Dundee wrapped up their pre-season friendly campaign with a 1-0 win away to Cove Rangers. Zak Rudden headed the only goal midway through the second half. The Dark Blues dominated throughout, but struggled to finish off numerous promising moves and had to settle for only a single goal.
Cove had the first effort on goal when a trialist flashed a shot across the face of the Dee goal in the second minute. After that Cover never threatened Adam Legzdins’ goal again in the first half and hardly crossed the halfway line.
Dundee settled into a pattern of neat build-up play, with some attractive passing as they approached the home penalty area, but without any real cutting edge.
Luke McCowan skinned his full back with a lovely turn and his pass inside found Fin Robertson, whose fierce drive was deflected over the bar.
Robertson and McCowan each had low shots from the edge of the penalty area, but neither had the power to trouble home keeper Balint Demus.
The Dee’s first half was summed up by a neatly executed move through the inside right channel. Max Anderson and Luke McCowan sliced open the defence to send Cammy Kerr to the byline, but his low pass across goal didn’t find a teammate.
Zach Robinson had a tough first half against some physical defending, but held his own showing his strength and close control. However, he was not receiving effective support and was isolated too often.
As the holding midfielder against deep lying opponents Shaun Byrne was under employed in the first half. Zak Rudden replaced him at half time. Jon McCracken also came on for Adam Legzdins, who’d had a very easy 45 minutes.
However, it was Cove who showed the immediate benefit from their half time substitutions. They had their best spell of the match in the opening 10 minutes of the second half.
Two Cove trialists combined well in the only attack of the game that opened up Dundee. One crossed for the other to volley from beyond the far post. He drove his shot into the ground and it bounced up and hit the underside of the crossbar before being cleared by a relieved Dee defence.
After that bright spell from Cove the Dark Blues took charge once more. Lee Ashcroft found space at a corner, but from close range sent a powerful header against the chest of substitute Cove keeper Nick Suman.
Again and again the Dee launched attacks that were pleasing on the eye until they fizzled out without delivering anything.
Zach Robinson turned smartly in the penalty area and whipped a low shot just past the post and into the side netting, tricking some supporters into thinking he’d nicked the ball inside the post.
Finally, after 66 minutes Dundee made the breakthrough, but not from open play. Fin Robertson’s free kick from near the corner flag was met by Zak RUDDEN’s firm close range header and the Dee were ahead at last.
The remainder of the game saw Dundee continue to dominate and attack but without any real conviction. Cove’s Kyle Connell tried to catch out Jon McCracken with a snapshot from 30 yards. He caught his shot well, but the Dee keeper was alert and happy to turn the ball out for a corner.
Dundee should have helped themselves to a second goal when Cove keeper Suman sent a slack pass to Zak Rudden but he recovered to save Rudden’s shot. The Dark Blues should still have scored when Robertson picked up the loose ball. He tried to set up McCowan for a tap in, only to mishit his pass and the chance was lost.
That messy failure to finish off a great chance was all too typical of the Dark Blues’ afternoon. They were rarely in trouble in defence, dominated in midfield, but could not create enough opportunities in the Cove penalty area, or convert the chances they did make.
After the goal the main highlight of the second half was the appearance of Jordan McGhee after he missed the climax of last season through injury. He replaced Max Anderson in central midfield midway through the half.
This win completes the Dark Blues’ pre-season campaign with a fifth straight win. A 100% record and another clean sheet are certainly welcome if the team wasn’t at its best today. Now it’s on to the competitive games, starting on Tuesday at Bonnyrigg.
Cove Rangers 5-3-2
Bemys (Suman at half time)
Trialist E (Trialist A 30), Trialist C (Trialist G 63), Trialist F (Connell at half time), Gillingham, Darge
Trialist B, Gallagher (Vigurs 63), Niang
Megginson (Trialist J at half time), Trialist K (Burrell 63)
Unused subs: Naismith.
Dundee FC 4-1-4-1
Legzdins (McCracken at half time)
Kerr, Shaughnessy, Ashcroft, Beck
Byrne (Rudden at half time)
McCowan, Anderson (McGhee 69), Cameron, Robertson
Robinson (Mulligan 63)
Unused substitutes: Sharp, (gk), Richardson, Allan, Wilkie, Graham, Lamb.
Referee: Greg Soutar.
Attendance: to be announced.
Report: James Christie.