The Dee overcame a battling Bonnyrigg Rose team in Midlothian to earn a 1-0 victory in their opening Viaplay Cup group game. Zak Rudden scored the only goal at the start of the second half. The Dark Blues dominated throughout but the Rose defenders kept their cool under fierce pressure with keeper Paddy Martin in outstanding form. It might have been a narrow win, but a shock was never on the cards and Dundee were well worth the points.
Four players made their debut for the Dee tonight, Jon McCracken, Joe Shaughnessy, Owen Beck and Scott Tiffoney. Malachi Boateng was on the bench after signing on loan for the season from Crystal Palace.
The Dark Blues started strongly and should have been ahead after only 35 seconds. Lyall Cameron sent Scott Tiffoney away down the left and Zak Rudden headed over the bar from in front of goal. Two minutes Lee Ashcroft forced a good save from keeper Paddy Martin with a header from a corner.
Dundee kept up the fast tempo, moving the ball quickly and stretching Bonnyrigg. Cameron was at the heart of most moves, spraying passes out to the wings. Tiffoney and Owen Beck were combining well on the left, constantly switching passes and running at the defence.
After 15 minutes Martin made a fine save to keep out Zach Robinson’s header at the far post from a Tiffoney cross.
The pressure on the Rose defence was relentless. Ashcroft headed wide from a corne0Lr. A quick pass by Luke McCowan sent Tiffoney away, but he smashed a rising cross shot over the bar. Cameron headed wide and Martin saved again from Robinson after Tiffoney ran clear on the left.
At one point it was like a game of shooty-in as the Rose defenders hurled themselves in the way of everything Dundee threw at them.
Late in the first half Bonnyrigg managed their only real shot at goal when the Dee were caught out as they played from the back. Dean Watson’s low 20 yarder went a yard wide, watched by Jon McCracken.
Malachi Boateng came on at the start of the second half to make his debut, replacing Max Anderson.
The first half was a frustrating 45 minutes for the supporters as Dundee dominated without being able to find a goal. That was fixed two minutes into the second half when the Dark Blues finally scored the goal they deserved.
Zach Robinson pulled a high ball down wide on the right and showed great control and strength to brush off a defender. He ran in on goal and set up Zak RUDDEN for a simple close range finish.
Rose’s keeper Martin kept them in the game in the first half but his best saves came in the second half. McCowan cut inside from the right and hit a ferocious shot that Martin parried. Bonnyrigg couldn’t clear and Tiffoney jinked in from the left and his rising shot looked sure to find the top corner but Martin somehow got a touch to tip the ball over the bar.
Malachi Boateng sent a low 20 yard shot zipping just wide. The Dee continued to attack in waves, but without creating as many good chances as they might have done from a series of great opportunities.
The Dark Blues could have been punished for their carelessness in the final third when Rose lifted themselves to try and rescue the game. Bonnyrigg worked furiously getting the ball forward at every opportunity hoping the Dee defence would slip up or they would get a break.
The Dee defence handled almost everything that came their way, but under pressure dealing with a pass back Jon McCracken sent his clearance against Rose substitute Alieu Faye with the rebound flying well wide. Bonnyrigg’s only real chance came in injury time when Faye forced the ball through for Kieran McGachie who blasted an angle shot over the bar.
By then Dundee should have been out of sight with the points safe. Nevertheless, three points and a clean sheet gets the Dark Blues off to a fine start in the Viaplay Cup. The Dee’s young side played the game at a fierce pace, but mostly with controlled passing rather than launching the ball forward. When they did go long they always had men racing forward to try and profit from second balls. Malachi Boateng looked a real asset in the midfield, always available to take tehe ball and keep attacks moving.
The early stages of the league cup have always been tricky for the bigger clubs who are often caught out by smaller teams before they have shaken off their close season rustiness. Dundee did the business tonight and always looked like avoiding any embarrassing slip ups.
Bonnyrigg Rose 3-5-2
Grigor, Martyniuk, Doan
Mailer (Forbes 86), Jarvis (Connolly 64), Stewart (McGale 77), Currie, Peggie
Watson (Faye 77), Osadolor (McGachie 64)
Unused subs: Andrews (gk), Gray.
Booked: Forbes (foul on Boateng).
Dundee FC 4-4-2
Kerr (McGhee 67), Shaughnessy, Ashcroft, Beck
McCowan, Anderson (Boateng at half time), Cameron, Tiffoney
Rudden (Mulligan 76), Robinson
Unused substitutes: Legzdins (gk), Byrne, Robertson, Wilkie, Graham, Lamb.
Goal: Rudden (47).
Booked: Rudden (foul on Watson), Beck (dissent).
Referee: Peter Stuart. Assistants: Graham McNeillie, Chris Rae.
Report: James Christie.