaps in the Dee's defence on more than one occasion in the second half. Rovers had their best spell of the game in the 15 minutes that followed the goal and should have equalised after an hour. Vaughan beat a high and square defensive line to run clear. He rolled the ball across goal to set up a golden chance for former Dee Mark Stewart, who took a heavy touch and allowed a grateful Bain to block.
Dundee regained control after that scare and twice went close. Low and Stewart each had goal-bound shots deflected just outside the woodwork. Midway through the half the Dark Blues made their last two substitutions. Andy Black and Philip Roberts came on for Nick Ross and Kane Hemmings. The Dee had the better of the game in the closing stages, but long spells of possession football didn't produce any more clear chances. Rovers made all six of their substitutions in the last half hour, and lost much of the impetus their goal had given them.
The final attempt of the evening was by Lewis Vaughan, whose free kick from just outside the penalty area had to be tipped over the bar by Bain.
Tonight's game was conspicuously more robust than the average pre-season friendly. The frequent lectures from the referee following illegal tackles suggested that there may have been a good few bookings if this had been a competitive match. Dundee's approach was based on keeping the ball and working hard to get it back when Rovers did have it. Some of the Dark Blues possession football was very pleasing to watch, although they might have shown greater urgency at times to penetrate the home defence. Nevertheless, the win was well deserved and the Dark Blues looked a much sharper and more composed team than their Championship opponents.
Raith Rovers 4-4-2
Thomson (Ford 85), Toshney, Benedictus (Bates 75), McKeown
Anderson (Megginson 62), Callachan (Matthews 69), McCord (Petrie 69), Craigen (Robertson 75)
Unused subs: Cuthbert (gk), Laidlaw (gk), Court, Campbell
Goal: Craigen (51)
Dundee FC 4-1-2-1-2
Irvine (McGinn ht), Konrad (Etxabeguren ht), McPake (Meggatt ht), Holt
Ross (Andy Black 67), Low
Loy, Hemmings (Roberts 67)
Unused sub: Mitchell (gk)
Goals: Hemmings (22), Etxabeguren (47)
Referee: John McKendrick
Report: James Christie
This performance illustrated the strength of squad now available to Paul Hartley. The team had six changes from Saturday. Scott Bain and Philip Roberts made their debuts and all three of Saturday's substitutes, Iain Davidson, Martin Boyle and Peter MacDonald kept their places while Greg Stewart also started.
Bain played behind an unchanged four man defence; Jim McAlister was the only player from Saturday's midfield and forwards to start. Dundee lined up with a very adventurous 4-4-2 with Boyle and Roberts offering plenty of pace on the wings.
Boyle provided the first shot after only a minute. The ball took a slight deflection that sent it over the bar. When Roberts' corner came over Greg STEWART was completely unmarked and rose to score with a powerful header from 10 yards.
Rovers' defence was all over the place in the early stages and they were fortunate not to concede again. Defensive hesitancy allowed MacDonald and Stewart room on the edge of the penalty area, but Stewart's shot was straight at keeper Cuthbert.
The visitors pulled themselves together and looked for a spell as if they might make a contest of the match. They were fielding three ex-Dees, Ryan Conroy, Christian Nadé and Mark Stewart. Nadé's strength and close control posed occasional problems, but it was Conroy who came closest to equalising. He whipped in a free kick that Bain tipped onto the bar and out for a corner.
The Dark Blues always looked dangerous when they came forward and Rovers' right back Thomson was struggling to deal with the speed of Roberts. MacDonald and Stewart caused the visitors' central defence endless problems with their clever movement and exchanges. Kevin Cuthbert was the only man in the Raith rearguard who could feel happy about his performance and he did well to keep out a stream of shots from the Dee's strikers.
Dundee eventually scored a deserved second goal just before the break and it was a cracker. Paul MCGINN cut in from the right and hit a sweet, curling left shot into the top corner from 22 yards.
Thomas Konrad was replaced by Paul McGowan at half time and Iain Davidson dropped back into central defence. The change didn't disrupt the Dee. Raith's resistance largely evaporated and Dundee went on to play some lovely football in a one sided second half.
Dundee seemed to have scored a third when Cuthbert spilled a Stewart shot. Boyle turned in the loose ball, but the referee ruled the goal out for a foul on the keeper.
The third goal followed quickly. Boyle raced clear on the right and played a low cross for MACDONALD to flick the ball home.
Raith's defence had a deeply uncomfortable first half, but the second half proved to be a nightmare for them. Harkins came on for McAlister after the third goal and Dundee settled down to torment the visitors with slick and attractive attacking that really should have brought more than one further goal.
The final goal came after good play by Stewart and MacDonald, whose shot bounced off a defender. BOYLE picked up the loose ball and fired past Cuthbert.
Tankulic replaced MacDonald for the last 20 minutes and Dundee continued to carve open the Raith defence at will. The game was now very open and there was the odd moment of slackness in the home defence. McPake played a poor crossfield pass that was intercepted by Stewart who ran clear to take the ball round Bain. He should have scored, but gave Davidson enough time to get back and clear from the goal line.
Most of the play, and all the good football, was at the other end, however. Stewart had dropped deeper, and he joined Harkins and McGowan in playing a stream of delightful passes around the Rovers' defence. Boyle and Tankulic had a few shots each, but Cuthbert was having a fine game in goal and managed to keep the Dee at bay. When he was beaten the woodwork came to Rovers' rescue when Tankulic blasted the ball against the crossbar from close range.
Dundee made Rovers look a pale shadow of the side that gave the Dark Blues five hard games last season. Tonight Dundee looked very much like a team from a higher division, and they put the hapless Rovers to the sword ruthlessly. There could have been a few more goals, but a four goal win over a Championship side is an excellent evening's work.
Paul Hartley clearly has plenty of options now, and it was good to see two players coming in to make their debuts and acquitting themselves well. Roberts was a handful for the Rovers' defence, and Bain looked safe and composed. Apart from the occasional sloppy moment in defence this was a very good team performance from back to front. Rovers might have played poorly, but the Dundee players deserve great credit for dominating the visitors so effectively.
Dundee FC 4-4-2
McGinn, McPake, Konrad (McGowan, half time), Irvine
Boyle, Davidson, McAlister (Harkins 66), Roberts
Stewart, MacDonald (Tankulic 70)
Unused subs: Letheren (gk), Carreiro, Kerr, Wighton
Goals: Stewart (2), McGinn (42), MacDonald (58), Boyle (69)
Booked: Davidson (foul on Nadé)
Raith Rovers 4-4-2
Thomson, Perry (Ellis 83), Watson, McKeown
Vaughan, Moon (Callachan 75), Scott, Conroy
Stewart, Nadé (Anderson 56)
Unused subs: Laidlaw (gk), Fox, Matthews, Bates
Booked: Moon (foul on MacDonald), Thomson (foul on Roberts)
Referee: Kevin Clancy
Report: James Christie
Dundee made only one change after the win at Livingston. Steven Doris came in for the injured Christian Nadé. The line-up might have been largely the same, but there was little resemblance to Saturday's commanding performance.
Rovers settled more quickly and looked the more dangerous team throughout the first half. Carelessness plagued the Dark Blues and there were worrying early signs. Willie Dyer gave the ball away as he came out of defence; Grant Anderson ran clear down the right but his low cross was just ahead of his team mates.
Dundee managed to get the first shot on target after quarter of an hour. Doris stabbed at Dyer's cross but goalkeeper Robinson took the ball comfortably.
Greig Spence cut in from the left and hit a fierce shot from 30 yards that ex-Dee John Baird nearly managed to divert right in front of Kyle Letheren.
The big Welsh keeper had to be at his best to keep the Dark Blues on level terms in the first half. He pulled off a superb save from Anderson's close range header after Cardle had jinked his way along the byline.
Rovers' defence was disrupted when they lost centre back Watson to injury and he was replaced by Reece Donaldson at half time. However, the visitors still contained the Dark Blues' attacks comfortably for most of the second half.
There was some improvement in Dundee's performance after half time, but it was still a long way short of the standard that the supporters were hoping for. Dundee's best move of the match came only a minute after the restart when MacDonald and Rae combined to send Boyle into the penalty area. The young striker cut inside Booth, but his low shot was well saved by Robinson.
Dundee were at last showing more drive and were holding the ball better. The extra possession didn't turn into chances, and it merely served to curb Rovers' ambitions.
The second half deteriorated into a dreary and disappointing slog, with neither side having the ability or confidence to take charge.
With half an hour to play Paul Hartley sent on Ryan Conroy for Doris. Dundee reverted to the formation they played in the first few games under the new manager. MacDonald was on his own up front in the middle, with Boyle and Conroy on either side, and McAlister in the hole behind the striker. The change didn't provide any great improvement and the goalless draw always looked the most likely outcome.
Nicky Riley replaced Boyle for the last 20 minutes. He offered some early threat, but the lack of effective support soon dragged him down into the prevailing mediocrity.
Ryan Conroy did have a chance from a good cross by Dyer, but he headed wastefully wide.
Rovers settled for the point long before the end and goalkeeper Robinson was booked for time-wasting. When they won a corner late in the match they tried to keep possession by the corner flag rather than attack the goal but simply lost the ball. That incident, and a corner at the other end, summed up the match. Jim McAlister had been one of the better performers, but his corner as the match entered injury time curled straight out of play. It was that sort of match.
Dundee fans turned up tonight in good numbers for a midweek game. They were sadly disappointed by the performance that the Dark Blues served up. There was little penetration or invention, and hardly any effective use of the wide areas.
This was a disappointing draw, but the Dark Blues didn't deserve any more, and they might easily have lost. It was hardly a good night, but a performance like this could have had a worse outcome, and probably would have done against more confident and aggressive opponents.
Some goalless draws are entertaining and satisfying. This wasn't one of them; no goals, no entertainment and precious little football. It was such a disappointment after Saturday's excellent win.
Dundee FC 4-4-2
Irvine, Gallagher, Benedictus, Dyer
Boyle (Riley 69), Davidson, Rae, McAlister
Doris (Conroy 60), MacDonald
Unused subs: Twardzik (gk), Lockwood, Reid, Cummins, Wighton
Booked: Dyer (foul on Anderson)
Raith Rovers 4-4-2
Thomson, Watson (Donaldson half-time), Hill, Booth
Anderson, Fox, Moon (Mullen 48), Cardle
Spence (Smith 85), Baird
Unused subs: Laidlaw (gk), Ellis, Vaughan, Matthews
Booked: Moon (foul on McAlister), Cardle (dissent), Robinson (time-wasting)
Referee: Stephen Finnie
Report: James Christie