Although the Dee had to rely on a desperately late winner from Peter MacDonald they dominated throughout a highly entertaining game and should have had the tie sown up long before the end of normal time. Iain Campbell gave Forfar the lead with a penalty shortly before half time. Jim McAlister equalised shortly after the break. Kevin McBride was then sent off. The Dee were well on top but they couldn't grab a second goal before extra time when Forfar defender Stuart Malcolm was ordered off. Dundee passed up numerous chances, but eventually secured a deserved win in injury time of extra time with a glorious Peaso free kick.
John Brown decided to stick with the same team that had shown signs of improvement in the draw with Raith Rovers on Saturday. There were plenty more promising signs in the early stages tonight.
Forfar were extremely lucky to survive Dundee's opening onslaught. After only two minutes Monti laid the ball into Conroy's path and the midfielder surged through the middle and hit a marvellous 25 yard shot that hit the crossbar, then the post, before bouncing just the wrong side of the line.
Jim McAlister struck the woodwork minutes later with a looping header. Monti then set up Conroy to shoot from eight yards, but Hill saved. MacDonald should have given the Dee the lead with a free header, but Hill saved the Loons again.
The Dark Blues performance was a cut above recent games. The movement was better and the passing sharper. The chances were coming, but frustratingly they were not being taken.
Dundee seemed to have a clear penalty when Hilson tripped McAlister from behind. It would have been soft because McAlister was heading out of the penalty area with no possible danger, but it was an obvious foul.
In open play the Loons had posed little danger, but their real threat came from aerial assaults at set pieces. Late in the first half Dundee conceded a needless corner after Irvine allowed Forfar to break. When the ball came into the goalmouth Gallagher was all over Templeman and this time Mr Cook was paying attention. Iain CAMPBELL scored with a perfect low penalty into the corner.
The goal might have been against the run of play, but Forfar could have pinched a two goal lead seconds from the half time whistle. Malin burst through the middle, but Letheren saved well.
Dundee started the second half purposefully, pressing hard for an equaliser. There was a sense of urgency, but it was controlled pressure rather than frantically chasing the game. It was a huge relief, but no great surprise, when the goal arrived after 50 minutes.
Willie Dyer played a low pass through the middle. Jim MCALISTER spun on the ball to lose his man, strode forward and scored with a lovely low shot into the corner from 20 yards.
Although Dundee went on to dominate the second half they might have lost a careless second goal almost immediately after the equaliser. The defence switched off to allow Gavin Swankie to run clear, but Kyle Letheren made a marvellous save from his 20 yard shot.
Although most of the play was in the Forfar half the Loons did have one more chance when Swankie nudged the ball on to give Templeman a clear sight of goal from 10 yards, but he shot feebly wide.
The veterans in Forfar's central defence were toiling against the pace and movement of the Dundee strikers and a second goal for Dundee seemed probable. However, Forfar got a boost when Kevin McBride picked up a second yellow card, presumably for diving some 30 yards out. He'd been booked shortly before Forfar's goal for trying to trip Hilson.
Dundee reacted to the sending off by pulling McAlister and Conroy in from the wings to form a three man midfield with Gavin Rae. The change worked seamlessly and Dundee continued to dominate and looked every bit as dangerous as they had before. The full backs deserve a big hand, and a long lie in tomorrow, because they had to work like Trojans, tearing up and down the wings providing width in attack. Irvine and Dyer kept running and running right to the very end of extra time and their contribution was vital.
10 minutes from the end of normal time Forfar's scorer Campbell saved the Loons with a clearance off the line from a Rae shot. Right at the end substitute Martin Boyle ended a fine move with a weak header that caused Hill no problems.
Dundee continued to defy their one man handicap by piling on yet more pressure in extra time. Peter MacDonald was magnificent, holding the ball, running the legs off tiring defenders, and skipping past their challenges. His new partner Boyle was also stretching the defence with his pace. He had a great run down the left, but Hill saved when he cut in to shoot.
Malcolm and Dods were struggling to contain MacDonald. It was no surprise when Mr Cook eventually lost patience and showed Stuart Malcolm a second yellow card just before the break in extra time.
Astonishingly Dundee managed to pick up the pace in the second period of extra time. They went for Forfar's throats and looked capable of running away with the game.
MacDonald's fine run in from the left wing won a corner from which he headed against the crossbar. The ball came back down into the goalmouth but was hacked clear. Boyle then linked cleverly with MacDonald to run through, but he shot across goal and wide.
McAlister ran onto a Boyle pass and turned the last defender but poked the ball agonisingly inches wide. Gavin Rae then strode forward and hit a raking 20 yarder inches past the other post. Conroy and MacDonald both had further efforts as Dundee buzzed around the Forfar penalty area, but neither was close enough to trouble Hill. The lottery of penalty kicks looked inevitable, but Dundee weren't prepared to settle for that.
With the match well into injury time Gary Fusco pulled Boyle down 20 yards from goal. After last week's marvellous goal from Peaso at that same end the Loons must have feared the worst. Peter MACDONALD duly obliged with a delightful free kick, curling his shot over the wall and into the top corner. 121 minutes and 50 seconds on the clock! It was very, very late, but well deserved.
This was a cracking cup tie from which both sides should take great credit. It was a far better game than last week's Ramsdens Cup tie. Dundee certainly played far better, and Forfar made sure that they had to. If Dundee had put in a lifeless performance like last week then they would certainly have been knocked out. The passing and movement were far better. There was real determination to win the game and there were two smashing goals. But really, this should have been a far easier win considering all the chances we created. However, we did create these chances, which is something that's been lacking. Now, we just need to start taking them!
Dundee FC 4-4-2
Irvine, Gallagher, Lockwood, Dyer
McAlister, McBride, Rae, Conroy
Monti (Boyle 75), MacDonald (Boyle 76)
Unused subs; Twardzik (gk), Thomson, Carberry, Reid
Goals; McAlister (50), MacDonald (121 minutes and 50 seconds)
Bookings; McBride (two, swipe at Hilson and a possible dive?), Gallagher (foul on Templeman), Lockwood (foul on Kader)
Sent off; McBride (65 mins, two yellows)
Forfar Athletic 4-4-2
Baxter, Malcolm, Dods, Iain Campbell
Kader, Fusco, Malin (Ross Campbell 97), Hilson (McManus 86)
Swankie, Templeman (Dale 97)
Unused substitute; Douglas (gk), Andrews
Goals; Iain Campbell (43 pen)
Bookings; Malcolm (two for fouls on MacDonald), Dods (foul on MacDonald), Baxter (foul on Boyle), Fusco (foul on Boyle)
Sent off; Malcolm (105 mins, two yellows)
Referee; Barry Cook
Report; James Christie