The second leg of Dundee’s friendly double header against Cove Rangers ended in a 1-1 draw today at the Kilmac Stadium at Dens Park. The Dark Blues were in control thoughout the first half but couldn’t score. The visitors took the lead shortly after half time with Scott Ross scoring from a corner. Dundee equalised quickly when Ryan Strachan turned Max Anderson’s cross into his own goal.
Both teams were disrupted by early injuries. The game had barely kicked off when Fin Robertson and Fraser Fyvie hurt themselves in a block tackle. After five minutes of treatment the young Dee was stretchered off the pitch. Fyvie tried to keep going but was quickly replaced.
Max Anderson came on to play in Dundee’s central midfield and fitted in neatly as the Dark Blues took a firm grip in the middle of the park. Charlie Adam and Graham Dorrans were offering the more eye catching skills and passing, but Anderson provided valuable and tidy assistance to keep the Dee on top.
Nevertheless, Dundee couldn’t turn a dominant first half performance into goals. Cove’s Stuart McKenzie was by far the busier keeper as the away defence was under constant pressure.
Dorrans skillfully made space following a short corner, but his shot was deflected wide. Charlie Adam struck the near post directly from the resulting corner, with the ball bouncing into the six yard box before being cleared.
Dundee were pouring forward and McKenzie had to pull off a series of saves, from Jordan McGhee, Graham Dorrans, Paul McGowan and trialist Osman Sow. Cove struggled to get through the midfied in the first half and their strikers had nothing to work with. They managed to find space in wide areas on a couple of occasions, but any threat was quickly snuffed out by the Dee defence.
Cove didn’t manage a shot on target until late in the half, when ex-Dee and Deefiant hero, Leighton McIntosh sent in a low effort from 20 yards, but Jack Hamilton took the ball comfortably.
The visitors made five changes at half time, and the improvement was instantly visible. They were pressing Dundee more effectively and making it harder for the Dark Blues to build their attacks from the back. It was still something of a surprise when Cove opened the scoring after 50 minutes. Broque Watson’s fiercely driven right wing corned was bundled into the net from six yards by centre back Scott ROSS.
This was by far Cove’s best spell of the game, and they briefly looked as if they might take charge and go on to win. However, the Dark Blues reorganised, took control again and deservedly equalised. Josh Mulligan had come on to replace Sow, and played in midfield with Max Anderson in a more advanced role.
It was Anderson who created the equaliser with a fine spot of play on the right. He did very well to keep possession, turn into space and attack the Cove box. His dangerous cross was heading for the unmarked McGowan, but Ryan STRACHAN, who had come on as a substitute a few minutes earlier, threw himself at the ball trying to intercept. He succeeded only in sending his header looping over substitute keeper Ryan Mullen and into the net.
The Dark Blues looked likely to go on and win the game, but as in the first half they couldn’t convert midfield dominance into goals. Dorrans was only inches off target with a low 20 yard shot. The Dee midfielder then threaded a lovely pass through for Anderson, whose shot was blocked. Cove were still in contention, however, and might have grabbed a late win when Watson’s low cross flashed across goal with nobody able to reach it.
There was much to admire in Dundee’s midfield play today, and the defence was solid for the most part. The Dark Blues tried to build attacks from the back, and the variety and accuracy of the midfield’s passing posed endless problems for Cove. Dundee should have been comfortably ahead at half time, but frustratingly some fine approach play didn’t result in goals. Unusually for a friendly Dundee used only two more substitutes after Fin Robertson had to be replaced in the opening minutes.
Cove dug in and stayed organised in defence when the game was running against them and former Dee manager Paul Hartley will doubtless be pleased with the way they improved to earn a draw in the second half.
Dundee FC 3-4-1-2
McGhee, Forster, Ashcroft
Kerr, Adam, Robertson (Anderson 6), McDaid
McGowan (84), Trialist (Mulligan 58)
Unused subs: Ferrie (gk), Elliott, D Strachan, Fisher.
Goal: Strachan og (64).
Cove Rangers 3-5-2
McKenzie (Mullen at half time)
Leighton (Higgins at half time), Ross, Milne (Strachan 56)
Yule (Watson at half time), Scully (Redman 64), Fyvie (Brown 15), Semple (Masson at half time), Livingstone
McIntosh (McAllister at half time), Megginson
Unused sub: none.
Goal: Ross (50).
Report: James Christie.