The Dark Blues completed their pre-season friendly campaign with an emphatic 4-0 win over League One Peterhead. Dundee stepped up their performance from the 1-0 win over the same opponents a fortnight ago and were well worth the margin of victory. 15 year old Ewan Murray gave the Dark Blues an early lead. Max Anderson and new loan signing Jonathan Afolabi added further goals before half time. Charlie Adam completed the scoring midway through the second half.
Dundee again played with a three man central defence. The three changes from the team that played most of the match on Saturday were that Christie Elliott and Ewan Murray replaced Cammy Kerr and Declan McDaid at wing back, and Jonathan Afilobi started as a striker instead of Paul McGowan.
Trialist Osman Sow had the first chance when a free kick from 30 yards by Charlie Adam was deflected into his path. Peterhead keeper Lenny Wilson foiled him with a fine save.
A striking feature of the early play was a series of terrific crosses from the left by Ewan Murray, the schoolboy being fed on each occasion by Charlie Adam’s raking passes. After 16 minutes MURRAY then did a spot of classy striking when he sneaked onto Adam’s perfect pass behind the Peterhead defence and scored with a controlled volley across goal and in off the far post.
Jonathan Afolabi almost added a quick second when he turned and smashed a rising shot narrowly wide from 20 yards. The Dark Blues were now playing some very pleasing football. Graham Dorrans twice went close, first with a deflected shot that flew past the post, then with a chip from a corner that drifted over the bar.
On the half hour mark another Dundee youngster scored a delightful goal. Dorrans prised open the defence with a superb reverse pass, sending Max ANDERSON in to clip the ball over the diving keeper for a composed finish.
If the first two goals were calm finishes the third was a splendid example of raw power. Ten minutes from half time Sow won the ball 40 yards from goal and passed to Jonathan AFOLABI, who turned and hammered a shot from 25 yards that was still rising when it ripped into the back of the net.
Peterhead made three changes at half time and immediately showed greater urgency. They managed a couple of shots on target but Jack Hamilton was able to make routine saves.
The Dark Blues should have gone further ahead when Afolabi chased down a passback and pressurised Lenny Wilson into miscontrolling the ball. The striker pinched the ball from the keeper, and facing a tight angle, he teed up Sow, whose goalbound shot was somehow turned over the bar by a retreating defender.
Paul McGowan came off the bench as a straight replacement for Osman Sow and Dundee continued to dominate, always hunting for more goals. The fourth goal eventually arrived after an attack seemed to have broken down on the edge of the penalty area on the right. Max Anderson was first to react, switching the ball to Jordan McGhee who played a fine pass over the heads of the covering defenders for Charlie ADAM to run in, take a touch and score.
Another youngster, defender Sam Fisher, came on for Jordon Forster and put in some sturdy and effective challenges in the last 18 minutes. Jamie Ness replaced Max Anderson at the same time, and ensured Dundee’s remained in control of the midfield.
Peterhead’s goalkeeper Lennny Wilson was certainly being kept busy and made a superb save to deny McGowan, who connected perfectly with a 12 yard volley from Murray’s cross. Wilson was almost immediately back in action to save from an Afolobi header.
After 76 minutes Ewan Murray and Jonathan Afolabi were replaced by Lyle Cameron and Danny Strachan. There might not have been any spectators to give the departing players the ovation they deserved, but all the club staff and players showed their appreciation for a fine debut by the Irish striker, and a memorable performance by the 15 year old wing back.
The game opened up in the last few minutes and Peterhead had a good chance when Lyle shot weakly straight at Hamilton. Dundee went close twice before the final whistle. A lovely sweeping move involving Elliott, Cameron and Dorrans set up McGowan who curled a first time shot too high. Dorrans then sent Cameron clear, and the youngster’s shot beat the keeper only to be cleared off the line by a covering defender.
This was the Dark Blues’ best performance in their pre-season friendlies, and this time they produced the goals to finish off some beautiful passing. The Dee were organised and determined at the back, inventive and hard working in midfield. The highly effective mixture of pressing and incisive passing means that the Dundee midfield is looking in good shape for the Championship season. The team will have to carry this level of performance forward into the Betfred Cup now, starting next Tuesday at home to Forfar Athletic.
Dundee FC 3-4-1-2
McGhee, Forster (Fisher 72), Ashcroft
Elliott, Adam, Anderson (Ness 72), Murray (D Strachan 76)
Afolabi (Cameron 76), Trialist (McGowan 65)
Unused sub: Ferrie (gk).
Goals: Murray (16), Anderson (30), Afolabi (35), Adam (71).
Peterhead FC 4-5-1
Freeman, McKenzie (Armour at half time), Trialist (Trialist 85), J Brown, Conroy
Ferry (McCarthy at half time), S Brown, Fraser (Lyle 73), Cook (Boyd at half time)
Layne (Trialist 63)
Unused sub: Trialist.
Report: James Christie.