An early goal by Kenny Miller and a welcome clean sheet for the defence gave the Dee a 1-0 win at Livingston this afternoon. Despite the lack of goals there was no shortage of scares at either end on a day when neither defence was at their best, but the Dark Blues hung on for three points.
Dundee made three changes from the defeat against Hamilton, bringing in Nathan Ralph, Paul McGowan and Kenny Miller. James Horsfield, Scott Wright and John O’Sullivan dropped onto the bench. Liam Kelly, Alan Lithgow, Craig Sibbald and Keaghan Jacob came in for Livi, replacing Ross Stewart, Craig Halkett, Steven Lawson and Shaun Byrne.
The Dark Blues’ defending was worryingly slapdash in the opening stages and they were fortunate not to be punished. Dolly Menga was left unmarked at a corner but he headed wastefully wide. Livingston had another good early chance when Scott Pittman was allowed to break clear. He set up Steven Lawless whose powerful drive was parried by Seny Dieng.
Dundee might have been vulnerable at the back but they did look dangerous in attack and took the lead after 10 minutes. Nathan Ralph challenged for a high ball on the left wing, forcing a misdirected header infield from Hakeem Odafin. Andrew Nelson took possession and fed a precise pass through for Kenny MILLER to score by clipping the ball over the diving Kelly before being flattened by the keeper. That gave Miller the record for being Dundee’s oldest goalscorer, though he probably had other things on his mind as he needed treatment for several minutes before he could continue.
Dundee’s defending didn’t improve and Genseric Kusunga had to clear a shot from Menga off the line after the defence failed to cope with a long throw. Menga missed another good chance when he headed weakly wide after Dundee had given the ball away in midfield.
Within a minute Dundee almost extended their lead when Cammy Kerr came forward, picked up Paul McGowan’s flick and forced his way past the last defender only for Kelly to block his shot.
Lee Miller went close when he diverted a Jacobs shot a couple of feet outside the post. Dundee’s defence was disappointingly untidy and Dieng almost made a costly mistake when he failed to connect properly with his punch from a Menga cross while almost under his crossbar. Luckily the ball fell kindly for him. At the end of the half Dundee’s defending was scrappy in an extended Livi attack and Jacobs went close with a shot across goal after the defence had failed to clear.
Just before the half time whistle Paul McGowan was taken off with an injury and Scott Wright replaced him.
After half time Dundee offered less in attack, but fortunately Livingston were careless all over the park. Pittman headed over from a Menga cross, but after from that Livingston couldn’t turn pressure into good chances in a scrappy game.
Dundee had to make a second enforced substitution when Kenny Miller was taken off and John O’Sullivan came on.
Midway through the half the Dark Blues should have made the points safe. Scott Wright burst through the middle, exchanged passes with O’Sullivan and raced clear into the penalty with time to pick his spot, only for Kelly to make a fine save. Seconds later Lawless sent a fierce angled shot wide, and with almost half an hour to play that was the last noteworthy effort on goal from either side.
Dundee increasingly sat back as the clock wound down. Although Livingston were often in the Dee penalty area they struggled to open up a Dee defence that was clearly determined to claim their first clean sheet of the year.
There were five minutes of injury time, which Dundee saw out comfortably and at last the Dark Blues could enjoy a win. It is too late to make any difference in the league, but three points in the sunshine was a fitting reward for the faithful fans who travelled to West Lothian.
Odofin (De Vita 54), Gallagher, Lithgow, Lamie
Lawless, Jacobs, Pittman, Sibbald
Miller (Hardy 58), Menga (Tiffoney 65)
Unused subs: Stewart (gk), Lawson, Byrne, Halkett.
Booked: Lamie (foul on Kerr).
Dundee FC 3-4-1-2
Kusunga, Ryan McGowan, O’Dea
Kerr, Robson, Woods(c), Ralph
Paul McGowan (Wright 43)
Nelson (Jesse Curran 84), Miller (O’Sullivan 57)
Unused subs: Hamilton (gk), Horsfield, Anderson, Moore.
Goal: Miller (10.)
Booked: O’Sullivan (foul on Lamie.
Referee: Alan Newlands. Assistants: Daniel McFarlane, Alastair Mather. Fourth Official: Bobby Madden.
Report: James Christie.