The Dark Blues went down 2-1 in Glasgow, handing three points to struggling Partick Thistle this afternoon. After an early goal from A-Jay Leitch-Smith and a dominant performance the Dee gifted the Jags late goals from Ryan Edwards and Myles Storey. Dundee should have been well beyond Thistle’s reach long before then, but missed a string of chances, including a penalty from Leitch-Smith.
Jesse Curran made his first start of the season, replacing Mark O’Hara at right wing back. Sofien Moussa also started instead of Roarie Deacon. Thistle made four changes; Jordan Turnbull, Steven Lawless, Conor Sammon and Andrew McCarty came in for Milan Nitriansky, Blair Spittal, Miles Storey and Kris Doolan.
Thistle’s defence were vulnerable right from the start. In the first minute nervous defending created a scramble the Jags managed to survive. Only a minute later the Dee almost took the lead when Jesse Curran’s run carved open Thistle, creating a chance for Sofien Moussa only for Tomas Cerny to save superbly. Moussa then headed over from another Curran run and cross.
Dundee looked like scoring every time they came forward, but the Jags were dangerous when set pieces allowed them to send big defenders forward. Kris Erskine swung over a deep free kick and Daniel Devine’s header brought a good save from Scott Bain.
The Dark Blues’ pressing, anticipation and sheer hard work in midfield were already in evidence and this set up the opening goal after eight minutes. Glen Kamara helped himself to a loose ball in midfield and ran through to the penalty area and set up Moussa who screwed a shot past Cerny only for Devine to scoop the ball off the line. Kevin Holt was first to the loose ball and crossed for A-Jay LEITCH-SMITH to score with a diving close ranger header.
Thistle had their best spell of the first half in the few minutes after the goal. Dundee escaped in a scramble following a badly defended corner, and Ryan Edwards was only a foot too high with an attempted lob from 35 yards.
However, it was still the Dee who looked the more dangerous and far more fluent side, combining good passing and movement with a high tempo pressing game. After Leitch-Smith broke up a Thistle attack Lewis Spence and Sofien Moussa opened up the Jags with a quick passing attack that ended with Spence shooting wide.
A second goal for the Dee looked on the cards and it should have come when they were given a penalty after 20 minutes. Niall Keown battered a clearance against Devine and the rebound allowed Leitch-Smith to run clear. He took the ball round Cerny, but was flattened by the keeper before he could roll the ball into the empty net. Cerny was relieved and extremely fortunate that the referee decided the foul was accidental and so he received only a booking under the new red card rule for penalties. Sofien Moussa was the designated penalty taker but Leitch-Smith took the kick. He sent the penalty straight down the middle and although Cerny had already dived the ball struck his foot and spun to safety.
Dundee continued to dominate and Curran kept causing the Jags problems with his runs down the right. Moussa headed over again from a Curran cross, and Curran himself went close with a low shot at the end of another burst through the Thistle midfield.
At this stage the Dark Blues were much the better side in possession, and far more effective off the ball. Moussa went close after dribbling past two men and the Dee should really have been further ahead before the half time whistle.
Dundee tore into Thistle at the start of the second half, looking to kill the game off. Leitch-Smith saw his shot charged down, prompting loud appeals for handball, after a lovely combination between Spence and Curran. Roarie Deacon came on for Paul McGowan andd he fired over after a Leitch-Smith shot was again blocked. Spence set up another chance for Leitch-Smith, who should then have scored after cutting inside to make space but he sent his shot wide.
Thistle were looking nervous and untidy as Dundee harried them into mistakes and passed their way confidently into the home half. There were occasional signs of carelessness in the Dundee defence, whoe were given a scare when Holt lost the ball and Jack Hendry’s covering tackle on Myles Storey sent the ball uncomfortably close to his own post.
Curran had another good run and shot that flew wide as the Dee continued to dominate. After 74 minutes Dundee had still failed to turn an impressively strong performance into a comfortable lead and Thistle managed to dig their way back into the game with a scrappy goal that owed everything to persistence. Bain couldn’t hold Paul McGinn’s shot and blocked Kris Doolan’s rebound only for Ryan EDWARDS to follow up and force the equaliser home.
Dundee were stung by this and flew at Thistle to try and earn what would have been a deserved winner. Three minutes after the equaliser Moussa missed the easiest of chances when a Deacon shot broke to him right in front of goal. He failed to connect properly with his shot and Cerny parried when he should have been left without a hope of getting anywhere near the ball.
Glen Kamara was the outstanding player on the field and a delightful piece of siill on the left created a shooting opportunity for Deacon whose shot struck Moussa and bounced past the post. Curran screwed a shot wide when the referee allowed him to keep running after he was fouled just outside the penalty area. Two minutes from time Deacon ran onto a Spence pass and seemed to be tripped, but the referee waved play on.
As the game entered injury timme the Dark Blues were focused solely on winning the game and neglected their basic duties in defence. A simple ball into space on the left found Doolan all on his own. At that point Myles STOREY was yards beyond the last defender. He had the wit to get back onside in time to leave himself totally unmarked and he turned Doolan’s cross past Bain for a simple winning goal that was just as easy as the chance that Moussa had failed to convert.
Dundee can rarely have put in such an impressive, forceful and attractive midfield performance away from home and then lost. The Dark Blues fashioned chance after chance to make the points secure, but wasted them all. The defence had looked in little trouble in open play, but fatally switched off twice late in the match. Better, or even moderate finishing would have ensured this match was one that the travelling Dees could have purred over in delight. Instead the fans will rightly be deeply frustrated and annoyed as they head home.
Partick Thistle 4-2-3-1
McGinn, Devine, Keown, Turnbull
McCarthy (Storey 55), Erskine (c) (Spittal 59), Lawless
Sammon (Doolan 63)
Unused subs: Scully (gk), Nitriansky, Nisbet, Fraser.
Goals: Edwards (74), Storey (90+1).
Booked: Cerny (foul on Leitch-Smith), Turnbull (foul on Leitch-Smith), Edwards (persistent fouling), Keown (foul on Deacon).
Dundee FC 3-5-2
Hendry, Meekings, O’Dea (c)
Curran, Kamara, McGowan (Deacon 48), Spence, Holt
Moussa (El Bakhtaoui 83), Leitch-Smith (O’Hara 66)
Unused subs: Parish (gk), Kerr, Wolters, Waddell.
Goal: Leitch-Smith (8).
Booked: Deacon (foul on Storey), O’Dea (foul on Spittal),.
Attendance: 3,358 (772 Dees).
Referee: Euan Anderson. Assistants: Jordan Stokoe, Andrew McWilliam. Fourth official: Greg Aitken.
Report: James Christie.