Dundee won the new season’s first competitive match at Dens Park, beating Highland League champions Buckie Thistle 2-0 in the Betfred Cup. Faissal El Bakhtaoui put the Dee ahead in the first half and Sofien Moussa sealed the win late in the game. In spite of dominating possession and near constant attacking Dundee were foiled again and again by Buckie’s keeper Daniel Bell, who thoroughly deserved his man of the match award.
The Dark Blues made four changes from the team that beat Raith Rovers on Tuesday night. Glen Kamara, Mark O’Hara and Scott Allan moved onto the bench while captain Darren O’Dea was rested. Kerr Waddell, Paul McGowan and Sofien Moussa kept their places after coming on as substitutes and Lewis Spence also moved up from the bench. Buckie listed three changes after losing at home to Dundee United. Craig Dorrat, Sam Urquhart, and Steven Ross came in for John Maitland, Drew Copeland and Kris Angus.
Buckie started eagerly, keen to attack the Dee and spent most of the opening minutes in the home half without threatening Scott Bain’s goal. Once the Dark Blues started to take the ball and probe Buckie’s defence it was quickly clear that the visitors were vulnerable down the wings. Roarie Deacon and Randy Wolters were seeing lots of the ball and had plenty of space in which to attack.
Sofien Moussa put the ball into the net from an offside position after 10 minutes. That might not have counted, but the ease and speed with which the Dee had won the ball and opened up Buckie was ominous.
The traffic was flowing mostly towards Daniel Bell in the Buckie goal, but Kevin Fraser gave the Dee a fright when Kevin Holt lost the ball in midfield and Thistle’s captain ran through to shoot wide from 20 yards.
The opening goal soon followed, from a similar distance. Buckie couldn’t relieve the pressure following a Dundee corner. Faissal EL BAKHTAOUI picked up the ball 25 yards from goal, wheeled quickly losing two defenders in the process and fired a lovely shot into Bell’s top corner.
Bell had to put in a hard shift keeping the Dark Blues at bay for the rest of the first half, making a string of saves. The Buckie keeper saved twice with his feet in quick succession from El Bakhtaoui and Deacon. He was beaten by Jack Hendry from a Wolters free kick, but Lewis Mackinnon scrambled the ball off the goalline. Bell had to use his feet again to keep out a swerving low shot from 25 yards by El Bakhtaoui.
The Buckie defenders were throwing their bodies in the way of every ball Dundee played into the penalty area and Paul McGowan saw a goalbound shot deflected over the bar for a corner. Before the half time whistle Bell was called on to make another good save, getting down well to reach Cammy Kerr’s drive from 18 yards after good approach play.
The second half continued in similar vein. The Dark Blues repeatedly played their way into good positions down either wing, but they let themselves down with poor final balls.
Bell continued to impress in the Buckie goal, pulling off a superb save from EL Bakhtaoui’s hooked shot that seemed destined for the top corner.
After 58 minutes Glen Kamara and Scott Allan came on for Lewis Spence and Randy Wolters. Allan moved into the spot behind Moussa and El Bakhtaoui went out to the left wing. 11 minutes later Danny Wiliams was the final substitute, replacing El Bakhtaoui.
The Dee defence had been given few problems but lost concentration in a very rare Buckie attack. A simple ball over the top sent Steven Ross through with only Scott Bain to beat. The Buckie striker controlled the ball then weakly flicked his shot well wide.
Daniel Bell was determined that the ball would not get past him again as the Dark Blues continued to dominate. Once more Bell used his feet to save well from Kevin Holt. Finally Buckie’s hero was beaten after Scott Allan made space to shoot from the edge of the penalty area. Bell pulled off a fine save at full length, but the ball broke to Sofien MOUSSA who shot into the unguarded net. The goal was welcome and very timely. After clinging on by their fingertips, or rather the tips of Bell’s gloves, Buckie were starting to think they might sneak a point with a late rally. Moussa’s goal ensured that wasn’t going to happen.
Two minutes after the goal Bell made possibly his best save of the match. Allan dribbled into the penalty area and pulled the ball back for Moussa to shoot from 12 yards. It looked a goal all the way but Bell reacted superbly to tip the ball over. In the last few minutes Dundee passed their way around the Buckie penalty area without calling Bell into action again.
The most important aspect of this game was that Dundee won. The Dee dominated in midfield, where Lewis Spence, Paul McGowan and Glen Kamara were highly effective at pressing their opponents and helping themselves to the ball. However, the Dee just didn’t do enough with the ball once they had it. There was little pace or intensity to the Dee’s attacks, especially in the second half. When the Dark Blues did put together good moves they let themselves down in the final third with poor final passes and crosses. Too often the players would find themselves in good positions and fail to find a Dee in the penalty area. The result was never in serious doubt, but the Dee’s performance could and should have been better.
Dundee FC 4-2-3-1
Kerr (c), Hendry, Waddell, Holt
McGowan, Spence (Kamara 58)
Deacon, El Bakhtaoui (Williams 69), Wolters (Allan 58)
Unused subs: Gourlay (gk), Vincent, O’Hara, Curran.
Goals: El Bakhtaoui (21), Moussa (83).
Booked: Waddell (foul on Fraser).
Buckie Thistle 4-4-2
Skinner, Anderson, Mackinnon, Dorrat (Maitland 64)
Taylor, McLean, Fraser (c), Urquhart
Steven Ross (Kai Ross 78), McLeod (Angus 64)
Unused subs: Salmon (gk), Copeland, Murray, Caroll.
Booked: McLean, Taylor.
Attendance: 2,774 (135 away supporters).
Referee: Craig Charleston. Assistants: Andrew McWilliam, David Doig.
Report: James Christie.