The Dark Blues went down to a bitterly disappointing 4-3 defeat at Motherwell this afternoon, losing out to David Turnbull’s winner four minutes into injury time. Dundee had taken the lead twice in the first half, through a Martin Woods penalty and Ethan Robson, but each time Well pulled out an instant equaliser, first from Turnbull and then from James Scott. Gboly Ariyibi put Motherwell ahead for the first time early in the second half only for Nathan Ralph to level the scores within two minutes. Dundee failed to take advantage after Alex Gorrin picked up a second yellow card and as they chased a winner they were caught out by a sucker punch when Turnbull scored his second.
The Dark Blues made four changes. Genseric Kusunga, Martin Woods, Jesse Curran and Andrew Nelson came in for Darren O’Dea, Paul McGowan, John O’Sullivan and Kenny Miller, who were all on the bench. Motherwell’s only change was Chris Cadden replacing Elliott Frear.
The game got off to a lively start with both teams keen to get forward but there was no early hint of the goal rush to come. When the scoring did start there was no let up until the ball had hit the net four times in less than quarter of an hour.
Craig Curran had the first attempt on goal after nine minutes when he spun on a loose ball to shoot from the edge of the penalty area. His shot was accurate but lacked the power to beat Mark Gillespie.
The Dark Blues had to wait only one more minute to take the lead. Cammy Kerr broke into the penalty area before being upended by Gboly Ariyibi’s clumsy challenge. There wasn’t a hint of controversy about that penalty award and Martin WOODS lashed the ball past Gillespie for the Dee’s first successful spot kick of the season.
Dundee’s lead lasted little more than a minute. Well’s equaliser had a massive assist from Lady Luck when David TURNBULL tried his luck from 25 yards. His effort was powerful but heading straight at Seny Dieng before it took a crucial deflection to send the ball looping cruelly over the helpless keeper.
The Dee responded well to that piece of misfortune and were back into the lead after 12 minutes. Andrew Nelson and Scott Wright set up a quick attack and Ethan ROBSON picked the ball up, burst through Dunne’s tackle and swept a lovely shot round Gillespie from 20 yards.
If Well’s first equaliser was unlucky for the Dee the second was simply negligent. A poorly defended corner came to James SCOTT, wide of goal at a tight angle, but he managed to squeeze his shot in between Dieng and the post then over the line off the far post.
The frantic pace of the game eased after that and there was little goal threat from either side for the rest of the half. Tom Aldred hoofed the ball yards over the bar from near the penalty spot after more scruffy Dee defending at a corner and at the other end Scott Wright shanked a shot wide from 18 yards.
When the game restarted Dundee were unlucky not to take an early lead when Robson made a good run onto Woods’ pass and pulled the ball back for Jesse Curran to send a volley off Gillespie’s outstretched leg and against the inside of the post.
Within a couple of minutes Motherwell were in the lead, after more poor defending. The Dee failed to clear a cross and Gboly Ariyibi had far too much time to pick his spot from 12 yards.
This time it was Dundee who snapped back immediately to punish sloppy defending. Woods’ corner was met by Nathan RALPH, who bulleted an unstoppable header into the net from 10 yards.
Motherwell then had their best spell of the match, putting the Dark Blues under pressure and forcing Dieng to make good saves from Turnbull and Ariyibi.
The game seemed to have turned on its head when Alex Gorrin launched a wild, but not dangerous, challenge on Craig Curran to pick up a second yellow card. Dundee then had more of the ball and looked the more likely winner, but they lacked the composure and ability to choose or make the right passes.
Again Dundee were desperately unlucky when Genseric Kusunga’s header from another Woods’ corner came back off the inside of the post. Nathan Ralph meanwhile was allowed nowhere near the ball at set pieces by Richard Tait, who handled him literally and effectively after his goal. Ralph had to leave the park injured 20 minutes from the final whistle and James Horsfield came on to play left back where he never looked as comfortable as he does on the right.
Although the Dee did more of the attacking Well came closer to scoring when Turnbull smashed a 20 yard free kick past the wall and Dieng had to save smartly. Dundee had their only stroke of luck of the day when the referee, Kevin Clancy, awarded Motherwell a penalty after a cross struck Kusunga on the arm, but after consulting the assistant on the far side he ruled that the ball had already gone out of play.
Kenny Miller replaced Andrew Nelson but the Dark Blues’ attacks were misfiring as they repeatedly failed to turn promising opportunities into chances. In injury time a quick attack gave Miller time and space to set up Craig Curran for an easy chance, but he pulled his pass behind Curran.
In a thrilling match both teams were trying to win with Dundee pushing hard for the three points they needed so badly. Well punished them four minutes into injury time when Chris Cadden’s cross found David TURNBULL unmarked 12 yards from goal. He smashed his shot against the bar and was first to the rebound to shoot home.
There was no time for Dundee to respond, and with results elsewhere going against the Dark Blues there are only faint hopes of avoiding the drop. For long spells today it was far more enjoyable watching the Dee than in recent games. They always looked like they could score and were unlucky to take only the three goals. However, they repeatedly messed up in good positions when good moves fell apart with poor passes or players failing to choose the right runs. Today was definitely a case of three points being thrown away at a time they were sorely needed.
Grimshaw, Aldred, Dunne, Tait
Campbell, Gorrin, Turnbull
Ariyibi, Scott, Cadden
Unused subs: Ferguson (gk), McHugh, Hartley, Main, Frear, Johnson, Semple.
Goals: Turnbull (12, 90+4), Scott (24), Ariyibi (49), Tu.
Booked: Gorrin (fouls on Woods and Craig Curran), McHugh (foul on Kusunga), Turnbull (foul on Kerr).
Dundee FC 4-4-2
Kerr, Ryan McGowan, Kusunga, Ralph (Horsfield 75)
Jesse Curran, Robson, Woods(c) (Moore 81), Wright
Craig Curran, Nelson (Miller 75)
Unused subs: Parish (gk), O’Dea, O’Sullivan, Paul McGowan.
Goals: Woods (10 pen), Robson (21), Ralph (51).
Booked: Ralph (foul on Cadden), Kusunga (foul on Turnbull), Horsfield (kickin the ball away).
Attendance: 3,662 (302 Dees).
Referee: Kevin Clancy. Assistants: Jordan Stokoe, Gordon Crawford. Fourth Official: Euan Anderson.
Report: James Christie.