The U20’s followed up last week’s 4-2 win against Kilmarnock with a hard fought 1-0 win against St Johnstone. The Dark Blues, who made five changes to the side that won in Ayrshire with Kyle Gourlay, Matty Smyth, Calvin Colquhoun, Craig Wighton and Josh Skelly all coming into the starting 11, dominated the first half and lead through Connor Coupe’s goal. The Saints rallied in the second half but couldn’t find an equaliser as the Dees held on to take all three points.
Dundee’s first clear cut chance came the way of Mark Smith. Conor Quigley linked up well with Smith, before the striker’s low drive was saved by Saints goalkeeper Ben Mackenzie. Connor Coupe followed up and put the ball into the net, but the midfielder was adjudged to have kicked the ball out of Mackenzie’s hands, and the goal was disallowed.
With 22 minutes gone, St Johnstone almost took the lead. The Saints won the ball on the edge of Dundee’s penalty area and Joe Gormley fired a low effort just wide of the mark.
The Dee’s were nearly ahead four minutes later. Jesse Curran picked out Coupe inside the area and the midfielder did well to work a shooting opportunity but his effort came crashing off the crossbar and was then gathered by Mackenzie.
Neither Mackenzie or the woodwork could deny Coupe 10 minutes before the interval. Josh Skelly’s cross from the right evaded Mark Smith, but Coupe was on hand at the back post to fire the ball past Mackenzie. The Dees had the lead that their early dominance had merited.
Dundee’s good work was nearly undone after 41 minutes. Saints Daniel Jardine intercepted the ball in midfield and sent Gormley in one on one with Gourlay. The striker attempted to lift the ball over the onrushing keeper, but Gourlay got a hand to the ball and thanks to some unorthodox goalkeeping gathered the ball.
Dundee started the second half impressively and would have been two to the good if not for a stunning double save by Mackenzie. Coupe flicked the ball into the path of Curran who’s stinging volley was well saved by the Saints keeper. Curran managed to get to the rebound but saw his low effort tipped round the post by Mackenzie.
Dundee’s failure to add to their lead meant Saints still had hope of taking something and with 75 minutes gone the visitors almost got their goal. Connor McLaren was given to much space, but the midfielders effort came crashing off the crossbar.
Three minutes later, McLaren went even closer. The midfielder got on the end of a low cross from Gormley but turned the ball onto the crossbar from six yards out. In the time remaining St Johnstone failed to work Gourlay and the Dees held on for a valuable three points.
Although the narrow score line may not reflect it, this was one of the U20’s best performances of the season. The back four and goalkeeper were largely untroubled and managed to keep the experienced Gormley quiet. Connor Coupe continues to improve, while Craig Wighton and Josh Skelly both looked dangerous throughout the match. A special mention must go to Jesse Curran, who bossed the midfield and looked dangerous whenever and wherever he had the ball.
Dundee: Gourlay, Allan, Smyth, Waddell, Quigley, Colquhoun, Curran, Coupe, Skelly (Rice 88), Wighton (Berry 81), Smith (Henvey 73)
Subs Unused: Ferrie
Goals: Coupe 35’
St Johnstone: Mackenzie, Lumsden, Thomson, McCawl, Kerr, Page, McLaren, McCann (Polson), Gormley, Jardine (Johnson), Simpson (Docherty)
Subs Unused: Sinclair
Report: Andrew Creegan