The Dark Blues went down to a narrow 1-0 defeat at Motherwell, losing out to Tony Watt’s first half goal. Dundee had the better of the first half and Well’s goal was against the run of play. Once Motherwell were in the lead Dundee could not break them down despite dominating possession throughout the second half. Home defender Jake Carroll was given a straight red card 10 minutes from full time, but Motherwell hung on to take three points.
The only change to Dundee’s starting eleven after last week’s draw against Hibs was the return of Cammy Kerr in the place of the injured Christie Elliott.
Dundee took charge of the match from the start and the early stages were spent almost entirely in Motherwell’s half. For all of the Dee’s possession and pressure in the opening quarter of an hour the only goal threat came from Max Anderson’s effort from 15 yards which was blocked.
After 18 minutes the Dark Blues came agonisingly close to taking the lead. Max Anderson and Shaun Byrne worked a quick break out of defence giving Luke McCowan space to cross. He pulled his cross back for Paul McMullan, who curled a shot from 20 yards off the underside of the bar. The ball bounced a couple of feet the wrong side of the line and Well cleared.
Dundee suffered a blow when Charlie Adam limped off the part after 28 minutes. Paul McGowan came on to replace him.
Motherwell started to work their way into the game and almost scored with their first dangerous attack. Liam Grimshaw’s pass inside to Mark O’Hara was quickly turned into the path of Tony Watt, who beat Adam Legzdins to the ball, but as he rounded the keeper Cammy Kerr put in a great challenge to clear.
Watt had more luck only a minute later. Jake Carroll’s free kick from deep on the right was glanced on by WATT’s header and sailed inside the far post. After being so much on top it was galling to lose a poor goal at a set piece.
The game became scrappier after the goal and Dundee could not reimpose their control over midfield. Each team had a half chance from corners, with Ricky Lamie heading over for Well and Liam Fontaine heading wide for the Dee.
Dundee mounted two promising attacks in the opening minutes of the second half with good movement and passing that almost set up shooting opportunities. Almost but not quite; that was the story of Dundee’s day.
The Dark Blues passed the ball around patiently looking for openings. Perhaps they were too patient at times, and might have tried more adventurous passing rather than going for safe options.
Jordan McGhee was playing almost as a left winger as Motherwell pulled men back, defending in depth. McGhee got on the end of a cross by Cammy Kerr, but couldn’t keep his header down.
After 60 minutes Dundee sent on Cillian Sheridan in the place of Shaun Byrne. It looked a bold move, but the holding midfielder was hardly missed against a home side that was sitting so deep.
A lovely quick turn and pass by Max Anderson allowed Jason Cummings to spin past his marker and shoot from the edge of the penalty area, but Sean Kelly saved.
The game became messier, with too much poor passing. Motherwell offered very little in attack but Dundee were not doing enough to trouble their defence. Endless possession did not produce enough problems for Kelly in the home goal.
After 80 minutes the Dark Blues were given a glimmer of hope when Well were reduced to 10 men. Referee Willie Collum took a dim view of Jake Carroll’s lunge at Max Anderson and flashed his red card. Well immediately withdrew Tony Watt and sent on Nathan McGinley to cover the left back spot. Liam Fontaine headed too high from the resulting free kick.
From then on it was backs to the wall for Well, with only the occasional venture upfield. From one of those they won a free kick wide on the right. Instead of crossing substitute Sean Goss went for goal and Legzdins had to turn the shot over his crossbar.
In injury time Lee Ashcroft shot through a crowded goalmouth from a long throw but Kelly saved easily. Cammy Kerr had a shot charged down, and at the very end Jason Cummings poked a shot just past the post as he was closed down by Kelly.
Losing a match after being on top for so much of the game is deeply disappointing. Dundee should have converted their clear dominance in the first half into a lead that Motherwell would have found hard to pull back. The home side offered little threat after taking the lead, but Dundee did not do enough to unsettle their defence and failed to turn possession into good chances.
Mugabi, Ojala, Lamie, Carroll
Grimshaw, Slattery, O’Hara
Amaluzor (Van Veen 67), Watt (McGinley 80), Woolery (Goss 67)
Unused subs: Fox (gk), Maguire, Donnelly, Shields.
Goal: Watt (33).
Booked: Van Veen (dissent), Kelly (timewasting).
Sent off: Carroll (foul on Anderson).
Dundee FC 4-3-3
Kerr, Ashcroft, Fontaine, McGhee
Anderson, Byrne (Sheridan 60), Adam (c) (McGowan 28)
McMullan, Cummings, McCowan (McDaid 78)
Unused subs: Lawlor (gk), Sweeney, Robertson, Panter.
Booked: McGowan (dissent).
Attendance: 4,998 (785 Dees).
Referee: William Collum. Assistants: David Doig, Jonathan Bell. Fourth Official: Colin Steven.
Report: James Christie.