The Dark Blues beat Peterhead 1-0 in their first pre-season friendly of the delayed 2020-21 campaign, played behind closed doors at the Kilmac Stadium at Dens Park. Paul McGowan scored the only goal with a neat finish late in the first half.
Two of the new signings started the match. Alex Jakubiak was the sole striker and Lee Ashcroft played at centre back. The bench was filled with youngsters, who were all given game time in the second half.
The game’s opening was as low key as the atmosphere around the deserted Dens Park. Jordan McGhee had the first effort on goal with a header from Paul McGowan’s cross, but Peterhead’s keeper Lenny Wilson saved comfortably.
It took 20 minutes for the match to rise above the pedestrian. Both teams then wasted fine chances in quick succession. Peterhead’s Ben Armour ran clear onto a long pass, but scuffed his shot, allowing Jack Hamilton to make an easy save. Within a minute the Dark Blues should have been ahead. Graham Dorrans twisted to and fro on the left of the penalty area before chipping a perfect cross to the back post. Paul McGowan seemed certain to score, but he sent his header against Wilson’s body from a couple of yards out.
The game settled back into a prolonged spell of scrappiness, with both teams looking rusty. Ten minutes from the interval Declan McDaid sent a 20 yard shot zipping past the post at the end of a lengthy passing move.
Finally The Dee put a snappy move together to take the lead after 40 minutes. Dundee broke quickly with Christie Elliott racing down the right. He passed inside to Alex Jakubiak, who sent MCGOWAN free to take the ball round Wilson and score.
The second half saw Dundee dominating territory and possession for the first 20 minutes, while Peterhead managed to create greater danger with less of the ball. Calum Ferrie had replaced Jack Hamilton at half time and he was quickly in action. He did well to get down and parry a fierce 20 yard shot by Isaac Layne. A Peterhead trialist went close with another shot from just outside the area, a deflecttion sending the ball just outside the post.
After the hour mark the game was interrupted by a succession of substitutions. The Dark Blues gave all the youngsters a go and finished the match with a midfield and attack consisting only of teenagers. Ewan Murray, Cammy Blacklock and Kyle Fleming came on for their first appearances in the first team, with Josh Mulligan, Max Anderson and Lyall Cameron all appearing too.
Ferrie had to be alert once more to keep out a fierce angled drive from a Peterhead trialist. However, the eagerness of Dundee’s young substitutes brought fresh impetus to the game and the later stages belonged to the young Dark Blues. The youngsters put together some pleasing moves that they couldn’t quite finish off and there was no further scoring.
This was Dundee’s first match in six months and it often showed. The players looked fit but there was often a lack of cohesion and there was no shortage of misplaced passes and moves that ended up going nowhere. That is hardly surprising and it is why these pre-season friendlies are needed. The great thing, however, is that football was back at Dens, and that is what tonight will be remembered for.
Dundee FC 4-2-3-1
Hamilton (Ferrie at half time)
Kerr, McGhee, Ashcroft, Trialist (Murray 79)
Dorrans (Fleming 79), Robertson
Elliott (Anderson 73), McGowan (Blacklock 79), McDaid (Mulligan 60)
Jakubiak (Cameron 64)
Unused subs: none.
Goal: McGowan (40).
Peterhead FC 4-5-1
Wilson (Trialist at half time)
Trialist, S Brown, J Brown, Conroy
Armour (Trialist 57), Ferry (Trialist 67), McCarthy (Trialist 73), Fraser, Cook (Trialist at half time)
Unused sub: Boyd.
Referee: David Dickinson.
Report: James Christie.