Dundee lost 3-2 at Rugby Park in Kilmarnock tonight, throwimg away the points in a game in which they looked hot favourites to win midway through the second half. They got off to a bad start when Eamonn Brophy gave Killie an early lead. The Dee then went on to take charge and Sofien Moussa scored a deserved equaliser from the penalty spot. When Steven Caulker headed Dundee into the lead early in the second half and Gary Dicker was sent off the home side were struggling. However, Kilmarnock’s substitutes rescued them. Lee Erwin set up Kris Boyd to equalise and Iain Wilson scored a late winner to give Kille an unlikely win.
Steven Caulker came into the back three for his Dundee debut. Roarie Deacon and Simon Murray also returned to the starting line-up. Kevin Holt, Cammy Kerr and A-Jay Leitch-Smith dropped out. Killie made four changes from Saturday. Jamie MacDonald, Rory McKenzie, Greg Taylor and Eamonn Brophy replaced Leo Fasan, Youssouf Mulumbu, Jordan Jones and Greg Kiltie.
The Dark Blues might have started promisingly with good passing in midfield, but that hardly seemed to matter when their hosts took the lead after just five minutes. A corner broke to Eammon BROPHY wide on the left of the penalty area and his angled drive took a deflection to leave Elliott Parish helpless as the shot tucked just inside the far post.
Pleasingly Dundee followed up on their early promise and went on to dominate the next hour. The middle of the park was largely under the control of Glen Kamara and Mark O’Hara, who also impressed with some dangerous runs forward. Up front Roarie Deacon, Simon Murray and Sofien Moussa all caused Kilmarnock problems in their different ways.
Moussa headed narrowly over the bar from a Deacon cross and Killie goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald saved from O’Hara after a good build up by Murray and Moussa. Paul McGowan’s hook shot had to be taken at the second attempt by MacDonald, who then brought off a good save to keep out Jon Aurtenetxe’s fierce cross shot.
Dundee were well worth their equaliser after 31 minutes. MacDonald saved Caulker’s header from a Deacon corner, but Gary Dicker used his arm to control the loose ball. Sofien MOUSSA rolled the ball into the corner of the net from the penalty spot, sending MacDonald the wrong way.
The Dark Blues couldn’t force another goal before the break, but deservedly took the lead 10 minutes into the second half. Deacon’s corner from the left was bulleted home by Steven CAULKER’s emphatic header and Dundee looked well placed to go on and win.
The Dee’s chances looked even better when Gary Dicker, who had been booked for handball at the penalty, committed a dreadful foul on Roarie Deacon and was sent off. Steve Clark withdrew a defender, Scott Boyd, and sent on a midfielder Iain Wilson, as Killie went three at the back. Deacon needed lengthy treatment following Dicker’s foul and tried to play on but had to be substituted by Cammy Kerr. He had been playing well and it was sad to see a player returning from injury having his game ended in that way.
Murray went close to a third with a curling shot that passed just outside the angle of the woodwork after a great interception by Paul McGowan to break up a Kilmarnock attack. However, Kilmarnock were now playing far better with 10 men than they ever had with 11 and Lee Erwin, who replaced Eamonn Brophy early in the second half was proving increasingly influential.
Dundee were looking vulnerable to attacks down the Kilmarnock right, where Stephen O’Donnell was driving at Aurtenetxe. However, the real problem proved to be in the middle where the Dark Blues conceded two poor goals late in the game.
Rory McKenzie had already served warning when he managed to get clear onto a simple high ball, but Parish saved well. After 73 minutes, with Dundee messily out of shape, Erwin drove through a soft centre to set up Kris BOYD, who finished expertly, curling his finish round Parish from just inside the penalty area.
Dundee sent on Faissal El Bakhtaoui to replace Genseric Kusunga as they chased a winner, clearly unwilling to settle for a draw. Mark O’Hara missed narrowly with a header and Jamie MacDonald had a lucky escape when he fumbled an Aurtenetxe cross and the ball struck Moussa and bounced out of play.
The Dark Blues were starting to get a grip on the game again, but always looked in danger of being caught on the break. Erwin passed up an excellent chance when he broke free on the right and with Kris Boyd free in the middle overhit his cross to the exasperation of the Kilmarnock captain.
Four minutes from time, with Steven Caulker having moved into attack, Dundee were left red faced when they allowed Iain WILSON to burst through the middle and roll his shot past Parish and into the net off the inside of the post.
Steven Caulker came close to an equaliser with another powerful header from a free kick, but this time MacDonald made a great reaction save. Dundee tried desperately to get an equaliser in the three minutes of injury time, but lacked the composure they needed to get through a Kilmarnock team that was now fired up.
The players’ reaction at the end showed how hard this defeat was to take. Dundee were much the better team for the first 65 minutes and should have been able to hold on for a win against 10 men. Sadly, familiar problems were on display again. The Dark Blues didn’t score the goals their play merited, and then poor game management, organisation and defending cost them even a point in a game they should have won.
O’Donnell, Broadfoot, Scott Boyd (Wilson 61), Findlay
McKenzie, Tshibola, Dicker, Taylor
Brophie (Erwin 49), Kris Boyd (Simpson 89)
Unused subs: Fasan (gk), Waters, Frizzell, Burke.
Goals: Brophy (5), Kris Boyd (73), Wilson (86).
Booked: Dicker twice (handball & foul on Deacon), Wilson (foul on Murray), Taylor (dissent).
Sent off: Dicker (two bookings).
Dundee FC 3-4-1-2
Kusunga (El Bakhtaoui 78), O’Dea (c), Caulker
Deacon (Kerr 72), O’Hara (Spence 87), Kamara, Aurtenetxe
Unused subs: Malherbe (gk), Leitch-Smith, Waddell, Lambert.
Goal: Moussa (31 pen), Caulker (55).
Booked: Kusunga (foul on Brophy), O’Hara (foul on Dicker), Kamara (foul on McKenzie).
Attendance: 3,768 (170 Dees).
Referee: Nick Walsh. Assistants: Sean Carr, Stephen Mitchell. 4th official: Steven Reid.
Report: James Christie.