Dundee fought back to take a hard earned point from a 2-2 draw against Kilmarnock at the Kilmac Stadium this afternoon. In a match full of controversy Amadou Bakayoko gave the Dee an early lead, but Daniel Armstong equalised from the penalty spot. The game swung Killie’s way when Josh Mulligan was red carded late in the first half. The Dark Blues hung on until Armstrong seemed to have won the game for Killie with a late goal. But substitute Zak Rudden delighted the Dee support with an equaliser three minutes into injury time.
Tony Docherty made three changes to the Dee’s starting eleven. Jordan McGhee, Josh Mulligan and Scott Tiffoney came in for Cammy Kerr, Fin Robertson and Ryan Howley.
Killie started with more possession and more measured build-ups than the Dee who favoured quicker attacks. The first chance fell to Kilmarnock. Daniel Armstrong’s cutback found Kyle Vassell 12 yards out, but his weak shot sailed yards wide.
The Dark Blues’ first corner was from the left and whipped into the goalmouth by Scott Tiffoney. Killie scrambled that away, but Dundee took the lead from their next corner, on the same side, after 16 minutes. This time Owen Beck sent a gentler delivery to the near post. Joe Shaughnessy headed on leaving Amadou BAKAYOKO with a simple close range finish at the far post.
Killie pushed for an equaliser but Dundee looked dangerous with their fast attacks. The game went through a frantic spell when both sides were quilty of giving the ball away and struggled to contain the resulting counter attacks.
Midway through the half came the incident that led to the equaliser. Trevor Carson blocked a header from Lyons. Dundee couldn’t clear and Deas had another go. Did the ball strike Bakayoko’s arm? Referee David Munro didn’t think so, but it was no surprise when a VAR review was announced. It took ages for the ball to go out of play and the review to be completed. The decision was a penalty and ARMSTRONG scored confidently.
The Dark Blues responded well but the match turned dramatically on a controversial refereeing decision after 34 minutes. Josh Mulligan attacked down the left but lost the ball on the edge of the penalty area. No foul was given and Mulligan stopped Killie breaking by bringing Armstrong down on the touchline. Mr Munro surprised almost every in the stadium by pulling out his red card. The message obviously came through from VAR central that he should review the decision. The referee took a good look and stood by the red card.
The sending off transformed the match. Without Mulligan’s pace, drive and physicality Dundee were outnumbered and overrun in midfield. The match might have been 10 a side when Robbie Deas leapt, two footed, studs first, at Jordan McGhee, but he escaped with a yellow.
Deep into injury time an Armstrong cross found Kennedy beyond the far post. He headed across goal and off the outside of the far post.
Fin Robertson came on for Scott Tiffoney at half time. That was harsh on Tiffoney who had a fine game until the red card disrupted the Dee. The change gave the Dark Blues a better balance and offered the defence more protection. Killie also replaced Deas with Tom Davies, perhaps because the left back was on the verge of a red card.
Kilmarnock had plenty of the ball, but didn’t create the chances they would have expected from all that possession. The Dark Blues’ defence deserve plenty of credit for that. The Dee were more solid but struggled to get up the park and create any significant goal threat.
Zak Rudden came on for Zach Robinson and brought some fresh energy and aerial threat. Owen Beck was again excellent and he had two driving runs into the penalty area following a half cleared corner only to be crowded out each time. Dundee had more injury problems when they lost McGhee, but Cammy Kerr was the ideal replacement.
After 81 minutes Killie managed to break through. Andrew Dallas played a low ball across goal and ARMSTRONG had no problems slamming the ball home at the far post.
Lyall Cameron came on for Luke McCowan as Dundee threw everything into the hunt for an equaliser. A Shaughnessy long throw into the goalmouth broke to Rudden but he couldn’t get enough power into his shot on the turn and keeper Will Dennis saved comfortably.
The keeper was helpless with the Dee’s next chance, three minutes into the four minutes of injury time. Beck curled in a corner from the right. Ricki Lamie headed down for RUDDEN to score from close in and trigger an explosion of joy around three sides of the ground. It was similar to the first goal, but one difference was that Trevor Carson had raced up the park to challenge at the corner. He didn’t get a touch of the ball, but his presence might have caused some confusion. Whose job is it to mark the keeper?
There was still time for the referee to create a further talking point. Killie manager Derek McInnes strayed onto the pitch to return a ball he wrongly thought was dead and received a red card. There wasn’t even time for him to leave the park before the final whistle.
Dundee did well to hang on and fight back to take a point from this game. The red card disrupted Dundee and meant that the Dee were fighting an uphill battle throughout the second half. It was hard going, but the players stuck to their task and were able to lift themselves to grab a late, late equaliser. It’s hard to say how different this game would have been without the refereeing controversy, but the Dark Blues fully deserve the plaudits, and the point they earned. It’s safe to say the ref won’t be getting any Christmas cards from either manager.
Dundee FC 4-3-3
McGhee (Kerr 76), Shaughnessy (c), Lamie, Beck
Mulligan, Boateng, McCowan (Cameron 85)
Robinson (Rudden 63), Bakayoko, Tiffoney (Robertson at half time)
Unused substitutes: Legzdins (gk), Pineda, Ashcroft, Sylla, Lewis.
Goals: Bakayoko (16), Rudden (90+3).
Booked: Rudden (kicking the ball away).
Sent off: Mulligan (foul on Armstrong).
Kilmarnock FC 4-1-4-1
Mayo, Wright, Findlay, Deas (Davies at half time)
Lyons (Polworth 72)
Armstrong (McKenzie 88), Watkins (Dallas 36), Magennis, Kennedy
Unused subs: O’Hara (gk), MWatson, Sanders, Murray, Cameron.
Goals: Armstrong (29 pen).
Booked: Deas (foul on McGhee), Armstrong (dissent).
Referee: David Munro. Assistants: Calum Spence, Gordon McCabe. Fourth Official: Colin Steven. VAR: Euan Anderson. VAR Assistant: Graeme Leslie.
Attendance: 6,101 (626 away supporters).
Report: James Christie.