Dundee went down to a 2-1 defeat in the Betfred Cup at Peterhead tonight. Two goals in the second half by Rory McAllister gave the Blue Toon victory. Greg Stewart pulled a late goal back but the Dee couldn’t force an equaliser.
Dundee made four changes from Saturday’s win over Dumbarton. Scott Bain, Mark O’Hara, Danny Williams and Craig Wighton came in for David Mitchell, Nick Ross, Michael Duffy and Kane Hemmings. Mitchell and Duffy were on the bench but Ross and Hemmings were injured.
The kick off was delayed by 15 minutes to allow supporters in, but the latecomers would have missed nothing if the game had started on time. Almist 20 minutes passed before anything of note happened. Julen Etxabeguren tried to bundle in a Greg Stewart free kick at the far post, but his effort struck a defender and looped over the bar.
In a first half that the Dark Blues dominated Peterhead offered only one moment of danger. A free kick skimmed off the head of a Dundee defender and Scott Bain had to be alert to grab the ball.
Mark O’Hara was hit by a bad foul that left him clutching his thigh and midway through the first half he was replaced by Paul McGowan.
Most of the action was in Peterhead’s half, but the Dee found if difficult to get through a well drilled defence. Craig Wighton forced his way into the penalty area, but couldn’t get enough height on his lob and Graeme Smith saved comfortably. As the first half wore on Dundee started to exert more pressure and looked increasingly dangerous. Rory Loy went close when his header wide from Stewart’s cross flew wide.
Paul McGowan then forced a great save from Smith after running onto Loy’s chip over the defence. Darren O’Dea also ventured forward bursting down the left wing and into the penalty area before being stopped by a last ditch tackle.
The Dark Blues exerted fierce pressure in the last few minutes of the first half, but couldn’t break through Peterhead’s defence. The closest they came was from O’Dea’s header from a corner, but Smith saved well low down.
The second half started with Dundee holding possession and forcing Peterhead back. However, the Dark Blues were having difficulty crafting chances against the home defence. Danny Williams managed to get on the end of a McGowan pass but shot wide under pressure.
After 62 minutes Peterhead took the lead, rather against the run of play. Rory MCALLISTER’s 20 yard free kick caught out Bain after zipping along the grass under an ineffective Dundee defensive wall that jumped over the ball.
Michael Duffy immediately came on to replace Craig Wighton. He soon had an opportunity from a free kick 25 yards out, but he sent it over the bar. A prolonged spell of pressure ended with a loud penalty shout when James Vincent’s shot against a defender, but the referee was unimpressed.
Peterhead were forced to defend deep and desperately, but they always kept their shape and organisation as Dundee failed to create clear openings. As the clock ran on the ballboys were withdrawn, forcing Scott Bain to run to the side of the pitch to retrieve the ball on occasions.
With 10 minutes left Duffy pulled the ball down on the edge of the penalty area and shot wide. It may have been no more than a half chance, but it was as much as Dundee had created since the goal.
For all Dundee’s pressure it was Blue Toon substitute Blockley who came closest with a lofted shot on the turn from 30 yards that dipped over the crossbar.
After 88 minutes Peterhead broke away to clinch the points. McAllister beat Cammy Kerr to a long, high ball, then ran on and stumbled under Bain’s challenge. The referee awarded a penalty and MCALLISTER took the spot kick himself, scoring comfortably.
Dundee immediately pulled a goal back, a superb effort by Greg STEWART. He ran diagonally towards the right of the penalty area before suddenly turning and whipping a marvellous left foot shot back across Smith and into the net. This was a goal that belonged in a much better match.
Peterhead pulled everyone back in the three minutes of injury time and the Dark Blues couldn’t come close again despite some frantic pressure.
Tonight Dundee lacked the cutting edge they showed against Dumbarton on Saturday and failed to convert lengthy pressure into real threat to the Peterhead goal. The home side offered even less threat to Scott Bain’s goal for most of the game, but they took the chances that did come their way and gave a textbook performance in defence to frustrate Dundee.
Peterhead FC 4-1-4-1
Ross, Kelleher, Rumsby, Noble
Stevenson (McIntosh 51), Redman, Dzierzawski (Nassor 51), Brown (Blockley 61)
Unused subs: Hobday, Samuels, Baptie, Adams.
Goals: McAllister (62, 88 pen)
Booked: Dzierzawski (foul on Vincent), McIntosh (foul on Williams), Redman (foul on Duffy)
Dundee FC 4-2-3-1
Kerr, Etxabeguren, O’Dea (c), Holt
Vincent , Hara (McGowan 26)
Stewart, Wighton (Duffy 62), Williams
Unused subs: Mitchell (gk), Black, Curran.
Goal: Stewart (89)
Attendance: to be announced.
Referee: N Walsh. Assistants: G Harris, G Soutar.
Report: James Christie