The Dark Blues’ unbeaten run came to an end with a 3-1 defeat at Kilmarnock. There were no goals in the first half, but Killie ran away with the game after the break. Kirk Broadfoot put them ahead from a corner. Genseric Kusunga put through his own goal and then Greg Stewart added a third. Right at the end Kenny Miller pulled a goal back for the Dee, his seventh in the last five games.
Dundee brought Darren O’Dea back to replace the suspended Nathan Ralph, but playing in central defence with Andy Boyle shifting to left back. Kilmarnock made three changes. Kirk Broadfoot, Chris Burke and Eamonn Brophy returned in place of Scott Boyd, Aaron Tshibola and Rory McKenzie.
On a miserable, cold, wet, winter afternoon the game was slow to warm up. It took 10 minutes for the first serious attempt at goal, when Jack Hamilton beat away a fierce shot straight at him by Jordan Jones. The Killie winger looked the player most likely to create danger with a couple of good runs. He led a fast break after quarter of an hour but Dundee managed to scramble his cross away. In the second phase of the attack Gary Dicker found Greg Stewart in space on the edge of the penalty area and his shot flashed past the angle of post and crossbar.
Midway through the first half Eamonn Brophy went close with a 23 yard free kick that missed Hamilton’s left hand post by inches. Dundee then had two good chances in quick succession. Stephen O’Donnell gave the ball away to Glen Kamara, who sent Jesse Curran clear. The pass was a touch heavy, leaving Curran with a difficult angle and Daniel Bachmann saved for a corner. When the ball came over Genseric Kusunga flicked on for Andy Boyle, whose volley was saved superbly at point blank range by Bachmann.
Only a minute later it was Jack Hamilton’s turn to make a great save. Stewart was sent free and although he had plenty of time to pick his spot Hamilton was able to block and hold the ball.
Dundee had their best spell of the half in the last five minutes, but when they approached the home penalty area they just couldn’t find the right passes or crossed to open up the home defence. During this good spell it was actually Killie who went closest when Stuart Findlay headed too high from a free kick.
The first half had been scrappy and the game restarted in the same vein after the break. Kilmarnock got the crucial breakthrough goal after 53 minutes. Stewart whipped a corner into the six yard box, triggering a scramble, and Kirk BROADFOOT forced the ball over the line from close range.
With a goal in the bag Kilmarnock were able to exploit the extra space. Dundee pushed forward, but their passing and decision making in the Killie half were poor and they gave the ball away continually. Whenever a Dundee attack broke down Kilmarmock always threatened to punish the Dee on the break and never looked in any danger of relinquishing their lead.
Hamilton saved well from Jones’ 20 yard free kick as Killie looked hungry for a second goal. Calvin Miller had a very good run and cross from the left wing, but apart from that Dundee struggled to worry the home defence.
Killie’s next goal was unlucky for Genseric Kusunga, who turned Brophy’s low cross past Hamilton. Greg Stewart was right behind him waiting for a tap in, and the centre back had no option but to throw a leg at the ball and hope.
Kilmarnock continued to create chances as Dundee’s defence became worryingly ragged. Carelessness by Kerr and Kusunga allowed Stewart in, but Hamilton saved well. The Dee keeper pulled off another good save from Brophy after Chris Burke had run to the byline and pulled the ball back.
The third goal was entirely avoidable. Burke nicked the ball away from Boyle, wide on the left. He ran in and drew Hamilton before setting up STEWART to shoot into the open goal. Stewart had another chance from a Burke pass but Hamilton thwarted him again.
As the game entered injury time Dundee pulled a goal back out of nothing. Jesse Curran’s long ball into the goalmouth from the right wing created confusion between Bachmann and his centre backs, and Kenny MILLER nipped in to poke the ball into the roof of the net from a few yards out.
Adil Nabi had replaced Paul McGowan for the last quarter of an hour, and right at the death he ran in from the left, dribbled round the keeper and, with the angle too tight for a shot, pulled the ball back into the goalmouth where it was scrambled clear.
In awful conditions Dundee were very much in contention in the first half, getting into some good positions but always failing to find the composure and the right pass to take advantage. In the second half, once Kilmarnock took the lead, Dundee let themselves down. They gave the ball away far too much, and allowed Killie too much space, repeatedly making poor decisions about their passes, runs and positioning. That made it far too easy for Kilmarnock to pick off the Dee, and the home side were well worth their win in the end.
O’Donnell, Broadfoot, Findlay, Taylor
Burke (Kiltie 87), Dicker (c), Power, Jones
Stewart, Brophy (Ndjoli 87)
Unused subs: MacDonald (gk), McKenzie, Kris Boyd, Scott Boyd, Tshibola.
Goals: Broadfoot (53), Kusunga og (66), Stewart (79).
Dundee FC 4-4-1-1
Kerr, Kusunga, O’Dea, Boyle
Curran, Kamara, Woods, Calvin Miller (Källman 67)
McGowan (Nabi 74)
Kenny Miller (c)
Unused subs: Parish (gk), Lambert, Inniss, Spence, Moore.
Goal: Kenny Miller (90).
Booked: Boyle (foul on Stewart), Kusunga (foul on Stewart).
Attendance: 4,668 (284 Dees).
Referee: Kevin Clancy. Assistants: David Roome, Brian Templeton. Fourth Official: Colin Steven.
Report: James Christie.