The Dark Blues treated 619 travelling supporters to the sort of performance fans dream of with a spectacular 5-1 thrashing of Motherwell at Fir Park this afternoon. All the damage was done in the first half during which they shredded the home defence time and again. An own goal by Zak Jules sent the Dee on their way. Although Louis Moult equalised the Dee took charge and rammed in four goals in under 20 minutes. Marcus Haber scored twice, with Mark O’Hara and Craig Wighton helping themselves to a goal apiece while the supporters partied in the South Stand.
The Dark Blues were unchanged following Sunday’s victory over Rangers. Motherwell made two changes. Zak Jules and Carl McHugh came in for Stephen McManus and Keith Lasley.
The Dark Blues started impressively, passing the ball around confidently and holding the ball well. The opening goal, after six minutes, however, was a horrible defensive mix up. Kevin Holt’s corner was cleared only as far as Cammy Kerr, 30 yards out. He lifted the ball back into the gap between the advancing defence and keeper Craig Samson. It would have been an easy take for the goalie, but Zak Jules jumped and got just enough of a touch to send the ball looping back over the helpless Samson and into the net.
Dundee were much the better team and looking fully capable of extending their lead. Frustratingly, the Dark Blues conceded a poor equaliser. The Dee failed to deal with a high free kick into the goamouth. The ball fell to Louis MOULT, and he scored easily with a low drive past Scott Bain.
That was after 21 minutes, and the Dee’s response was hugely impressive. Well vanished from the match for the rest of the first half as the Dark Blues took charge and ripped the home defence to tatters.
Even before the Dee went back into the lead they had Motherwell reeling under a series of dangerous attacks. Well held out for six minutes before Paul McGowan sent a deep cross beyond the far post. Mark O’Hara headed back for Marcus HABER to take the ball on his chest, turn and rifle his shot past Samson.
Four more minutes and the Dee scored again at the end of a sweet and patient passing move. Craig Wighton shielded the ball just inside the penalty and played it back to Paul McGowan, who shaped to shoot. Instead he opened up Well’s defence with a pass through to Mark O’HARA to take a touch before crashing in number three with a fierce cross shot.
Another four minutes and the Dee were 4-1 up. Henrik Ojamaa sent James Vincent to the byline, and his low cutback caused chaos at the near post. Ojamaa couldn’t turn the ball in, so he served the chance up on a plate for Craig WIGHTON to hammer in the fourth goal with the home defence in disarray.
The Dark Blues pressing, swift passing and hard running put them in total control with Dundee players finding space all over the pitch. Dundee’s performance was so impressive that a fifth goal before the half time whistle looked inevitable. It didn’t come until injury time when Craig Wighton flighted a free kick to the far post where Marcus HABER rose to head in number five.
In comparison the second half was a quiet affair. The points were safe in the bag, and Dundee saw out the match comfortably. Motherwell kept plugging away, but were going through the motions. Scott Bain pulled out two good saves from efforts by Craig Clay, and Darren O’Dea almost gave Well a consolation when he swiped at a a cross by substitute Elliott Frear, sending the ball against the outside of the post. Dundee attacked mainly on the break, always looking dangerous, but there were no more goals to be had.
The only moment of real concern for the Dundee fans after half time was the sight of Mark O’Hara leaving the pitch on 62 minutes after taking a knock. Danny Williams came on to play on the left with Craig Wighton moving to the right.
All through the team Dundee were outstanding today. The defence was aggressive, well organised and taking no unnecessary chances. The Dee midfield dominated their anonymous home opponents, and in attack Dundee were far too smart for Motherwell. When the ball had to be contested Dundee’s attack bullied Well. When the Dee had the ball they had the imagination and skill to slice their way through the home defence.
The first half performance was absolutely outstanding; this was as good as it gets to be a Dee on a road trip. Dundee might have had more goals than the four they scored in that blistering last 20 minutes before half time.
Dundee’s formation suited the players perfectly, and each man played his part to perfection in the Dark Blues’ biggest win in the top division since November 2000. Now the challenge is to maintain the level of performance the players have shown they are capable of in these last two wins.
McMillan, Heneghan, Jules, Chalmers (Frear 61)
Cadden, McHugh, Clay, Pearson
Unused subs: Griffiths (gk), Bowman, Lasley, Lucas, Ferguson, Hastie.
Goal: Moult (21).
Booked: Heneghan (foul on Haber), Moult (foul on Etxabeguren), McDonald (dissent).
Dundee FC 4-4-2
Kerr, Etxabeguren, O’Dea (c), Holt
O’Hara (Williams 62), McGowan, Vincent, Wighton (El Bakhtaoui 87)
Ojamaa (Hateley 82), Haber
Unused subs: Ferrie (gk), Ross, Gadzhalov, Gomis.
Goals: Jules og (6), Haber (27, 45+1), O’Hara (31), Wighton (35).
Booked: Vincent (foul on Moult).
Attendance: 4,002 (619 very happy Dees).
Referee: Stephen Finnie. Assistants: Kylie McMullan, Sean Carr. Fourth official: Andrew Dallas.
Report: James Christie.